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State of India


Location of Manipur (marked in red) in India

Map of Manipur high
Coordinates (imphal): 24°49′01″N 93°57′00″E / 24.817°N 93.95°E / 24.817; 93.95Coordinates: 24°49′01″N 93°57′00″E / 24.817°N 93.95°E / 24.817; 93.95
Country  India
Established 21 Jan. 1972
Capital Imphal
Largest city Imphal
Districts 9
 • Governor V. Shanmuganathan[1]
 • Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh (INC)
 • Legislature Unicameral (60 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency Rajya Sabha 1
Lok Sabha 2
 • High Court Manipur High Court
 • Total 22,327 km2 (8,621 sq mi)
Area rank 23rd
Population (2011[2])
 • Total 2,570,390
 • Rank 22nd
 • Density 120/km2 (300/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-MN
HDI 0.707 (medium) I
HDI rank 5th (2005)
Literacy 79.21% (2011 Census)[2]
Official language Meeteilon
It elevated from the status of Union-Territories by the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act 1971

Manipur (English pronunciation: /ˌmənɪpʊr/) is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur, is sometimes referred to, by alternative names such as Kangleipak or Sanaleibak.[3] It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Burma lies to its east. The state covers an area of 22,327 square kilometres (8,621 sq mi). Its people include the Meetei, Kuki, Naga, and Pangal peoples, who speak different types of Sino-Tibetan languages.

Manipur has been at the crossroads of Asian economic and cultural exchange for more than 2,500 years.[4][page needed] It has long connected the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia, enabling migration of people, cultures and religions.[5][page needed] It has also witnessed many wars, including fighting during World War II.

During the British Raj, the Kingdom of Manipur was one of the princely states.[6][page needed] Between 1917 and 1939, the people of Manipur pressed for their rights against the British Rule. By the late 1930s, the princely state of Manipur negotiated with the British administration its preference to be part of India, rather than Burma.[7][page needed] These negotiations were cut short with the outbreak of World War II. On 21 September 1949, Maharaja Budhachandra signed a Treaty of Accession merging the kingdom into India. This merger is disputed by various groups in Manipur as having been completed without consensus and under duress.

The dispute and differing visions for the future has resulted in a 50-year insurgency in the state for independence from India, as well as in violence between different ethnic groups within the state.[8] Over 2010–2013, the militant insurgency was responsible for the violent death of about 1 civilian per 100,000 people, each year.[9] The world's average annual death rate from intentional violence has been 7.9 per 100,000 people.[10]

The Meetei ethnic group,[11] constitute a plurality of the population, with 27% of the total. The language of the Meetei people, Meitei (or Manipuri), is the lingua franca in Manipur. By comparison, indigenous tribal peoples constitute 30% of the state population; they are distinguished by dialects and culture that are often village-based. Manipur's various ethnic groups practice a variety of religions, including Christianity.[12]

Manipur has primarily an agrarian economy, with significant hydroelectric power generation potential. It is connected to other areas by daily flights through Imphal airport, the second largest airport in northeastern India.[13]

Manipur is credited with introducing Polo to Europeans.


Manipur has been known throughout the ages as Kangleipak or Meeteileipak[14][page needed] as well as by other names.[15][page needed] Sanamahi Laikan wrote that officials during the reign of Meidingu Pamheiba in the eighteenth century adopted Manipur's new name.

According to Sakok Lamlen, the area had different names during various eras. During the Hayachak period, it was known as Mayai Koiren poirei namthak saronpung or Tilli Koktong Ahanba; in the Khunungchak period it was Meera Pongthoklam. During the Langbachak era, it became Tilli Koktong Leikoiren, and finally Muwapali in the Konnachak epoch.[16][page needed]

Neighbouring cultures also each had differing names for Manipur and its people. The Shan or Pong called the area Cassay, the Burmese Kathe, and the Assamese Meklee. In the first treaty between the British East India Company and Meidingu Chingthangkhomba (Bhagyachandra) signed in 1762, the kingdom was recorded as Meckley. Bhagyachandra and his successors issued coins engraved with "Manipureshwar," or "lord of Manipur," and the British discarded the name Meckley. Later on, the work Dharani Samhita (1825–34) popularised the Sanskrit legends of the origin of Manipur's name.[17]

The term Kanglei, meaning "of Manipur/Kangleipak," is used to refer to items associated with the state where the term Manipuri is a recent given name.

Examples using the term "Kanglei" Translation
Kanglei of Kangleipak/Manipur
Kangleicha People of Kangleipak/Manipur
Kanglei foods Foods of Kangleipak/Manipur
Kanglei style Style of Kangleipak/Manipur


The Kangla Sha, the state emblem
Kangla Gate, the west entrance to the Kangla Fort

The Kingdom of Manipur was one of the many hundreds of kingdoms in south and southeast Asia.[citation needed] Ancient Manipur dates to 50 BC.[citation needed] Manipur then included present-day Nagaland, and some parts of Assam and Mizoram. There is no recorded data about the early history of Manipur. Legendary chronicles claim that "Ningthou Kangba", the first King of Manipur, ruled from Kangla at Imphal in 33 AD. He is also known as Meidingu Nongdaa Lairen Paakhangba.[citation needed]

Manipur came under British rule in the eighteenth century as a princely state (Kangleipak). Europeans first observed local people playing polo here and were taken by the game.

