Saturday, August 2, 2008



'Manipur' is considered a sensitive border state. Foreigners entering 'Manipur' (including foreign citizens born in Manipur) must possess a Restricted Area Permit which can be obtained from the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office in the "metros" (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata) or certain other state government offices. Permits are valid for only 10 days, and visitors must travel only on tours arranged by authorised travel agents, in groups of four. Furthermore, they may come to Imphal only by air and will not be permitted to travel outside the capital.


Singda-The place where the Highest Mud Dam in India is located

Singda-The place where the Highest Mud Dam in India is located

Barak River in its upper course in Manipur

Barak River in its upper course in Manipur

Manipur is one of the state of the eight sister states of Northeast India.The state is bounded by Nagaland in the North, Mizoram in the South, Assam in the west, and by the borders of the country Myanmar in the east as well as in the south. The state capital of Manipur is Imphal. The state lies at latitude of 23°83’N - 25°68’N and longitude of 93°03’E - 94°78’E. The total area covered by the state is 22,327 sq. km. The capital lies in an oval shaped valley of approximately 700 sq.miles surrounded by blue mountains and is at an elevation of 790 metres above the sea level. The slope of the valley is from north to south. The presence of the mountain ranges not only prevents the cold winds from the north to reach the valley but also acts as a barrier to the cyclonic storms originating from the Bay of Bengal. Within the State of Manipur, there are two major river basins, viz. the Barak River Basin (Barak Valley) and the Manipur River Basin. The total water resources of the two basins have been estimated to be 1.8487 million hectare metre in the form of annual yield.The Barak river, the largest river of Manipur, originates from the northern hills and is joined by a number of tributaries such as Irang, Maku, Tuivai, etc. and thereafter enters Cachar District of Assam. The Manipur river basin has eight major rivers such as Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Sekmai, Chakpi, Thoubal and Khuga. All these rivers originate from the surrounding hills. Almost all the rivers in the valley area are in the mature stage and, therefore, deposit the load in the Loktak lake.The rivers draining the Manipur Hill Area are comparatively young due to the hilly terrain through which they flow. These rivers are corrosive in nature and assume turbulent form in rainy season. Important rivers draining the western area include Maku, Barak River, Jiri, Irang and Leimatak. Rivers draining the eastern part of the State include Chamu, Khunou and other short streams.

Physiographically, Manipur may be characterised in two distinct physical regions - an outlying area of rugged hills and narrow valleys and the inner area represents the features of flat plain topography with all associated land forms. These two areas are not only distinct in respect of physical features but are also conspicuous with regard to various floras and faunas.The valley region would have been a monotonous, featureless plain but for a number of hills and mounds rising above the flat surface. The Loktak lake is an important geographic feature of the central plain area. The total area occupied by all the lakes is about 600 Sq.Km. The altitude ranges from 40m at Jiribam to as high as 2,994m at Mt.Iso Peak near Mao above MSL.

The soil cover can be divided into two broad types, viz. the red ferruginous soil in the hill area and the alluvium in the valley. The soil generally contains small rock fragments, sand and sandy clay and are of varieties. The top soil on the steep slopes are very thin. In the plain areas, especially flood plains and deltas, the soil is of considerable thickness. Soil on the steep hill slopes is subjected to high erosion resulting into formation of sheets and gullies and barren rock slopes. The normal pH value ranges from 5.4 to 6.8.


The climate of Manipur is largely influenced by the topography of this hilly region which defines the geography of Manipur. Situated at an elevation of 790 meters above the sea level, the state of Manipur is wedged between hills from all sides. This north eastern corner of India is blessed with a generally amiable climate though the winters can be a little chilly.The maximum temperature recorded in the summer months of Manipur is 32 degree Celsius. In winter the mercury often falls to sub zero temperature making it frosty in the wintertime.Snowfall sometimes occurs in some hilly regions due to the Western Disturbance. The coldest month in Manipur is January and July experiences the maximum summer temperature. The ideal time for tourism in the state, in terms of the climate of Manipur, is from the months of October till February, when the weather remains bright and sunny without the scorch of the sun.The hilly state is drenched in rains from the months of May and continues till the middle of October. It receives an average rainfall of 1467.5 mm, annually. However, the rain distribution varies from 933 mm in Imphal to 2593 mm in Tamenglong. The downpour ranges from light drizzles to heavy showers.The normal rainfall of Manipur enriches the soil and helps in agricultural processes and irrigation. The South Westerly Monsoon picks up moisture from the Bay of Bengal and heads towards Manipur, hits the Eastern Himalaya ranges and produces a massive amount of rain in the state.


Tulihal Airport, the airport of Imphal, connects the state capital with Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati. National Highway NH-39 links Manipur with the rest of the country through the railway stations at Dimapur in Nagaland at a distance of 215 km. from Imphal. Highway NH-53 connects Manipur with another railway station at Silchar in Assam, which is 269 km. away from Imphal. Road network of Manipur, having a length of 7170 km, connects all the important towns and far off villages.

Festivals of Manipur

The various festivals of Manipur are Ningol Chakouba, Yaoshang, Ramjan ID, Kut, Gan-ngai, Chumpha, Christmas, Cheiraoba, Kang and Heikru Hidongba. Most of these festivals are usually celebrated on the basis of lunar calendar. Almost every festival celebrated in other states is observed here and it makes Manipur a mini metropolis.

[edit] Ningol Chakouba (November)

A social festival of the Meiteis where the women (Ningol) are invited (Chakouba) to a feast at their parental house along with their children. It is the festival that binds and revives the family relations between the girls married away and the parents. Nowadays other communities had also started celebrating the festivals. It is held every year during the month of November.

[edit] Yaoshang (February/March)

A riot of colours and water and the various chanting of the devotees of Lord Krishna is what you will come across during this festival. Another feature of this premiere festival is the Thabal Chongba (Dancing in the Moonlight). The boys from various places will come to the site of the festival and dance with the girls by holding on to their hands and moving in circles. It is celebrated for five days starting from the full moon of Phalguna (February/March).

[edit] Christmas (December)

Another community comprising of the Kukis, the Nagas, the Tangkhuls, the Marings, etc in Manipur are all Christians and celebrate Christmas for two days with prayers, reading of gospels, eating, singing of hymns, lectures on Christ, sports etc. It is usually observed on December 24 and 25.

[edit] Gaan-Ngai

Gaan-Ngai is the greatest festival of the Zeliangrong people. Its a 5 day long festival and is usually performed on the 13th day of the Meitei month of Wakching as per the Meitei Calendar of the lunar year.

[edit] Ramjan ID

The Manipuri Muslims observed this festival in the very spirits of joy and festivities as in other Muslim world. During this month the Muslims practice self denial by taking a fast, abstaining from smoke and drink from pre-dawn till sunset. After the second day of shawwal, when the new moon is visible they break fast which is also popularly known as Id-Ul-Fitre. They offer prayers at the mosques, have delicious dishes, exchange greetings and call on the friends and relatives. Ramjan is the ninth month of the Hijri year.

[edit] Cheiraoba (New Year of Manipur)(April)

Cheiraoching Kaba

Cheiraoching Kaba

The people of Manipur clean and decorate their houses and make a sumptuous variety of dishes to feast upon after offering the food to the deity on this day. After the feast, as a part of the rituals, people climb the nearest hill tops (Cheiraoching Kaba) in the belief that it would excel them to greater heights in their worldly life. It is observed during the month of April.

