Kangla Fort To Second WWII Cemetery: 5 Best Places To Visit In Imphal
Imphal: The Heartbeat of Manipur, is Cherished For Its Blend of Historical Depth
Tucked away in India's scenic northeast lies vibrant Imphal, capital of Manipur state.
With ancient temples, floating lake islands and emotive war memorials - Imphal offers visitors a soul-stirring journey into diverse ethnic hill cultures while charming with legendary graceful classical dances and exotic handicrafts bathed in natural splendour.
Let's explore Imphal's top 5 attractions to discover its heart!
1. Kangla Fort: Chronicle of the Rajas and Their Arts
On the banks of the Imphal River stands the historic Kangla Fort.
Once an imperial power seat of Manipur's rajas and thereafter a British bastion, today it serves as an archaeological site and museum complex housing sprawling relics like mediaeval royal enclosures, temple shrines, weaponry sheds and Kangla Sha lake within formidable earthen ramparts.
Understanding Manipuri history emerges wandering through remnants of Kangla's rich constructing the citadel's role celebrating royal conquests and cultural traditions before British occupation until independence in 1947.
Don't miss sound and light shows bringing alive multi-hued chronicles!
Top tip: Time morning visits with cultural troops practising pung cholom drum dances and martial arts within the fort premise.
2. Loktak Lake: Sublime Setting for Rural Life
The largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, Loktak is characterised by phumdis - heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter resembling miniature islands floating over watery surface.
Witness rural life thrives on these floating islands grazed by fisherman and farmers growing produce while gliding through the lake, spying local ducks amidst scenic greenery.
As the only floating national park worldwide protecting swamp deer and migratory birds, Loktak Lake makes for an unmissable natural attraction!
Don't forget tasting unique ethnic vegetables like morok metpa grown here.
Top tip: Best views from Sendra Tourist Home overlooking circular children's park mid-lake.
3. Shri Govindajee Temple: Architectural Poetry Carved in Brick and Wood
Dedicated to Lord Krishna and Balaram, 18th century Shri Govindajee temple enshrines beautiful lifelike Radha-Krishna idols under intricately carver brick spires, though its traditional Manipuri style austerity charms visitors more minus any excess ornamentation.
Admire temple architecture made entirely of wood and bricks for resilience - a construction masterpiece boasting stunning artistic angles.
Join chanting devotees partaking prasad sweet balls or immerse in Janmashtami festivities celebrating Lord Krishna's birthday as temple premise resonates with cultural and spiritual action!
Don't miss amazing Raas Leela performances.
4. Ima Keithel: All-Mothers Market Beating since 16th Century!
A sprawling bazaar run exclusively by women continuously since 16th century lies at the core of Imphal city - the iconic Ima Keithel or Mother's Market split into numerous sections trading anything, from local delicacies to handicrafts daily by over 5000 Imas or mothers in vibrant spirit characteristic of the region!
Stroll past magazine lanes and vegetable sheds interacting with smiling Images in traditional attire weighing produce grandmother style on manual scales before buying authentic handicraft items for memory souvenirs of rare living heritage still thriving successfully where only women reign in solidarity and business acumen!
Top tip: Best variety found at the Paona Bazar section managed somberly by elder Imas in uniform phaneks.
5.Second World War Cemetery: Homage to Heroes on Imphal Battlefields
North of Kangla behind Christian Church lies a humbling cemetery where over 2000 soldiers who perished bravely fighting Imperial Japanese forces during 1944 Battle of Imphal defending India now rest in collective sepulchre - immortalised through epitaph stone markers tucked amid quiet tropical foliage.
Walk respectfully past regiment grave plots filled with history, glimpse the Kohima memorial and participate in annual Homage ceremonies paying gratitude to their sacrifices as soul-stirring bagpipes play, orchestrating an everlasting tribute for the war heroes in posthumous solidarity.
Immerse Yourself in Imphal's Enchanting Allure Against scenic hills and whispered legends, open hearts and minds to the vibrant patchwork of Bishnupriya, Meetei, Mizo and other communities who fill Imphal's historic lanes with indigenous crafts, savoury delicacies and soulful Manipuri dance embracing visitors warmly to share their hypnotic roots in rhythmic tranquillity perfected over centuries of coexistence with nature and the divine!