Gateway of South East Asia – IMPHAL

It was an official visit to Imphal. There are only few flights from Delhi so I had no option left but to get my ticket booked for the day prior to my meeting.

I left on June 13, 2013 at 7.45 AM for Imphal from Delhi airport. My Flight took a halt for half an hour at Guwhati and reached Imphal by 11.30 AM. The airport was compact but beautiful and well maintained. It is the second biggest Airport in North east region.

Imphal Airport

Imphal Airport

By the time we came out of the Airport it was 11.45 , hotel’s car was waiting for us.I found the Hotel Classic best place to stay in Imphal which is close to Hotel Imphal which is run by Manipur Tourism.

Knowing about the sensitivity of the place it was expected that very few tourists were there. On the way we found a huge army deployed and patrolling jeeps with heavy loaded guns. We reached hotel around 12.15pm and checked in our rooms. After having our lunch we hired a car to explore Imphal But before leaving we enquired how safe the city was for an outsider to hangout. Seeing the green dress people more than tourists, the response was quite expected.Localites advised us to be back by 8.00 PM because of the tension in the area .One needs to shop before 9 pm as all the shops are closed by 9.00 PM.

Formalities for the foreigner

• All foreigner visiting Manipur will register themselves with the Superintendent of Police.
• Citizen of Myanmar visiting the state of Manipur beyond 16 Kms from the Indo – Myanmar border would require prior approval.

History / Introduction – Manipur

An Oval shaped valley surrounded with hills, Manipur is also known as “Switzerland of North East”. Manipur shares International border with Myanmar & Gateway of South East Asia.

Imphal was declared as Capital of Manipur in 1826. Manipur has a varied and proud history from the earliest times. It came under the British rule after the First Anglo Manipuri war of 1891. In this war, many great heroes of Manipur laid down their lives.

The Battle of Imphal took place in the region around 1944. Japanese armies attempted to destroy the Allied forces at Imphal and invade India, but were driven back into Burma with heavy losses.The defeat at Kohima and Imphal was the largest defeat to that date in Japanese history.

The Manipuri SagolKangjei (POLO) has been adopted by the Internationally community and now played worldwide as POLO.

Manipur is having rich culture in the field of art & dance. It is famous for Handicrafts & Handlooms. It is said that every Manipuri woman is born weaver. Manipur is also famous for its dolls, bamboo products & pottery.

Our Journey

We started our exploration from “ Kangla fort”. It is situated in the heart of city & at the bank of river Imphal.

Kangla fort

Kangla fort

Couple of meters ahead from entry gate of the fort , there is a museum on left hand side which was closed by the time we reached there. Museum remains closed on Wednesday & its visiting hours are 10 AM to 4 PM.

Museum

Museum

Museum gate with Timings and days

Museum gate with Timings and days


Museum

Museum

The old Fort is damaged but a lot of new construction has come up in the Fort. ‘Kangla’ was the ancient capital of Manipur from the ancient times down to the year 1891 AD.

Inside the fort there is an old Govindji temple, temple was closed & it seems that now no body offers prayer there.

Old Govindji temple

Old Govindji temple

Old Govindji temple

Old Govindji temple

Old Govindji temple

Old Govindji temple

Old Govindji temple

Old Govindji temple

There is a newly constructed temple inside the fort.

Newly constructed temple

Newly constructed temple

After that we went to visit new Govindji temple which is not very far from the fort.The famous temple of Shree Govindaji is one of the prime attractions of Imphal. This Hindu temple has the deities of Hindu gods, Radha and Krishna Govinda.

Govindji temple

Govindji temple

Originally built in the year 1846, the temple was constructed in the rule of the Maharaja Nara Singh. Facing many severe damages in the past due to earthquakes, the temple is still a popular tourist attraction. The Shree Govindaji Temple was restored by another ruler of Manipur and several years later, it got its original form.

We obsreved a different way of offering prayer , devotees stand in parallel lines and same was requested us also.

Devotee stands in parallel line    for Puja

Devotee stands in parallel line for Puja

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Afterperforming puja we left temple and visited Shahid Minar , it is situated at BirTikendrajit Park , eastern side of the Imphal Polo ground. A tall Minar was built in the memory of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives while fighting against the British in 1891.

Our next destination was Imma Market. A unique all women’s market, with more than 3000 “Immas” (mothers) who run the stalls. It is the world’s only all-women marketplace and one of Imphal’s main tourist attractions. It is situated in the heart of Imphal city which has become the symbol of Manipuri women’s empowerment in the society

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The market is split into two sections on either sides of the road. House hold groceries ,vegetables , fish & fruits are sold at one section and Handlooms at the another section.