Indigenous games of Manipur

The indigenous games of Manipur can be classified as Outdoor and Indoor.

[edit] Outdoor

  1. Mukna
  2. Mukna Kangjei (Khong Kangjei)
  3. Sagol Kangjei (Polo)
  4. Yubi Lakpi (Coconut Rugby)
  5. Oo-Laobi
  6. Hiyang-Tannaba
  7. Arambai Hunba

[edit] Mukna (Manipuri wrestling)

Mukna is a very popular form of wrestling. It has fundamental rules agreed by all Mukna organizations and with Royal Consent. Traditionally the game is controlled and organised by Pana Loisang of the Ruler of the state and village organizations. There are four Panas-Ahallup, Naharup, Khabam and Laipham who control all fixtures and time for the games and State Meet in which Final is invariably graced by the ruler and presents the Title of Jatra (Champion) for the year along with reward of Thum Nama ( A ful bag of salt) and Ngabong Phi (hand made cloth of coton yarn), exemption of all state duties and Ningham Samjin dress (traditional).The game has two categories (1) Takhatnabi (League), (2) Naitom (Knockout). The young talents work and play all the year round with dedication for the title of 'Jatra' (Champion) of Mukna of Manipur.

[edit] Mukna Kangjei (Khong Kangjei)

Mukna Kangjei is a game which combines the arts of mukna (wrestling) and Kangjei (Cane Stick) to play the ball made of seasoned bamboo roots.The origin of the game goes back well to Aniconicworship. People celebrate 'Lai Haraoba' (festival to please traditional deities) and include this item to mark the end of the festival. It was believed that Khagemba Ningthou (King) - (1597-1652) patronised this game. In later generation, the game is organised in the villages. Presently, associations are formed in Panas with rules and regulations of Mukna Kangjei.The game is played by two teams each consisting of seven players. All players hold a natural cane stick with root, gradually increasing the size of the root, to the lenght of about seven inches to play the ball made out of seasoned bamboo roots of approximately a diameter of four inches.The players put on Mukna Kisi Phijet ( dress of cloth knot) to secure protection and holding each other. At present a short pant is added below Kisi ( like cloth belt with knots).The game starts by throwing the ball in front of the panjenbas (leaders) of the two teams standing face to face to each other on the line. If possible they can pick up the ball and run. The process of running and obstructing each other to put the ball on the goal line of the ground is allowed, Pun onba (change of side) and end of the game is given by the command of the umpire. The rules for the game is known as Kangjei lon. It has improved a lot and was demonstrated during the Fifth National Games 1999 at Imphal.

[edit] Sagol Kangjei

To Manipuris according to Chaitharol-Kumbaba, a Royal Chronicle of Manipur King Kangba who ruled Manipur much earlier than Nongda Lairen Pakhangba (33 AD) introduced Sagol Kangjei (Kangjei on horse back). Further regular playing of this game commenced in 1605 during the reign of King Khagemba under newly framed rules of the game.The game requires perfect control of the pony, the stick and the ball with profiency of riding. The sense of 'fair Play' was the main guided factor of this game.This is played between two teams of Seven players a side. During the time of the late Sir Chandrakirti Singh, K.C.S.I Maharaja of Manipur introduced regular game at Mapal Kangjeibung (now near Tikendrajit Park) on the ground of Sana-Lamjei (length 160 and 80 width in dimension)being one Lamjei equal to 6 ft. The game can be played in smaller ground also if occasion demands. Earlier, there was no definite rules for foul in traditional Sagol Kangjei.Manipur has produced players of outstanding calibres like Jubaraj Bir Tikendraji (Senapati of Manipur Army) as legendary player described by Mrs. Grimhood (1887-90). After 1891, Manipur produced outstanding players like (L) Ojha Tombi and Shyamjai Sharma who never had the chance to play in international tournament. From the history it is an established fact and accepted that Manipur is the birthplace of Polo of the World.

[edit] Yubi Lakpi

Yubi (Coconut) Lakpi (capturing) is like rugby except that its an Individual game. Before the start of the game, players rub their bodies with mustard oil and water to make slippery to catch each other.A coconut properly soaked with oil is place in front of the Chief guest of the function.The players put on kisi (Langot) on an underpant properly tied in front. A senior Jatra is the umpire of the game to start and check fouls of the players. Before the start the coconut is placed in front of the seat of the Chief Guest. Official game is held on the occassion of the Yaoshang Festival of Shri Shri Govindajee at palace ground and with Royal presence.

[edit] Oolaobi

Oolaobi is an outdoor game mainly played by the female. Meitei mythology believes that UmangLai Heloi-Taret (Seven dieties-seven fairies) played this game on the Courtyard of the temple of UMANG LAI LAIREMBI.Number of the participants were not fixed but are divided into two groups ( size now as per agreement). Players are divided as:- (1) Raiders (Attackers) (2) Defenders (Avoiders) Action of raider:Say "oo" without stopping as long as they can continue and try to touch the avoiders. If a raider touches an Avoider is out.This process goes on till avoiders are out or surrender.If a raider fails to say "oo" or out of breadth, Raider is out. Points are counted on the elimination of Raiders/Defenders. Change of Side:If Raiders are tired they declare for change. Now time limit is decided for change. The outline principles of Woo-Laobi is very much similar to that of Kabaddi in India.The ground (court) is not marked, normally the open space available within the premises of the house or temple is used for the game. This game, is very much liked by the girls and also became a source of talent in Kabaddi.

[edit] Hiyang Tannaba

Hiyang Tannaba in progress

Hiyang Tannaba in progress

Hiyang Tannaba (Boat Race) : Hiyang tannaba (Hi Yangba Tannaba) is a tradinional function of the Panas. This is held during the month of November. This was introduced during the time of Ningthourel Khunjaoba, the second son of King Khagemba, who dug the Kangla Moat around the Palace to make it impregnable in the year of 1660 after he ascended the throne in 1652.In the traditional function two boats "Tanahi" (Race Boat) are detailed for leaders known as "Tengmai Lappa". In each boat forty Hiroys (Boatsman) operate the boat.The boat which reaches the finishing line is the winner and all boatsman raise their (Nows) oars high in the air as a sign of reaching the finishing line first and thus the winner of the race is declared. The leader pays his respect to the deity and the King of Manipur.

[edit] Arambai Hunba

People of Manipur are very fond of riding horses specially those who are in the village near the breeding areas. Since the ponies are easily available , the young boys get the chance of riding ponies without saddle on horse back. Sometimes they ride horse using a rope in place of regular bridle throwing branches of small trees in place of Arambai. This pratice helped the Manipur Arambai force as a martial art which was very much required during the advance and withdrawal of forces.This art was very popular as an indigenous game of the youth of Manipur. This game is dispalyed even now , during the festival "Kwak Jatra" after Durga Puja.

[edit] Indoor Indigenous Games

[edit] Kang

Kang game

Kang game

Kang is played by both male and female Meities of Manipur. Manipuris believe Kang is a game played by deity " Panthoibi". It is also believed that Manipuris began to play this game well before Vaishnavism came to Manipur.It is culturally a fine game of Manipur specially of Meiteis. It is played under a shed of building on an earth ground ( court) smoothly levelled to suit the course of the 'Kang' the target on the court. It is well marked for the respective positions of the players of both to hit the target on the court. It has rules and regulations formed by the associations to suit the occasions of the games either for tournaments or Friendly. The dignitaries of the Palace,even Queen and King also participated on social functions. In olden days 'Kang' was played during summer, starting from Cheiraoba (Manipur New Year) to Kang Chingba. Presently the game is played in several touranaments throughout the year, organised by the Associations. Rules and regulations have been modified to suit the improved process of the game.


