Northeast is the most stunning yet overlooked part of India filled with breathtaking landscapes, mouthwatering delicacies, and hospitable locals in tranquil hamlets. One of the many gems of Northeast India is Manipur. A region that can literally be described as a state of art.
It truly deserves all the recognition and admiration because it has so much to offer. A trip here will open your eyes to the wonderful Northeastern culture. By the end of this Manipur travel guide, we're hopeful that you'll be booking your tickets straight away to explore The Jewel of India.
As we mentioned earlier, India's history isn't just limited to Rajasthan and the other well-known parts of the country. Although fewer people traverse here, the Northeast has a glorious history. The state of Manipur in particular has a rich cultural history that dates back centuries. If you are into art and classical dance, you will be pleased to know that it is the birthplace of Raas Lila, which is a renowned form of classical dance form in India. The dance form is credited to be created by Maharaja Bhagyachandra.
The state of Manipur is also the birthplace of the very famous and loved game of Modern Polo which is also known as the game of 'Sagol Kangjei' among the locals. Something that will certainly leave you awestruck is the colorful and vibrant traditional dresses, regionally known as Innaphi and Phanek. These are the Manipuri traditional dresses that you will notice are mostly adorned by the beautiful women in Manipur. Phanek is worn like a sarong and is handwoven in horizontal line designs. Do not hesitate to try them yourself and get some stunningly aesthetic pictures clicked with the locals, with their consent, of course.
Speaking of local dialects, the Northeastern part is a beautiful amalgamation of many languages and in the state of Manipur, the Manipuri language, Manipuri Meiteilon, also called Meitei (Meetei) is predominately spoken. You might want to try to greet the locals with a smile and Khu-rum-ja-ri (Hello) and they will be more than willing to help you have the best experience ever.
Also Read: Homestays In Sikkim
Everyone wants a memorable vacation and as cliche, as it sounds, sometimes the journey is as much or even more important than the destination itself. For an amazing vacation, it is important to wisely select the transportation option because you do not want to exert yourself before you even begin your trip, right? You are in luck here because to reach the stunning state of Manipur there is a good variety of transportation options to select from and the road connectivity to Manipur is also solid, which we will discuss below in detail:
It is not that difficult to reach the Jewel Of India by air because you can directly fly to the Imphal airport which is situated in the capital city of the state of Manipur. The airport is also known by the name Tulihal. It is one of the prime airports in the state which is well connected to the major domestic and international cities.
A tip - While you can take a direct taxi from the airport but if you can just walk 100 meters from the arrivals towards the main road, you can easily get on a share auto heading towards the city and you will be able to reach Imphal town center for Rs 10 rupees per person.
While there is no direct train service to Manipur, many still prefer the railway as it is one of the most pleasant ways of commuting to a travel destination. If you are keen on taking a train ride, the railway station you can book your tickets to is Dimapur which is based in Nagaland. This station is located at a 201 km distance and is roughly a 7-hour drive to Imphal (capital of Manipur). The long car ride can be strenuous and if not feasible it is best to opt for a direct flight.
If you’re taking the roadway to Manipur, you can avail of buses from the city of Guwahati in Assam to Imphal in Manipur. Other points from where you can take direct state transport buses to Manipur is from Kohima and Dimapur in Nagaland. Bus journeys to Manipur will be ideal if you're a hardcore traveler and okay with being on the road for long hours.
The best time to visit Manipur is between November to February. The weather is comfortably cool at the time and it most certainly is pleasant to travel. Winters are the coziest and will be perfect for you to experience the Jewel of India in all its glory. You can also consider planning your trip in October when the monsoon season ends. Avoid traveling during the rains because when there’s a huge downpour, getting out and exploring the region will be difficult.
Booking a vehicle or bringing your own is the best way to explore the city of Manipur since tourist attractions are spread out. You can book a cab along with a drive for the number of days you’re visiting the city at Imphal airport itself. This will help you tick off all the destinations you wish to see on your itinerary in a practical manner. If you’re open to it, you can also use the various modes of public transportation available in the city. Let’s go over those in detail.
On a tight budget? Then your best option is to opt for the regular functioning bus service available for you to travel within the state. The fares for local buses are pretty cheap and safe. You will be truly experiencing the region like a local.
The auto-rickshaws are one preferred and convenient mode of transportation in many cities in the state of Manipur. Though the auto-rickshaws are not metered, the rates are pretty affordable and if you have the right skills, there is always room to haggle.