Imma Market - vegitable & Grocceries market

Imma Market – vegitable & Grocceries market

Imma Market- Handloom Market

Imma Market- Handloom Market

We did some purchasing and left for Iskcon temple . It is situated at the airport road. By the time we reached there, it was already dark and no one was there except the priest of the temple.The temple was beautifully structured but we were not able to click it as it got dark because in east the sun sets early. We spent some time in the temple and left for our hotel.

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Next day morning after our breakfast we left the hotel for our meeting.The meeting was over by 12.00 noon. We still had some time left with us so we decided to visit War Cemetery before taking our flight.

The cemetery is situated on the Imphal-Dimapur road. A small road leading to the cemetery is 1km along this highway on the right side, opposite the D M College.

War Cemetery

War Cemetery

The War Cemeteries managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is an attempt to commemorate the reminiscences of those British and Indian soldiers who succumbed during the combat during the Second World War. The area has been tastefully embellished and presents a Serene and atoning atmosphere. The graves have been marked with small stone markers and bronze plaques chronicling the sacrifice of dauntless warriors.
You have to find the attendant first to get inside the cemetery.

It is a serene place, with well-maintained flower around the graves of many martyrs fallen in defence of the country.

War Cemetery

War Cemetery

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After spending half an hour there we left for Airport.

I wished to visit Loktak lake which was 48 kms far from Imphal but I could not make it. Next time I would definitely visit it.

Till then wish you all a happy Ghumakkari…….

18 Comments

  • asishk_das says:

    @Mahesh

    It is a pity that you could not make it to the Loktak Lake. It is just 35 KM (appox) from Imphal. The unique feature and attraction of Loktak Lake is the floating phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition). People lives there in their huts and use boats to come to the main land. By the way, did any one tell you of a place called “Moirang” close to Loktak Lake? This is the place where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fouz) fought their (seemingly) last battle on Indian soil and probably this is the place where INA hoisted first Indian Flag on Indian soil. There is a Museum in the memory of this historic battle and a statue of Netaji. In my opinion, it is a must see place for all Indians visiting that area.

    • Thanks for going through the post and the informations. Yes I heard about “Moirang”. As I was in official tour hence could not visit these places.

      The places around Imphal can be possible only on my personal tour.

  • SilentSoul says:

    After a long time Maheshji.. that too with an untouched place. Good t-log. seems NE is getting focussed… earlier Ramdhall and now you.

  • Avtar Singh says:

    Hi Mahesh ji

    I did not see NE so I am unable to say any thing. But your post definitely inspires to visit such places, which are still unexplored.
    I do hope, in near future such places too get recognition from the tourists of all other states and the people here will certainly get their dues.

  • Thanks for your kind words !

  • ashok sharma says:

    A very good post detailing the beautiful North-East.This wonderful area is mostly absent from the tourists plans.Very good pics.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    It is a FOG (First on Ghumakkar).

    Thank you Mahesh for sharing about Imphal. Place in NE are still not easy (distance + connectivity) to explore so double thanks for bringing Imphal closer. One of my close friends is from Manipur and I always wanted to know more about the place.

    The all women’s market (Imma Market) is inviting. I guess because of low-light the pics have not come out well but it does give the readers an idea of how it looks.

    Good to read stories from seasoned hands (first Ram and then you).

  • Thanks Nandan !

    You are right , expoloring NE is not very easy. As road journey is long as well as not very safe. No direct flights for NE areas , either from Kolkata or Guwhati.

    Evening pics are not clear as it was are taken from mobile.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Mahesh ji,
    A very detailed, interesting and engaging post……………….Enjoyed it thoroughly.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Mahesh Ji.
    Thanks for sharing with us a informative post on Imphal..

  • anjan says:

    Hi Folks,

    Thanks for bring Manipur- Imphal to Ghumakkar…. you really missed Loktak where you can find floating grass island… Kangla Fort is opened last year for public, it was occupied by Assam Riffles for a long time as their base camp and that was the reason Old Govinda temple is isolated. A small state of India which is very good in their sports event, due to terrorism they are isolated from rest of India…. another town of manipur is Churchand pur and Moreh boreder.. Moreh is gateway to south Asia, you can go to Myanmar and Thailand … Indian truck run through this gate…. Imphal and surrounding are only plain area in the state, other parts are mostly cover by hills… if anyone like to explore and travel NE, get back to me, i will guide you…..

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Mahesh,

    Thanks for bringing a place to life which we have just heard about and are pretty sure will never make it to!

    I always think about what if Japanese had not been defeated here, there was a chance India could have been under Japanese rule! And we all know the horror stores they inflicted in China and SE Asia. But then the mushroom cloud changed everything.

    We all wish the region becomes peaceful. It is surprising to see the devotees in traditional dhotis.

    The cemetry indeed looks serene and peaceful.

    All the photos are never seen before.

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