Manipur as the name suggest is a land of jewels. Manipur's culture and the present mix of the races stem from the influences of the Vaishnavism and the embedded traditional values in the region. Its rich culture excels in every aspects as in martial arts, dance, theater and sculpture. The charm of the place is the greenery with the moderate climate making it a tourists haven. The beautiful and seasonal Siroi Lily at Ukhrul (district), Sangai (Brow antlered deer) and the floating islands at Loktak Lake are one of the rare things found at Manipur. Polo, which can be called a royal game, also originated from Manipur. Some of the main tourist attractions are:

[edit] Imphal (Capital)

The city is mainly inhabited by the Vaishnavites and it is just 7 km from the airport of Manipur (Tulihal Airport). The district is divided into East and West and the recently constructed sports complex (Khuman Lampak Sports Complex) is also one of the attractions comprising of every thing, from a cyclists velodrome to the main stadium. Most of the imported goods are sold here at its Paona Bazar, Gambhir Singh Shopping Complex and Leima Plaza.

[edit] Keibul Lamjao National Park

Sangai at Keibul Lamjao National Park

Sangai at Keibul Lamjao National Park

Keibul Lamjao National Park, 48 km away from Imphal is an abode of, rare and endangered species of Brow Antlered deer (also known as Sangai). This ecosystem is home to 17 rare species of mammals. The greenery of the place and the moderate temperature makes a pleasant experience to visit.

[edit] Loktak Lake (Freshwater Lake)

Loktak Lake is the lake where most of the people of Manipur get their share of fish meat. The special treat to watch are the floating islands popularly known as Phumdi which is made out of the tangle of watery weeds and other plants. With a nominal fee, people can hire small boats and see this fascinating way of living on these floating islands. The wetland is swampy and is favourable for a number of species to thrive on. It is in the district of Moirang.

[edit] Manipuri Dance (Ras Lila)

Ras Lila

Ras Lila

A classical form of Manipuri dance based and inspired by the theme of Lord Krishna and his beloved, Radha love story and the devotion of the Gopis (companions) towards Lord Krishna. This graceful and slow movement of the dance makes it one of the most acclaimed classical dances of India. The costume is elegant, as there are nicely embroidered clothes that give luster to the beauty of the art.

[edit] Shree Govindajee Temple

Shree Shree Govindajee Temple

Shree Shree Govindajee Temple

This temple is the premiere temple in Manipur and it adjoins the palaces of the former rulers of the state. The temple is simple in design with gold domes, a paved court and a large, raised congregation hall. The deity in the center has other idols of Radha Govinda, Balaram and Krishna and Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra on either side of it.

[edit] Chorus Repertory Theater

The Shrine - the main theater

The Shrine - the main theater

The auditorium of the theater is situated on the out-skirts of Imphal and the campus stretches for about two acres. It has housing and working quarters to accommodate a self-sufficiency of life. The theater association has churned out internationally acclaimed plays like Chakravyuha and Uttarpriyadashi. Its' 25 years of existence in theater had disciplined its performers to a world of excellence. Chakravyuha taken from the Mahabharat epic had won Fringe Firsts Award, 1987 at the Edinburgh International Theater Festival. Chakravyuha deals with the story of Abhimanyu (son of Arjun) of his last battle and approaching death whereas Uttarpriyadashi is an 80-minute exposition of Emperor Ashoka's redemption.

[edit] Other places of interest are

[edit] War cemeteries

Commemorating the memories of the British and Indian soldiers who died during the Second World War, these cemeteries are managed by the Common Wealth War Graves Commission. Serene and well maintained, the graves carry little stone markers and bronze plaques, recording the sacrifice of those gallant soldiers.

[edit] Khonghampat Orchidarium

7 km from Imphal, on Highway No. 39 is the Central Orchidarium, which covers 200 acres and houses over 110 rare varieties of orchids, which include almost a dozen endemic species. The peak blooming season is March - April.

[edit] Manipur Zoological Gardens

6 km to the west of Imphal, at the foot of the pine growing hillocks at Iroisemba on the Imphal-Kangchup Road are the Zoological Gardens. Not to be missed is an opportunity to see the graceful brow antlered deer (Sangai) one of the rarest species in the world, in sylvan surroundings.

[edit] Moirang

45 km from Imphal, the town is one of the main centres of early Meitei folk culture with the ancient temple of the pre-Hindu deity Lord Thangjing, situated here. In the month of May, men and women, dressed in colourful traditional costumes, sing and dance in honour of the Lord at the Moirang "Lai Haraoba" which is a ritual dance festival held each year. The town also has a special place in the history of the Indian freedom struggle. It was at Moirang that the flag of the Indian National Army was first unfurled on April 14, 1944.

[edit] Loktak Lake and Sendra Island

Bird's eye view of Floating Cafe' on Loktak Lake from Sendra

Bird's eye view of Floating Cafe' on Loktak Lake from Sendra

48 km from Imphal, is the largest fresh water lake in the North East India, a veritable miniature inland sea. From the Tourist Bungalow set atop Sendra Island, visitors get a bird's eye view of life on the Lake-small islands that are actually floating weed on which live the Lake people, the shimmering blue waters of the Lake, labyrinthine boat routes and colourful water plants. The Sendra Tourist Home with an attached cafeteria in the middle of the lake is an ideal tourist spot.

[edit] Kaina

It is a hillock about 921 metres above sea level and a sacred place of the Manipuri Hindus. So goes the story that one night, Shri Govindajee appeared in the dream of his devotee, Shri Jai Singh Maharaja and asked the saintly king to install in a temple, an image of Shri Govindajee. It was to be carved out of a jack fruit tree, which was then growing at Kaina. The scenery in this place is charming and the hill shrubs and natural surroundings give the place a religious atmosphere. It is only 29 km from Imphal.

[edit] Khongjom

36 km on the Indo-Myanmar road, a war broke out between Manipur and British India in 1891. It is here that Major General Paona Brajabashi, one of the great warriors of Manipur proved his valor against the superior force of the invading British Army in 1891. A War Memorial has been constructed on the top of the Kheba Hill.

[edit] Tengnoupal

69 km from Imphal. The highest point on the Indo-Myanmar Road, from here, you can have a full view of the valley of Myanmar.

[edit] Ukhrul

83 km to the east of Imphal, this district headquarters of Manipur East is the highest hill station of the state. A centre of the colourful warrior tribe Tangkhul Nagas, it is well developed and famous for its peculiar type of land-lily, the Siroi, grown in the Siroi hills. Siroi Hills and Khangkhui Lime Caves are interesting places for excursions.

[edit] Manipur State Museum

The interesting museum near the Polo Ground in the heart of Imphal has a fairly good display of Manipur's Tribal heritage and a collection of portraits of Manipur's former rulers.

[edit] Maibam Lotpa Ching

It is a hillock about 16 km from Imphal on Tiddim Road. It is a thrilling spot where a fierce battle took place between the British and the Japanese force in World War II and regarded as a holy place. There is also a monument in memory of the Japanese Martyrs who sacrificed their lives in this fierce battle.

