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Sunday, April 21, 2013

MYSTERIOUS 2000 YEARS OLD CAVES AND WORLD'S ONLY FLOATING ISLANDS LAKE , MANIPUR, N.E. INDIA

City of Imphal
Imphal
I left Nagaland still intoxicated by my memories, for the state of Manipur, my destination being Imphal, the capital town.
The JetKonnect flight took about 1hour 15 minutes from Dimapur Airport, Nagaland to Imphal, Manipur.
The basic objective of my visit to picturesque Manipur was to scout for locations for my film and for that I had decided to travel to select exotic and mystic places in Manipur. My friend Tommy Singh who arrived from Kolkata was already at Imphal airport to receive me. Long back, Tommy was posted at Imphal as an army officer and knew Manipur very well. We were booked at The Classic Hotel (http://www.theclassichotel.in/), one of the finest places to stay in Imphal
While waiting for a check-in, I read a brochure on Manipur and my eyes almost popped out!
'Manipur, popularly referred to as the 'Switzerland of India', is nestled in the slopes of the south flowing Sub-Himalayan ranges in the north east of India. This beautiful land is bounded by Nagaland in the north, Mizoram in the south and Cachar district of Assam in the west, and shares an international border with Upper Myanmar in the east. Manipur, literally meaning 'the jeweled land or the land of jewels' 
Next Day, we started early to explore the city of Imphal. To enjoy the local flavor, we hired an auto rickshaw for the day. As I looked around, I felt that the town had an ethereal charm. Smiling people, beautiful girls and a serenity on the street. It was a quaint little beautiful city
Our first destination was:

 Kangla Fort

This beautiful fort was situated right near the bank of the Imphal River and at the heart of Imphal city. As we strolled inside, I could visualize an astounding fortress city. The brick walls were constructed in 1632 A.D., after acquiring the skills from Chinese prisoners captured during war. The fort was surrounded by a moat.
After visiting the fort, I requested Tommy Singh, my friend to explore other places in the town next day and instead, to go to a mysterious place I had read about...
Thalon Caves
Thalon Caves

 Thalon Caves

Enterance Thalon Caves
Enterance Thalon Caves
It was a beautiful journey of about 80 kms by a car. Wow! We could see picturesque landscapes with misty hills, shimmering lakes, verdant valleys, gurgling rivers, and luxuriant forests. However, I had an uneasy feeling throughout journey. What kind of caves? What secrets are there? I asked Tommy about caves and he said, “Well Kiran, there are stories about people disappearing and that there lived a Demon”. I just looked away.
These caves were located in Tamenglong district in the North Eastern State of Manipur. The caves were one among various historic sites of Manipur. The caves also provide the first concrete evidence of Hoabinhian culture (2000 years old) in India which is also found in other South East Asian countries. Thalon caves are located about 910 mtrs above sea level. The darkness and the frightening experience feels like you are entering into the unknown world.
Then we were at the entrance of the caves. The guide took us inside with lights.  My goodness! What a kind of ancient caves? I was... feeling truly strange in those mysterious surroundings. It was weird... just unusual, my heart suddenly started pounding! The darkness and the frightening experience made me feel like entering into the unknown world!
Before the darkness engulfs the outside world, we returned to Imphal.
In the night, we had a quiet dinner and retired for the night. I had been tossing in my bed without a sleep for a long time...still in those mysterious caves.
Neat day we headed for one of the wonders of Asia:
Loktak Lake
Loktak Lake

Floating Islands of Loktak

48 kms. away from Imphal was Loktak Lake and Sendra Island. This was a saucer shaped fresh water lake that attracts many species of birds. Part of it formed a rare ecosystem. That huge and beautiful stretch of water was like a miniature inland sea. From the Tourist Home, set atop Sendra Island, we got a bird's eye view of the lake and the life on it,  the fishermen and their families who live in neat huts on its shores. I was told, they cast their nets on the lake, rear fish farms in it using nets as floating walls.
The islands of Loktak were unique: they 'float'. The islands comprised of marsh and grass with a root of solid earth. Situated on the fringes of the Loktak lake was the Keibul Lamjao National Park. Habitat of the endangered dancing deer, the brow antlered deer of Manipur, it was the only floating National Park in the world. 
 Sendra Tourist Home
 Sendra Tourist Home
We lunched at what more captivating was the restaurant “The Sendra Tourist Home” on the island with an attached Cafeteria in the middle of the lake. This had been built over the floating park (locally called Phumbi) in that lake. To the south it provided habitation to one and only Brow Antlered deer (one horned) and this place had been announced as a national park to protect this rare endangered species.
Fauna Found in Loktak Lake : 116 species of birds, 425 species of animals, 249 vertebrates and 176 invertebrates have been noted in the Loktak Lake
PLEASE CHECK THE CURRENT STATUS OF INNER LINE PERMIT FOR ENTRY INTO MANIPUR
You may contact tour operators in Delhi or Imphal or the following tourism centers:

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

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

At Kolkata
1.Government of India Tourist Office
Embassy, 4, Shakespeare Sarani,
Kolkata
Tel : 2421475, 2423521

2.Manipur Bhavan,
26, Rowland Road,
Kolkata
Tel : 747087, 747975


8 comments :

  1. Very Nice Places and rare pictures...........


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  3. Thanks Imperialvoyages.
    It's nice of you to like my post

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  5. Thanks Nithi Bha for liking this post.

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  6. Very beautiful lake. Thanks for sharing. Occupying a saucer-shaped valley, Manipur’s capital Imphal is surrounded by hills on which the state flower, the siroi lily, grows. It is your hub for exploring this state, which has forested stretches, the largest freshwater lake in the North-East and the rare brow antlered deer, the sangai. Check out all best hotels in Imphal also.

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