The abode of breath taking blue hills and floating islands, the Jeweled Land of Manipur is a treat for those who travel with a purpose. This beautiful land imbibes in itself nature and culture in the perfect balance and that makes it worth a trip!
One of the foremost places to visit whilst in Manipur is the temple town of Bishnupur. Bishnupur, literally translates to the abode of Vishnu. A part of a kingdom once, Bishnupur is a picturesque town about 27 kms from the state capital, Imphal. In ancient times, the only road which connected Manipur to the world was ‘Tube Hole’ (Tongjei Maril) which passes through Bhishnupur. With a rich historical background amalgamated with picture perfect scenery around, here are a few must visit places in and around Bishnupur.
1. Vishnu Temple
The temple which gave the town its name, the Vishnu temple of Bishnupur makes it the first pit stop. The charm lies not just in the 15th century structure but the history surrounding it which associates the Vishnu idol as a token of victory presented by one Ruler to the other. This idol was placed in the town of Lumlangdong, the present day Bishnupur. A simple brick structure with a dome, Vishnu Temple stands as a piece from the past.
2. Keibul Lamjao National Park
For the lovers of varied flora and fauna, the next stop should be the Keibul Lamjao National Park. It’s amazing to be in the only Floating Sanctuary of its kind in India. Another quality that sets it apart is the fact that this National Park is the one and only home of the rare Brow-Antlered Thamin deer, an endangered species of deer, also called Sangai or the ‘dancing deer’. This park is located on the scenic Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. Keibul Lamjao National Park is a habitat to many more exquisite animals and is a birdwatcher’s paradise!
3. Ibudhao Thangjing Temple
Another highlight of Manipur Tourism would be the abode of lord Ibudhao Thangjing, a traditional deity of the Meeties. This temple is a must visit location in Moiran, a prominent city of Bishnupur district.
The best time to visit would be in the month of May when the temple is adorned with the lights and lanterns for the festival of Lai Haroba or the ‘merry making of Gods’.
Dancing, singing and feasting mark the festivities that go on for about a month. One can witness and participate in the traditional dance form of Khamba Thoibi and get into the festive spirit of the place!
A recent hub, Phubala is an upcoming spot for excitement. Located about 13 kms from Bishnupur, Phubala is a place for water sports and camping! Because it’s still coming up, the rides are comparatively reasonable for those who are on a budget. Also, the thought of riding beside ‘floating islands’ should be motivation enough! Also, Phubala is a link to other less explored and wonderful spots like Thoubal, Chandel and Silchar.
5. Loktak Lake and Sendra Island
The most amazing Manipur attraction has to be the Loktak Lake with its floating islands or Phumdis!
The largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, Loktak is a natural wonder with an abundant bio diversity. There are several ‘phumdis’ floating over the entire stretch of the lake giving it an amazing perspective. It’s a marvelous sight!
From the Tourist Bungalow atop Sendra Island, one can get a bird’s eye view of the lake, with its ever changing ringlets of phumdis and myriad hues of the blue waters of the lake. Also, the fisherfolk settlements can be seen, perched upon the floating islands which provide quite the photo opportunity!
Make some time around October to visit for a full-fledged natural experience. And in case you would like a cultural retreat, February to May would be appropriate.
To all the Traveler-At-Hearts out there, Bishnupur one’s not to be missed!
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