Manipur presents a mosaic of traditions and cultural patterns. Particularly, it is world famous for the Manipuri style of classical dance, very much distinct from other Indian dance forms. The Manipuri school of dancing whether folk, classical or modern, is devotional in nature. The rich culture and tradition of Manipur is also depicted in its handloom clothes and handicrafts. The Manipuri handloom and handicraft are world famous for its craftsmanship as well as ingenuity, colourful, colourfulness and usefulness.

Khamba Thoibi Dance:

Khamba Thoibi dance is a duet of male and female partners, a dance of dedication to the sylvan deity, Thangjing of Moirang. Khamba and Thoibi are actually two mythological characters who have become immortal in Manipuri folklore. This, with the "Maibi" dance (Priestess dance) , the "Leima Jagoi" etc. form the "Laiharaoba" dance. The "Laiharaoba" dance , in many ways, is the fountainhead of the modern Manipuri dance form.This dance is a part and parcel of Moirang Lai-Haraoba. It is believed that the legendary hero - Khamba and heroine - Thoibi danced together before the Lord Thangjing, a celebrated deity of Moirang for peace and prosperity of the land.

Pung CholomPung Cholom:

Pung or Manipuri Mridanga is the soul of Manipuri Sankritana music and Classical Manipuri Dance. It assumes an important ritual character, an indispensable part of all social and devotional ceremonies in Manipur, - the instrument itself becoming an object of veneration. Pung Cholom is performed as an invocatory number preceding the Sankirtana and Ras Lila. It is a highly refined classical dance number characterised by the modulation of sound from a soft whisper to a thunderous climax. There is the interplay of intricate rhythms and cross rhythms with varying markings of time from the slow to the quick with graceful and vigorous body movements leading to ecstatic heights.

Maibi Dance:

During the festival of Lai-Haraoba which is an annual ritual festival of the Meiteis, the inhabitants of the valley of Manipur, the Maibis, the priestesses considered to be spritural mediums, trace through their dances the whole concept of cosmogony of the Meitei people and describe their way of life. Beginning with the process of creation, they show the construction of houses and various occupations of the people to sustain themselves. It is a kind of re-living of the way of life of the past.

Ras LeelaRas Leela:

The Ras Leela, the epitome of Manipuri classical dance is inter-woven through the celestial and eternal love of Radha and Krishna as has been described in the Hindu scriptures and reveals the sublime and transcendental love of Krishna and Radha and the Gopies' devotion to the Lord. It is generally performed in an enclosure in front of the temple throughout the night and watched with a deep sense of devotion. Ras performances are seasonal and varied and performed at the temple of Shree Shree Govindajee in Imphal on the nights of Basanta Purnima, Sarada Purnima and Kartik Purnima and at local temples later. As to the composition, the performance is a combination of solo, duet and group dances. This highly stylised form of dance has sublimity, subtlety and grace. The richness of the costumes gives lustre to the beauty of the art.

The tradition of sports dates back to the ancient history of Manipur - a history of small kingdoms which were in keen competition with one another. Wars among themselves and with the Aawa (the Burmese) resulted in a martial tradition which in turn gave due impetus to the development of indigenous games.

Sagol Kangjei (POLO):
The Manipuri Sagol Kangjei has been adopted by the International Community as Polo and is now being played worldwide. The 'PUYAS' trace it to the mythological age when the game was played by gods. The game is played with 7 players on each side mounted on ponies which are often not more than 4/5 feet in height. Each player is outfitted with a polo stick made of cane having a narrow angled wooden head fixed at the striking end. The ball, 14 inches in circumference is made of bamboo root. The mounted players hit the ball into the goal. Extremely vigorous and exhilarating, the game is now played in two styles - the PANA or original Manipuri style and the International style i.e. Polo. The ponies are also decorated fully with various guards protecting the eyes, forehead, flanks etc. The British learned the game of Sagol Kangjei in the 19th Century from Manipur after refinement it was transplanted to other countries as Polo.

Thang Ta & Sarit Sarak (Manipuri Martial Arts):
These are the Manipuri Martial Arts, the traditions of which had been passed down over the centuries. It is a very energetic and skillful art and is a way to hone one's battlecraft during the peace time in the olden days when every Manipuri was a warrior who is required to serve his country at the time of war. Long and precise practices is required and only the brave and athletic could excel. The art as seen today observes elaborate rituals and rules which are strictly followed by the participants.

Yubi Lakpi (Manipuri Style Rugby):
"Yubi" is the Manipuri word for coconut and "Lakpi" for snatching. Played on the beautiful green turf of the palace ground, or at the Bijoy Govinda Temple Ground. Each side has 7 players in a field that is about 45 x 18 metres in area. One end of the field has a rectangular box 4.5 x 3 mtrs. One side of which forms the central portion of the goal line. To score a goal a player has to approach the goal from the front with his oiled coconut and pass the goal line. The coconut serves the purpose of a ball and is offered to the king or the judges who sit just beyond the goal line. However, in ancient times the teams were not equally matched but the players, with the coconut had to tackle all the rest of the players.

Hiyang Tanaba (Boat Race):
It is generally held in the month of November at Thangapat (a long man-made stretch of water). The boats called Hiyang Hiren is regarded to be invested with spiritual powers and the game is associated with religious rites. The Meiteis believe that worship of the Hiyang Hiren will negate evil omens. The rowers don traditional dresses and head gears. The game is also conducted during the times of natural calamity.

Mukna (Manipuri Wrestling):
This game is the Manipuri style of wrestling played between two male rivals for trial of strength by sheer physical strength and skill. Athletes of the same or approximately the same physical built weight and, age are made rivals. The game is an absolute must for the closing ceremonies of the Lai Haraoba festival. Mukna is a highly popular and prestigious game. In the olden days the game enjoyed royal patronage.

Manipur is a land of festivities, merriments and mirths all the year round. A year in Manipur Presents a cycle of festivals. Hardly a month passes without a festival or two. To the manipuris, festivals are the symbols of their cultural, social and religious aspirations which, besides removing the monotony of life by providing physical diversions, mental recreation and emotional outlet, help them lead a better and fuller life.

Ningol Chakouba - the social festival of Manipuris :
It is a remarkable social festival of the Meiteis. Married women of the family who were married to distant places come to the parental house along with her children and enjoy sumptuous feast. It is a form of family rejoinder to revive familial affection. The festival is also observed by the Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) to a certain extent now-a-days. It is observed on the second day of the new moon in the Manipuri month of Hiyangei(November).

Yaoshang - The premier festival of Manipur Hindus :
Celebrated for five days commencing from the full moon day of Phalguna (february/March), Yaoshang is the premier festival of Manipur. The Thabal Chongba - a kind of Manipuri folk dance, where boys and girls hold hands and sing and dance in a circle, is particularly associated with this festival. Boys and girls and old women collect donations from house to house and the money so collected is spent in a number of parties and feast. Indeed, Yaosang to Manipur is what Durga Puja is to Bengal, Diwali in north India and Bihu to Assam.

Cheiraoba - The Manipur NewYear:
During the festival, people clean and decorate their houses and prepare special festive dishes which are first offered to various deities. Celebrated during the month of April, a part of the ritual entails villagers climbing the nearest hill tops in belief that it will enable them to rise to greater heights in their worldly life. The Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) also observe it.

Manipur is not only the gateway to the North-Eastern India but also a fascinating destination for discerning tourists. Legend says that the discovery of Manipur is the result of the delight the Gods took in dancing. It is this remarkable bid that gives Manipur a unique identity of her own. Blessed with a salubrious climate, famous for its distinctive cultural pattern and its evergreen scenic beauty, Manipur always extends a cordial invitation to the tourists...