Taxi services are also available in Manipur. One can hire a taxi to travel to their specific destination. The most common ones have shared autos and Tata Magic-like vehicles that regularly help tourists reach various destinations closer to Imphal. Tata Winger/Maruti Omni like minivans cater to slightly long-distance places like Moreh, Kohima, etc but you will need to prebook them. Keep in mind that private taxis are hard to find on the street, but you can always rely on your hotel staff to help you figure out a way to get around the state.
Also Read: Things To Do In Meghalaya
People of the Northeast don't understand English.
People from Northeast are educated and English is one of the compulsory subjects in the schools. People of Manipur are well versed in both English and their local Manipuri language. Many people are well fluent in various other languages too. So when you decide to travel to Manipur don’t worry about being lost in translation because you can speak to locals in English.
The state of Manipur has lots of things for you to explore but the small village of Andro is a must-visit The quaint village of Andro is located in close proximity to the state capital of Imphal so it will not be too difficult to reach. Once you reach Andro, be prepared to be awestruck by the pottery craftsmanship of this place. Andro is not just too stunning for the eye but will also be like a treat to your brain if you happen to seek pleasure from a rich history. Do not forget to check out the museum which displays a variety of traditional pots like Walom, Pudond Makhong, Yukhum, and Ngangkha.
You can always count on Andro’s stunning pottery to make the best gifts for your family so desperately waiting to get some souvenirs from your travels. There are also plenty of pleasant tourist attractions in this small town which include Andro Shantheil Natural Park, Andro Gramshang, Selloi Langmai Ecological Park, Gwarok Mahadeva Yairipok, and Kaina Temple.
Everyone loves a waterfall and well, they are stunning and deserve it, like you, the one reading this. Anyways, for stunning people like us, the state of Manipur has plenty of picturesque waterfalls and Leimaram Waterfall is one such place. Also known as Sadu Chira waterfall, the Leimaram waterfall got its name because of its closeness to Leimaram in the Bishnupur District of Manipur.
Located in the middle of enchanting forests, you will need to hike a little to reach the waterfall but trust us the view will be so worth it. Over here, you will witness not just one but three waterfalls in their gorgeous glory. You can also experience attractions like Loukoi Paat Lake, Langthabal, and Iskcon Temple near Leimaram waterfalls.
Thoubal is a small town whose name originates from the word 'Athouba' which means brave people hence symbolizing the courageous people of the district. Thoubal is a historically significant town in the state of Manipur which is also pretty popular among trekkers because of its natural beauty.
Surrounded by stunning lakes and rivers, the roads in Thoubal are as pretty as the destinations where you can witness the tall trees on the sides. People’s Museum, Imphal River, Waithou Lake, Khongjom War Memorial, Ikop Lake, and Thoubal Bazar are some of the most popular tourist destinations in town. The locals of the state love planting and you will witness many fruit-bearing plants in the verandah of various houses. Thoubal is a perfect amalgamation of nature, culture, history, and the sweetest locals.
Also read: 7 Unique Things To Do In Northeast India
How Many Days Are Enough For Manipur?
Let’s be real you can never have enough of a city in a few days and the state of Manipur is huge. That’s why you require at least 3 to 4 days to have a mere scoop of the Manipuri vibe. Extend your trip for a week if you want to explore the best of Manipur.
Is Manipur Good For Tourists?
The state of Manipur has something for everyone. Whether you are a bougie traveler who prefers luxury and comfort or you are a trekker who yearns to explore nature trails, Manipur will not disappoint you. Also, Manipur is very safe too so you can be wild and free without worrying.
What Is The Main Food Of Manipur?
The regular diet of Manipur folks includes rice, fish, and great varieties of green aquatic and terrestrial vegetables (sounds healthy and delicious, right?). Cheery on the cake is the fact that the locals mostly raise vegetables in their kitchen garden and rear fish in small ponds around their house which certainly explains the secret of their glowy and healthy skin.
What Is The Famous Festival Of Manipur?
The festival of Yaoshang that happens over a period of 5 days between February and April is among the most famous festival in Manipur. Locals play with colors and there’s a number of events organized on all 5 days among communities.
Is Manipur Safe To Travel?
Manipur is relatively safe to travel as the locals are genuinely helpful. However, you must follow few general safety tips like not stepping out when it’s too dark or entering a lonely street like you would while traveling anywhere in the world.
What Dishes Are Famous In Manipur?
Some famous dishes in Manipur are kangsoi, ooti, nga Atoiba thongba, and eromba.
What Is The Language Spoken In Manipur?
The main language spoken in Manipur is Manipuri.
What Is The Capital Of Manipur?
Imphal is the capital of Manipur.