The green state of Manipur, and Imphal its capital has all the fine, merged, tints of a watercolour. Faiths and traditions and lifestyles seem to flow into each other with a soft-edged grace so that it is impossible to know where one ends and the other begins. The Manipur valley is watered by rivers threading out of the dark, mist-topped, ranges. Bright green fields stretch all the way to the distant mountains. Like the Nair women of Kerala, the women of Manipur are trained in the fierce local Martial art known as Thang-ta. Both the men and women are dressed in black and they wield their swords like slicing, flashing, propellers, and when their swords clash, sparks fly. In marked contrast, is the delicate, marionette-like, Manipuri dance. The dances suggest the relationship between the dancers and their Divine Master, Lord Krishna. The principal deity here is carved out of a jackfruit tree in response to a dream which Rajarshi Bhagyachandra had in the 18th century. Older forms of worship, however, continue to exist in the veneration of forest deities known as Umang Lais. Imphal gives a fascinating insight into an archetypal Indian trend.
Imphal, the capital of the easternmost state of Manipur, is the centre of all cultural, commercial and political activities. Manipur, popularly known as the “land of jewels” splits up naturally into two parts – the hills and the plains. The inhabitants of these two divisions have their own distinctive dialects, customs and tribal costumes. Shri Govindjee Temple is a historic centre for Vaishnavites. the Manipur State Museum has a fairly good display of Manipur’s tribal heritage and a collection of portraits of Manipur’s former rulers. Though small in area, Manipur is rich in its culture, traditions, festivals, dances, handlooms and handicrafts.
Shri Govindjee Temple, Khwairamband Bazaar, Manipur State Museum, The Old Palace, War Cemeteries, Manipur Zoological Garden, Khonghampat Orchidarium, Saheed Minar, Langthaband.