Loktak Lake and Sendra Island:

48 km. from Imphal. A huge and beautiful stretch of water, this lake is like a miniature inland sea. From the Tourist Bungalow, set atop Sendra island, visitors can get a bird's eye view of the lake and the life on it, the fisherman and their families who live in neat huts on its shores and who make full use of their watery environment. They cast their nets on it, rear fish farms in it using nets as floating walls, harvest it for the water chestnut known as Heikak, and even build their houses on the islands of floating weed that dart around the lake.

Govindajee TempleShree Shree Govindajee Temple:

This temple adjoining the palace of the former rulers of Manipur, is a historic centre for Vaisnavites. It is a simple and beautiful structure with gold domes, a paved court and a large, raised congregation hall. The presiding deity in the centre is flanked by idols of Radha Govinda, Balaram and Krishna on one side and Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra on the other.

Keibul Lamjao National Park:

53 kms. from Imphal and on the fringes of Loktak Lake, this is the last natural habitat of the endangered marsh-dwelling brow-antlered deer of Manipur called "Sangai". The scientific name of this deer is "Cervus eldi eldi". The uniqueness of this particular park is that it is the only floating national park in the world and the deer is also found nowhere else on earth. The park is composed of large masses of floating weed (called "Phumdi" in local dialect). Geographically the floating biomass (phumdi) encompasses an area of about 42 sq. km.The thickness of the biomass is from 0.5 to 1.5 metres. These phumdi unseemingly can suport a lot of weight. In fact, migratory fishermen bulid houses on these floating islands of weed that float around the lake. I myself have visited some of these houses (huts, to be more precise). It was quite an experience, really. Imagine going to sleep at night in one part of the lake and waking up the next morning in a different part of the lake!

Described by Lord Irwin as the 'Switzerland of India', Manipur boasts of an exotic landscape with gently undulating hills, emerald green valleys, blue lakes and dense forests. It is the sheer tranquility enveloping it, interrupted only by a soft breeze that sets it apart from the other northeastern states, and makes it the ideal getaway. Manipur, literally meaning the land of jewel, is a paradise on earth when Mother Nature has been extra generous in her beauty. And from the very inception, this princely state of Manipur has always been a shinning outpost of the country in the sparse of the eastern Himalayas.

Manipur is a part of India both from the point of view of geography and culture. It never lost its basic link with the mainstream of the Indian culture. The culture of Manipur has been a part of Indian culture. It accepted aspects of Indian culture and transmitted them to Burma, China and other lands of East Asia. On political grounds Manipur can hardly be separated from India. We find the invaders from Cachar, Tripura, etc., during the successive periods of it's history. The religious movement of Manipur in the 18th century conveys the spirit of universality and strengthen the bounds of unity. It asserts that Manipur is a

The Arjuna and Chitrangada Story

In the Mahabharata, and Dharani Sanghita, Manipur is mentioned as the meeting place of Arjuna, the third pandava and Chitrangada, the crown Princess of Manipur. Prachin Manipurer Itihas by Shri Mahendra kumar Singh States that this place, with a bay like Lake Logtak in the centre surrounded by hill -bounded plain land, was the kingdom of Chitra Bahana, a Gandharva king as par the epic Mahabharata. According to Mahabharata, his daughter Chitrangada( or Chitranggoda) attracted to Arjuna from hastinapura and got herself married to him. Babhrubahana is the son of Chitrangada, belonged to Kshatrya of Chandra Bangsa, ruled Manipur after Chitrabahana. (12)

Dharani Sanghita ( part 4, Narad-Janmejoy sambad) States that Manipur or Mekholy was the meeting place of Arjuna, the third Pandava and Chitrangoda , the crown princess of Manipur.

Besides, there are numerous genealogy prevailing in Manipur relating the lands as reclaimed from water by Lord Siva’s Trisul, while another lined makes it the place illuminated by the jewel on the crown of Shesh Nag for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati to play Rasleela

The evidences of KurmaPurana show that Chitrangada pleases Lord Siva through her worship. And the place where she worshiped Lord Siva, became a holy place where Vyasa himself paid a visit.

after sunset. Spurred by the example of Lord Krishna and Srimati Radhika immersed in Rasleela, their privacy guaranteed by Lord Siva as the gatekeeper, Goddess Parvati had requested Lord Siva dance with her.(13)
Apart from folk stories and legends, there is historical evidences of some Aryan migration in the valley took part in the remote past. The myth and lore of Manipur refers to the supreme deity or Dau Seidaba rubbing hands to create from the Gods and Goddesses the human being to people the new land Manipur.

Mahabharata, Manipur and the Meiteis

Meitei Scholars like Pandit Atombapu Sharma, W.Yamjao Singh hold that the origin of the Meiteis can be traced to the Aryan. According to them, the Meiteis are the descendants of group of people coming from Mithila (Videha) which is the eastern frontier of Aryan culture for a long time.
(14)The word Meithei derives its name from mithila. Atombapu Sharma developed his theory on geographical, Astronomical and philological grounds in his writings. Both of them have shown that Meitei language is derived from Sankrit and its grammer is based on Sanskrit. Here are some extracts regarding the relation between Sanskrit and Meitei language, as stated by W. Yamjao Singh in his work, An Early History of Manipur, 1966, page 57 -

Goloka - Korou, Heaven
Shylak - Shelou, brother in law
Palak - Phalou, protecter
Shringa - Ching, mountain
Nithakur - Ningthou, king

R.K. Jhaljit Singha says that ".. Chitrangada, the princess of the kingdom. She was of the complexion of a madhuka flower i.e, mahua flower. A mahua flower is of golden colour. Chitrangada was of golden complexion. This suggests that she might be Mongoloid descent".

According to them, the meiteis are the descendants of group of people coming from Mithila (Videha) which is the eastern frontier of Aryan culture for a long time. The word Meithei derives its name from Mithila.

However, sir G. A. Grierson, E.T. Dalton and T. C. Hudson holds that the Meiteis and their language is affiliated to kuki chin group of Tibeto-Burman family. According to Dr.M. Kirti Singh, "to say that the earliest form of Meitei language has been developed out of Sanskrit is a hypothesis which at the moment cannot be proved or unproved". (15)

Mahabharata, Manipur and the Bishnupriya Manipuris

On the other hand Bishnupriya Scholars like Shri Mahendra Kumar Singha, Pandit Sena Singha and some other history writers hold that Babhrubahana and his descendents comprising of many other colonies of Indo-Aryan Stock are called Bishnupriya, speaking a language of Indo-Aryan language. According to them, They are worshippers of Vishnu and Lord Vishnu was installed by Babhrubahana from Hastinapura. Their view is that, Meiteis and Meitei language is of kuki-chin origin and a kuki-chin group language group cannot be related with the people and language of epic Mahabharata.

