Nestled in the northeastern frontier of the Himalayas at an elevation of 2,579 feet is Imphal. The beautiful capital city of Manipur and a must-visit place in northeast India. Its mesmerizing scenery comprising of hills, forests, valleys, and rivers, offer a range of activities. While Iril, Sekmai, Thoubal, and Khuga dominate the tourist attraction there are still plenty of things to do in Imphal. Imphal is a rejuvenating retreat far away from the mad complexities and deafening cacophony of the urban settlement and is so engrossing.
Imphal historical monuments, cultural diversity, festivals, and buzzing streets are every explorer’s delight. Make it a point to savor the best of exotic culinary in Imphal to add zing to the complete travel experiences.
The 10 best things to do in Imphal for every traveler
Below is the list of places that you can’t afford to miss while you are out exploring the best of Imphal
1. An excursion to the Palace of Kangla
The Kingdom of Manipur in the bygone days had its royal seat in the Palace of Kangla. The remains of Kangla provide not only insight into the history of the city but is also a visual delight as it is surrounded by an artificial lake. There are historical and religious places inside the Kangla Fort that make for a major point of attraction for the tourists.
Attractions of Palace of Kangla: Govindaji Temple, Hijagang temple, Kangla Museum building, and Manung Kangjeibung
Timings: 7 am to 5 pm
Entry fee: INR 2
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2. Cheer up your favorite team at Imphal Polo Ground
Imphal Polo Ground has as old a history as that of Manipur. Polo game originated from the local Manipur game of Sagol Kangei. This polo ground is rectangular and is present in the center of the Imphal city. This imposing game has always been an essential part of the Manipur ethos. British loved it so much that they took it to the global level.
3. Indulge in great biodiversity at Manipur Zoological Gardens
Located 8 km from Imphal city center, Manipur Zoological Gardens in Lamphelpat is home to around four hundred familiar as well as rare species of animals and birds. When you are around you can indulge in some of the fulfilling activities such as safari ride, bird watching, and wildlife photography. Zoological Gardens is truly a soothing place to be amidst nature’s divine comfort.
Summers – 10 am to 4:30 pm; Winters – 10 am to 4 pm (Monday closed)
4. Plan a visit to the largest freshwater lake in the northeast – Loktak Lake
Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater body in the entire North-East region of India. It has many small and big islands floating on its surface. Visiting it is a sheer delight and a lifetime experience for travelers.
5. Go on a safari ride at Keibul Lamjao National Park
Keibul Lamjao National Park is in the Bishnupur District and can easily be reached from Imphal. The national park is known for its floating decomposed plant materials locally called phumdis. It is also the habitat of endangered Manipur Eld deer or Sangai. You can spot as many as 55 species of birds and 420 species of animals here.
The environment is constantly bustling with the chirping of birds and the sounds of animals. The extremely verdant and colorful flora of this park will fill you with ecstatic delight.
6. Watch a Manipuri Dance recital
Manipuri Dance is well known throughout the world. While in Imphal feast your eyes on Manipuri Dance in the land of its origin. One delightful form of folk dance from Manipur is Thabal Chongba. If you are visiting Imphal during the month of Holi festival, you can get a chance to enjoy this dance during nights.
This dance is performed by boys and girls dancing in a circle around a bonfire. Another classic and gorgeous dance form from Manipur is the Raas Leela. This is often performed in the auditoriums. This dance depicts the cultural tale of Lord Krishna and Radha and their everlasting love.
7. Celebrate the colorful festivals of Imphal
There are some of the local Manipuri festivals that travelers must try to be a part of. The most popular festivals celebrated amidst the riot of colors in Imphal are – Leela Festival, Lai Haraoba, the Ratha Jathra, Ningol Chakouba Festival, and Cheiraoba Festival. May month marks the celebration of Lai Haraoba – a major festival in the region while June and July witness the massive Ratha Jatra. During the festivities, the entire atmosphere gets submerged in merriment and ecstasy.
This Hindu festival of Manipur is celebrated by taking the chariot of Lord Jagannath, known as Kang in Manipur, from his temple in a procession. The chariot is pulled by the devotees of the deity and the festival lasts for 10 days.
Suggested Read: 7 Hotels In Imphal That Are Truly Homes Away From Home
8. Buy Local Handicraft by Shopping in Imphal
Imphal is no longer a sleepy little town tucked away in the faraway land. It is buzzing with local markets and shopping malls. You can buy gifts for your loved ones in a variety of places like Thangal Bazaar, Paona Bazaar, Imphal Supermarket, and Kakwa Bazaar.
9. Relish the Scrumptious Cuisines of Imphal
Imphal offers culinary delights to travelers. A wide range of cuisines is available in Imphal. The restaurants here serve food heavily influenced by Tibetan cuisine. Hence, momos are a must-try in Imphal.
Some of the popular cuisines of Imphal are: Chamthong or Kangshoi – vegetable stew, Eromba – a combo of rice and fish, Morok Metpa – a spicy chutney, and Paaknam – fish cake
10. Enjoy the grand views of Imphal Valley
Imphal Valley is a magnificent display of nature, so calm, and so infinite in appearance. It appears oval and canyon-shaped which happens to be the result of drainage of plenty of small rivers originating from nearby hills. The water in the valley comes from several rivers, such as River Imphal, Iril, Thoubal, Khuga, and Sekmai. On an average, it takes around 2.5 – 3 hours to visit the Imphal Valley.
Popular attractions of Imphal Valley: Nature viewing, hiking, photography
Imphal presents a unique amalgamation of culture, history, and nature. Very few destinations in India offer so many soothing pleasures and deep relaxation as Imphal does. Plan a trip now and find it for yourself!
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