The erstwhile princely state of Manipur is located south of Nagaland and shares its borders with Assam, Mizoram and Burma. It has been at the crossroads of Asian economic and cultural exchange for more than 2,500 years and has long connected the Indian subcontinent to South East Asia enabling migration of people, cultures and religions. The main people of Manipur are the Meetei ethnic group and other indigenous tribes. During the British rule, Manipur was a princely state and later through negotiations it was annexed to India.
Manipur is a state of unrestrained natural beauty and abundant flora and fauna. Almost 70 percent of its land is under forest cover with a stunning combination of wet forests, temperate forests and pine forests that sustain a host of endemic flora and fauna. Some 500 different types of orchids are found here, of which 472 have been identified. Indigenous to Manipur’s rich natural heritage is the Sangai – the dancing deer, which is also the state animal and is facing extinction found in the unique vegetal floating biomass on the lake Loktak.
Manipur is also credited with gifting the West the sport of Polo.
The state capital is the very heart of cultural and commercial activity of the state. One of the main attractions in the city is Shree Shree Govindajee Temple, the historic Vaishnavite centre of the city. The temple consists of two domes and has a paved courtyard leading to a huge assembly hall where devotees congregate to participate in various devotional activities. The Rasleela held here is exceptional and the Holi and Rath Yatra festivals draw huge gatherings of devotees. The Kangla Palace, home to Manipur’s royals since the reign of king Pakhangba (33AD) reflects the centre of Manipur’s power base and is a reminder of its rulers and the importance they signified to the people of Manipur. The Khwairamband Bazaar, or IMA market is quite unusual as it is manned by some 3000 Imas or mothers and is the largest bazaar run by women. The market preserves the sanctuaries old traditions.
Battle of Imphal
The decisive battles of Imphal and Kohima during World War II is voted the greatest battles fought in the history of the British Army. The British, Indians, Gurkhas and the Japanese fought here in Imphal during World War II and the Japanese were driven away. The British side had the Army and the Royal Air Force and had soldiers from the Devonshire Regiment, the Suffolk Regiment, the West Yorkshire Regiment, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the Border Regiment, the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Seaforth Highlanders. There were 221 Groups of the Royal Air Force squadrons pilots who oversaw the Air Battle of Imphal. The War Cemeteries which commemorate the British and Indian soldiers who died during the war are beautifully kept and managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Just 45 km from Imphal is the Loktak lake, the most enchanting and biggest freshwater lake in the entire of North East India, it has floating weed, shallow bowl like biomass and the fishermen who live here harvest water chestnuts. On the southern part of the lake is the world’s only floating National Park, the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the unique habitat of the Sangai deer or the dancing deer.
India’s gateway to southeast Asia, it is a border town along the Indo-Myanmar border which has strong Indo- Burmese cross cultural influences from ancient times. The Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Moreh connects India to Kalewa in Myanmar’s Sagaing Division. The highway on the Myanmar side is intended to run up to Mandalay but it is in bad shape. Indian planners hope the rail link to Moreh will eventually be connected to the Myanmar railway system, allowing onward connectivity to Thailand and China.
The Battles of Imphal and Kohima has been noted by British Military Historian Robert Lyman as one of the four great turning-point battles of the Second World War. It was in these battles that the British Corps comprising both British and Indian soldiers stopped Japanese army from entering India and march through Asia.
In this trip, visit India’s North East during the Hornbill Festival, where each of the 16 Naga tribes (belonging to the state of Nagaland) showcases its colourful costumes with beads, jewellery, ivory armlets, headgears (made of bamboo, orchids and decorated with boar’s teeth and hornbill’s feathers) and weapons (spears and daos).
Price: £ 2350
In this trip, you will start your journey in Guwahati, the gateway to North East India, from where you will meander your way through picturesque mountains, Passes, villages teeming with simple faces, and reach Tawang nestled at an altitude of 10,000 feet.
Price: £ 1600
In this tour you will visit the North East Indian states of Assam. Meghalaya and Nagaland. The tour begins in Guwahati, the gateway to North East India and also the most important commercial centre of the region.
Price: £ 2450