They hold that BPM is highly influenced by the Sanskrit and Maharastri as well as Sauraseni Prakrits that is colloquial language of the soldiers and the people of Kuru Panchaya and Mathsadesh including Hastina Indraprastha

Shri Jagat Mohan Singha and Sri Birendra Singha developed the theory on observation of morphology, vocables and phonology of Bishnupriya Manipuri (BPM) language. They hold that BPM is highly influenced by the Sanskrit and Maharastri as well as Sauraseni Prakrits.(17) Sauraseni Prakrit colloquial language of the soldiers and the people of Kuru Panchaya and Mathsadesh including Hastina Indraprastha etc. All the characteristics of Mahararstri and Sauraseni Prakrits are exactly found in the BPM. For example, the verbal forms change following number, gender or the subjects in Bishnupriya Manipuri as visible in the Vedic, Pali and Prakrit language -

1st person - Mi Jauriga ( I am going )
2nd Person - Ti Jarga ( You go )
3rd person - Ta Jarga ( He goes ), Ta Jakga ( he may go )

1st person - Ami Jiarga ( We are going )
2nd Person - Tumi Jaraiga ( You go )
3rd person - Tanu Jitaraga ( They go ) , Tanu Jakaga ( They may go )

W.Shaw and Raj Mohan Nath , two eminent scholars are of the view that " Bishnupriya " with its Devanagari script had been language of ancient Manipur.(18) On the other hand, some other Bishnupriya Scholars like Dr. K.P. Sinha has objected to claim of Manipur to the alleged connection of Hindu legend. Dr. Sinha tried to prove his theory on the basis that Bishnupriya Manipuri language as a resultant language of Magadhi Prakrit.(19) According to him the origin of a language is to be inferred not from the history of the people; the origin of a community and the origin of their language do not necessarily go together.

Whether The Present Manipur is that of the Epic

References of Manipur in the Ramayana

The name “Manipura” never occurs in the Ramayana, the earliest extant Epic of India . In Kiskindhya Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana there are certain stanzas which may be interpreted with some sort of imagination as stating the areas in and around Manipur . The direction of the serch party of monkeys was given by Sugriva with references to the Kiratas, the inhabitants of Manipur.(20)

References of Manipur in the Mahabharata

The Mahabharata is said to have been written by Sage Vyasa sometime between 400 B.C. and 200 A.D. The word Maha in Sanskrit is an adjective that means something that is great or extraordinary and Bharata is India, but this Epic is about much more than just India. It transcends culture and religion and at the very core of the ancient storyline lies a simple is a story of good versus evil, of families in turmoil, of jealousy and betrayal and at the heart of it all, a fight for the truth. Though they are mixed with a lot of fiction, all the incidents in the Mahabharata have a historical value

theme that all of mankind can relate too. It is a story of good versus evil, of families in turmoil, of jealousy and betrayal and at the heart of it all, a fight for the truth.(21) Though they are mixed with a lot of fiction, all the incidents in the Mahabharata have a historical value. In Mahabharata, there is reference to Manipur in at least four different places -

(1) The first reference to Manipur is in the Adi Parva on the occasion of Arjuna going from Hiranyavindu to see the astern region. After seeing the Mahendra Mountains, he proceeded slowly along the coast, reached Manipur and married Chitrangoda, the princess.

(2) The second reference is in Ashwamedha Parva in connection with the roaming of the sacrificial (Ashwamedha Yogya) horse guarded by Arjuna and the eventual fight between him and his son Babhrubahana, the king of Manipur.

(3) The third reference of Manipur in Mahabharata, is in the Ashwamedha Parva once again. Arjuna sent a message to Krishna to inform Yudhisthira that Babhrubahana, king of Manipur, would attend the horse-sacrifice. Then Babhrubahana arrived in Hastinapura with Chitrangoda and Ulupi and they were received with honor and affection.

(4) The forth reference is in Mahaprasthanic Parva. The five brother and Droupadi left the capital to leave India for good and reach heaven in flesh and blood. Ther were followd by a dog. Subhadra remained in Hastinapura, but Chtrangoda returned to Manipura city.

The First Refernce

We read in the Bhagavata-purana the Adi parva and Asva-medha parva of the Mahabharata how Vyasa referred to it in the Epic.(22) The first is in Adi Parva on the occasion of Arjuna going from Anga, Vanga and Kalinga to see the eastern region . In Manipur he approached King Chitravahana with a request for the marriage of Chitrangada . The proposal prevailed on the condition that Chitrangada’s son would be given to Chitravahana . He was without any male issue to succeed him . Arjuna stayed in Manipur for three years and begot a son called Vabhrubahana who became king of Manipur .(23)

As regards the the second reference on Asvamedha sacrifice, we are told that the horse entered Manipur from Sindhu. Arjuna was defeated and killed by his son, Vabhruvahana . He was restored to life by Ulupi, the daughter of the Naga chief, whom Arjuna had married before the marriage of Chitrangada.(24)

The Second Reference

R.K. Jhalajit Singh (25) analyzed the second reference in the following manner - after the battle, the horse, having roamed over the " whole earth bounded by the ocean", turned his face towards Hastinapura and the return journey began. Arjuna as before followed the horse. On the return journey, the horse came to Rajagriha, the capital city of Magadha.
What does the above account prove ? What is the meaning of " whole earth bounded by the ocean"? Evidently the horse did not roam over the whole earth as it is known to us today. He simply roamed all over India as known to the Indo-Aryans of those days. So, " whole earth bounded by the ocean" simply means India.
Let us take one instance. After the horse sacrifice , Yudhisthiira gave" the whole earth" to Vyasa as largesse( Dakshina). Evidently, Yudhisthira could give those areas now covered by say, South America, Africa, or Newziland. By the word " the whole earth" , he meant India as known to him. Yudhisthira could give this as it was already traversed by the horse and conquered by Arjuna.

Evidently the horse did not roam over the whole earth as it is known to us today. He simply roamed all over India as known to the Indo-Aryans of those days. So, " whole earth bounded by the ocean" simply means India

By referring to the sacrificial horse after reaching Manipur as " having roamed over the whole earth bounded by the ocean", the author of the epic simply means that on reaching Manipur, the horse had come to the frontier of India. That this frontier was the western frontier will be clear next from the incident narrated in the epic. While returning to Hastinapura ( near Modern Delhi) from Manipura, the horse passed through Rajgriha (Modern Rajgir near Patna). This can happen if, and only if, Manipur lies to the east of Patna. In plain language, Manipura was on the eastern frontier of India. The Manipur of today is the Manipura of Mahabharata.

Look at a physical map of Asia.(26) It will be seen that India before the British conquest was marked out from the rest of Asia by nature by hills and mountains and the seas. On the north are the Himalayas. At the western extremity of Himalayas, ranges of hills emerges from them and reach the Arabian sea or the western seas ancient Indians call it. From the eastern extremity of Himalayas also, ranges of hills emerge and reach the bay of Bengal or the eastern sea as the ancient Indians called it. So the Western Sea, the western arm of the Himalayas, the Himalayas, the eastern arm of the Himalayas and the Eastern sea formed, broadly speaking, the boundary this India, on its eastern frontier of India in ancient and medieval times.

Earlier references to Manipuri and its civilization(27)

There was a regular trade-route by land from China via Manipur, upper India to Afganistan and thence to Europe. Col Gerini in his Researches on Ptolemy’s geography says “According to Burmese Royal Chronicles (Maharaja Vamsa) Dhajaraja, a king of Sakya race, settled of Manipur, about 550 B.C. and later on conquered, Tagaung old or upper Pagan.”(28) G.E. Harvey in his History of Burma lay inaecessible, true, it was nearer to China which from the second century B.C. used trade routes through Burma .” A footnote thereto runs thus, “Two were along the Irrawaddy and Salwen River , the third down the Chindwin River and through Manipur took Caravans a three months, journey to Afganistan where the skills of China were exchanged for the gold of Europe .”(29) A . Phayre describes the route in his History of Burma . “The route by which Kshatriya princes arrived (in Burma) is indicated in the traditions as being through Manipur which lies within the basin of Irrawaddy .”(30)

According to the Chinese texts, the Indian influence exerted since the second century B.C. in the mountainous regions of Upper Valleys of the Chindwin, the Irawaddy, the Salwen, the Mekong and the Red River as far as Yunnan, which was known by its Indian name, Gandhara . It persists for 13 centuries . There are Chinese names of these several kingdoms.(31) D.G.E. Hall refers to aroad connecting Lower Burma with India via the bank of the Irawaddy, the bank of the Chindwin and Manipur.(32) There are four pieces of coins collected by Yumjao Singh from which we may draw ther trade relationship between Manipur and India in the early period. The account of Hiuen-Tsang and Kamakhyatantra contain references to Manipur as a part of Kamarupa .(33) From these facts we knowthat Manipur was an ancient kingdom and there were commercial and cultural contacts between Manipur and Burma, China, etc., through these passes.

Hindu Dynasties in Upper Burma

If we also go back to historical evidences we shall have to see the root of establishment of Hindu dynasties in upper Burma. All the Hindu dynasties settled in upper Burma had to come across Manipur from the western and Northern India by road as Manipur was only the gateway of Far-East. (34)The beauty of the land Manipur, lake Logtak and its surrounding areas also might have attracted them and some of them settled there and reigned there for years together.

All the Hindu dynasties settled in upper Burma had to come across Manipur from the western and Northern India by road as Manipur was only the gateway of Far-East.

Now let us analyze the process of Aryan migration in Manipur. The land was known to the rest of world from ancient times. Panini, who lived in the 4th century B.C., mentions in his famous grammar a good number of places in India. Among the names so mentioned in Surmasa, which is identified as the valley of Surma. The valley of Surma is, as it were, the western gate of Manipur. The Valley of Surma or the Barak comes right upto the western fringe of Manipur. Between Sylhet and the western fringe of Manipur, there is no

Once the Aryans reached there, it was easy for them to reach the Manipur Valley, for this valley was on an international route connecting the Gangetic valley with Burma and beyond. The route connecting the western bend of the Barak with Torbung in the Manipur valley was the easiest.

impediment such as hills, forests, big rivers or wide deserts. Once the Indo-Aryans reached Sylhet, they reached the western border of Manipur in a matter of decades. Once they reached there, it was easy for them to reach the Manipur Valley, for this valley was on an international route connecting the Gangetic valley with Burma and beyond. The route connecting the western bend of the Barak with Torbung in the Manipur valley was the easiest. It was wide enough to allow the passage of elephants.(35)

Aryan Migration and Influence in Manipur

Let us observe some historical keynotes on the origin of Manipuris and their migration, settlements and cultural penetration in the land of Manipur -

· "Chanting 'Omkar', Sannskrit language, now obsolete, and Vedic rituals were prevailing in Manipur. As such the race of people inhabiting Manipur was distinctly Aryan" ( English translation from original Meitei)
Meitei Puran Bijoy Panchali Edited by L. Mani singh and Shri Mangi Singh / part II Page 138).

· "By degrees, the Meiteis became dominant and that name was applied to the entire colony. now that they claim to be Hindu decent. It is highly probable that these hordes overrun a country( Manipur) that has been previously occupied by the people of Aryan blood known in the western India and to the Bards."
E.T. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, 1872, page 48, 49 .

· "Thus from the erliest time Manipur was a Brahminical kingdom and was learned well enough, their fame in astrology teaches us as far as the distinct part of China"
W. Yamjao sing, An Early History Of Manipur, Page-23.

· "Although the general facial characteristics of the Mannipurie are of Mongolian type, there is great diversity of fetures among them, some of them showing regularly approaching the aryan type".
Dr. R. Brown, Imperial hazetteer of India, 1908, Vol xvii , page 126.

· " The valley was originally occupied by several tribes principals were Khumal, Luwang, Moirang and Meitai all of whom came from different quarters of whom khumals are the most powerful and after them the Moirangs but ultimately the Meitais subdued them and form them into a single people."
Assam District gazeteer, Part -IX by V.C Elen, page 11.

· " It was 33 A.D. that written language really began among the clans of Manipur specially among the Luwangs, Angoms, Khumals and the Moirangs"
Dr. M. Kiriti singh,Religious development in Manipur in 28th and 19th century, page-25.

· " In the collection of coins there are a few pieces of the 2nd century A.D. of the Christian era, its legend is in the Devanagari scripts"
W. Yamjao sing, An Early History Of Manipur, Page-127.

· " Hinduism is of comparatively recent origin though the records of the Brahmin families claim in some cases that founder of family settled in the valley at so remote a date as the middle of 15th century"
T.C. Hudson, The Meitheis, 1903,page 69.

· "The people (Manipuris) are known to the Burmese as Ponnas that is Brahmanas."
Sir G. A. greorson
Lingustic Survey of India, Part III, vol III

· "The Chinese record of the 2nd century A.D. - as stated by Pelliot mentions the existance of great -Brahmins in Manipurt and small Brahmins in Hukong vally"
R.M. Nath, The Background of Assamese Culture
Page 86, 2nd edn, 1978.

The land Manipur was formerly divided into small territories occupied by different clans of peoples, namely, the Khumals, the Moirangs, The Angoms, The Luwangs, the Ningthoujas, etc. The territories were after the names of the respective clans and they lived side by side in Manipur for centuries. In course of time the Meiteis occupied all the territories towards 15th century AD and established a sovereign kingdom known as ‘ Meitei –Leipak’ ( the land of Meiteis). G. E.Geraini, in his work, Researches on Ptolemy's Geography, States that " Bishnupur was the ancient capital of Manipur and Imphal locally known as kangla or kangleipak was the capital of the Meitei Leipak of the later period which finds mentioned in the Meitei purana, i.e. Bijoy panchalee." So, Imphal come into existence in much later period than that of the city of Bishnupur as stated by Prof. Padmanath Battacharjee. (36)

If we talk of the history in respect of the Aryan population, their migration, settlements and cultural penetration and the development of political institutions in Manipur Valley, there are a little source of information's about this. Ancient temples like the Vishnu temple of Bishnupur, Govindajiew temple in imphal, the Kohima stone, old palaces and other related buildings etc. supply us little more historical information's.
(37) Furthermore, the establishment of an indo-Aryanstate in the remote period in Manipur in indicated by Geraini, " From the Brahmaputra and Manipur to the tonkin gulf, we can trace a continuous string of petty states ruled by those scions of the ksatriyo race, using the sanskrit or pali language in official documents and inscriptions, buildings, temples and monuments of old Hindu style and employing Brahmin priests at the propitiatory ceremonies connected with the court, and the state".

If we talk of the history migration, settlements and cultural penetration and the development of political institutions in Manipur Valley, there are a little source of information's. Ancient temples like the Vishnu temple of Bishnupur, Govindajiew temple in imphal, the Kohima stone, old palaces and other related buildings etc. supply us little more historical information's

Moreover, the geographical location of the Manipur Valley gives it a partial isolation from the mainland for a long period in the past. It was only after the advent of the Aryans in the valley ages ago, it adopted open door policy to all and soon it became a part and percale in the Indian panorama.

Whether The Present Manipur is that of the Epic

A brief resume of the views and reasons of the above scholars proves the following things -

(1) Manipur as a part of India was of immemorial antiquity, The extent of the country is different but the country remains the same .

(2) The Route by which Arjuna came to Manipur must be the course of the Surma or Barak river . This was the only hill-route connecting Manipur Valley with Surma Valley till the opening of the motorable Imphal- Dimapur road in the 20th century. We read of the Brahmans and other immigrants coming in large number for settlement in Manipur in historical times.

(3) If Arjuna returened from Manipur to Hastina and halted at Rajagriha we may infer that Patna and Manipur are on the same latitude.

(4) There is a living popuar tradition in present Manipur that it represents the old kingdom mentioned in the Mahabharata as the birth place of Chitrangada and Vabruvahana . No such tradition exist in any part of Orissa and no memory of a locality named Manalur In some manuscripts of the Mahabharata as well as in the Adi Parva the name is written as Manular instead of Manipur) has survived .(41)

(5) The antiquity of Manipur is proved not only by the variant reading in the Mahabharata Manuseripts but also by unambiguous references in the Puranas , Thus Bhavishya-Purana (Brahmakhanda) mentions it along with Lauhitya, Traipura(Tripura) and Jayanta
(Jaintia Hills) .”

People and Culture

The people are simple and happy. They speak sweet words. The place is the land of diverse origins, but of a unique culture. Here different ethnic groups of people are living together for centuries with peace and harmony. Majority people of the State are the Meiteis. Other people of present Manipur include Bishnupriya Manipuris, Naga, Meitei Pangal and other colourful communities which have lived together in complete harmony for centuries. These are the people whose folklore, myths & legends, dances, indigenous games and martial arts, exotic handlooms & handicrafts are infested with the mystique of nature. The Hill tribes of Manipur although divided into a number of clans and sections, maybe grouped under the two divisions -Naga's and Kuki's.Manipur is a mosaic of traditions and cultural patterns, best represented by its dance forms. The Lai-Haraoba, a traditional stylized dance is ritual dance for appeasing gods and goddesses.

It is said that when Krishna, Radha and the Gopies danced the Ras Leela, Shiva made sure that no one disturbed the beauty of the dancing. Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva also wished to see this dance, so to please her, he chose the beautiful area of Manipur and re-enacted the Ras Leela. Maharaja Bhagyo Chandra Singha - King of Manipur introduced the "Manipuri Maha Rasaleela " in the Manipur valley during his reign.

The Lai-Haraoba festival is generally celebrated between April and May, after the harvest season, The Ras songs and dances express the Leelas (sports) of Lord Krishna as a child with the Gopis milkmaids) of Brindavan, and depict their yearning for communion with the Lord. The tribal dances of Manipur are the expression of love, creativity and aestheticism of the tribal people of the State. Manipuris were earlier recognized as skilful warriors and still practice the arts of wrestling, sword fighting and martial arts. Sogol Kangiei (Mainipuri Polo) is the principal sport of the State, for polo is believed to have originated here. Mukna Kangiei (Wrestling Hockey) is also a very popular game in Manipur. The game is part of a ceremonial function and enjoyed due patronage in the olden days. Another popular game known as Yubi-Lakpi (Manipur Rugby) is played, using a greased coconut.

The Shiroy Lily

It is grown at the peak of the Shiroy Kashang Mountain at a height of 8400 feet above sea level situated in Ikhrul district of Manipur. The Shiroy Lily belongs to Lilium family, but unique in character. By using a microscopic lens, seven colours which claimed its superiority to other lilies in the world can be seen light pink in color. The height of the plant varies from 2 ft. to 31/2ft. depending on the soils fertility Shiroy Lily is not grown anywhere in the world accept Shiroy Kanhong of Manipur. It is said that Priincess Chitrangoda of Manipur had own the heart of Arjuna in her first meeting by offering a Shiroy Lily. Arjuna was so impressed with the beauty and fragrance of the flower that he at once lost himself on her.

This Shiroy Lily starts blooming during the months of May-June every year on the laden mineral mountain of the Shiroy. It was discovered first by a British naturalists Mr. Kingdom ward, who gave it the Botanical name Lilium Mackleanae and won him the show in London in the 1948.(43)

Administrative Units

Manipur was an independent princely State earlier. In 1891, it become a British protectorate. The State later on merged with the union of India on October 15, 1949. It was than categorized a ‘C’ group state on January 26, 1960 and finally on January 21, 1972. She got her full Statehood within constitutional limits of India.
Presently, it is divided into eight administrative units, i.e. districts. These are again distributed as Valley Districts consisting of Bishnupur or Bishenpur, Imphal and Thoubal and Hils Districts includes Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong, Churachandpur and Candel. Besides, there are nine other important towns and about 2089 villages in the state. It has six Autonomous District Councils. They are Tengnoura Autonomous District Council. Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council, Manipur North Autonomous District Council, Manipur South Autonomous District Council, Manipur East Autonomous District Council and Manipur West Autonomous District Councils. All these administrative units are well and properly connected with the State Administration. Imphal the capital city of the State of Manipur is the largest and an important city having over one and a half lakh population. The population of Bishnpur and Moirang are 1,79,903 ( Males: 90415 and Females : 89,488) as in 1993 census.

The State Symbol

The State symbol or emblem of Manipur is Kanglasha ( Nongsaba), i.e. half lion and half

State symbol or emblem of Manipur is Kanglasha ( Nongsaba), i.e. half lion and half dragon

dragon. Sangai or brown antlered deer is the State animal, while Nongin remained as the State bird. Iningthiu is regarded as the State tree and the world famous Shiroy Lily ( Lilium) is the State flower of Manipur. Friday, January 21 (1972) is the Statehood day and Date of Manipur. (45)

Manipur Profile



North East of India






22,347 Sq.Km.



2,388,634 (as per 2001 census)

The People


Meiteis, Bishnupriyas, Manipuri Brahmins, Meitei pangons,Aimols,Kacha Nagas, Koiraos, Vaipheis,Koirengs,Koms,Marams and Some other hill tribes.

Languages Spoken


Meitei, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Hindi, English, Mizo, and local dialects.

State Emblem


Kangla Shaa

Major Religions


Hinduism, Sanamahism, Christianity, Islam.

Literacy rate


68.87 % (2001)

Density of Population


82 ( per sqr km )

Major Rivers


Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Sekmai, Chakpi, Thoubal and Khuga.

Urbanization rate



State Domestic Product


Rs. 7610 Mln. (1991-92)

Per capita State Income


Rs. 4,180 (1991-92)



Imphal, the beautiful capital city in the valley; Mao and Ukhrul, the picturesque hill resorts; Taminglong, with its exotic landscape; Chandel, home to amazing tribes; Khonggom and Moirang, reminders of the British Raj in India.

Entry Formalities


Inner line permit is required by Domestic Tourists and Restricted Area Permit is required by Foreign Tourists

Tourist Information Centres

At Delhi


Manipur Information Centre,
Baba Kharak Singh Marg,
New Delhi
Tel. : 011-3746359
Fax : 011-3746361


Manipur Bhavan,
2, Sardar Patel Marg,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
Tel : 011-6873311/6113150, 6873009
Fax : 011-6111803

At Kolkata


Government of India Tourist Office
Embassy, 4, Shakespeare Sarani,
Tel : 2421475, 2423521


Manipur Bhavan,
26, Rowland Road,
Tel : 747087, 747975

At Guwahati


Manipur Bhavan,
Rajgarh Road, Guwahati
Tel : 540707

At Imphal


Tourist Information Centre,
Directorate of Tourism, Imphal
Tel : 224603, 220802


Government of India Tourist Office,
Jail Road, Imphal
Tel : 221131

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