Captain Robert Stewart and Lieutenant Joseph Sherer[18] of the British colonial era first watched locals play a rules-based pulu or sagolkangjei (literally, horse and stick) game in 1859. They adopted its rules, calling the game polo, and playing it on their own horses. The game spread among the British in Calcutta, and then to England.[19][20]

During World War II, Manipur was the scene of many fierce battles between the Japanese invaders and the British Indian forces. The Japanese were beaten back before they could enter Imphal, which was one of the turning points of the war.

After the war, the Manipur Constitution Act of 1947 established a democratic form of government, with the Maharaja as the Executive Head. In 1949, Maharaja Bodhchandra was summoned to Shillong where he signed the instrument of accession to merge the kingdom into India. Thereafter the legislative assembly was dissolved, and Manipur became part of the Republic of India in October 1949.[21] It was made a Union Territory in 1956[22] and a fully-fledged State in 1972.[23]

A separatist movement has been active in Manipur since 1964, when United National Liberation Front was founded, Several groups have used violence toward achieving their goal of a sovereign Manipur. In addition, tribal peoples have demanded division of the present state into two or three Indian states along ethnic lines. This is considered one of India's "sensitive areas," due to its political troubles and isolated geographical location, and foreign travelers must gain special permission from the government to enter the state.[24]

Manipur has had a long record of insurgency and inter-ethnic violence.[25][26] The first armed opposition group in Manipur, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), was founded in 1964, which declared that it wanted to gain independence from India and form Manipur as a new country. Over time, many more groups formed in Manipur, each with different goals, and deriving support from diverse ethnic groups in Manipur. For example, in 1977 the People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) was formed, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was formed in 1978 which Human Rights Watch states as having received arms and training from China. In 1980, the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) was formed. These groups began a spree of bank robberies and attacks on police officers and government buildings. The state government appealed to the central government in New Delhi for support in combating this violence.[8] In 1980, the central government brought the entire state of Manipur under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) because its state government claimed that the use of the Armed Forces in aid of the state and local police is necessary to prevent violent deaths and to maintain law and order.

Since 1980, the application of AFSPA has been at the heart of concerns about human rights violations in the region, such as arbitrary killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances. Its continued application has led to numerous protests, notably the longstanding hunger strike by Irom Sharmila Chanu.

Geography and climate

Loktak Lake, the largest lake in the state.

Manipur is one of the seven states of Northeast India. The state is bound by the states of Nagaland in the north, Mizoram in the south, Assam in the west, and by the country Burma in the east as well as in the south. The state capital of Manipur is Imphal.

The state lies at a latitude of 23°83’N – 25°68’N and a longitude of 93°03’E – 94°78’E. The total area covered by the state is 22,347 km². The capital lies in an oval-shaped valley of approximately 700 square miles (2,000 km2) surrounded by blue mountains, and is at an elevation of 790 metres above the sea level.[27] The slope of the valley is from north to south. The mountain ranges create a moderated climate, preventing the cold winds from the north from reaching the valley and barring cyclonic storms originating from the Bay of Bengal.

A tree amidst Manipur hills.

The state has four major river basins: the Barak River Basin (Barak Valley) to the west, the Manipur River Basin in central Manipur, the Yu River Basin in the east, and a portion of the Lanye River Basin in the north.[28] The total water resources of Barak and Manipur river basins are about 1.8487 Mham. The overall water balance of the state amounts to 0.7236 Mham in the annual water budget.[29] (By way of comparison, India receives 400 Mham (million hectare meters) of rain annually.[30]) The Barak River, the largest of Manipur, originates in the Manipur Hills and is joined by a number of tributaries, such as the Irang, Maku, and Tuivai. After its junction with the Tuivai, the Barak River turns north and forms the border with Assam State, and then enters the Cachar Assam just above Lakhipur. The Manipur river basin has eight major rivers: the Manipur, 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 their sediment load in the Loktak lake.[27] The rivers draining the Manipur Hills are comparatively young, due to the hilly terrain through which they flow. These rivers are corrosive in nature and assume turbulent form in the rainy season. Important rivers draining the western area include the Maku, Barak, Jiri, Irang and Leimatak. Rivers draining the eastern part of the state, the Yu River Basin, include the Chamu, Khunou and other short streams.

Manipur may be characterised as two distinct physical regions: an outlying area of rugged hills and narrow valleys, and the inner area of flat plain, 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 flora and fauna. 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 feature of the central plain. The total area occupied by all the lakes is about 600 km². The altitude ranges from 40 m at Jiribam to 2,994 m at Mt. Iso Peak near Mao Songsong.

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 valley soils generally contain loam, small rock fragments, sand and sandy clay, and are quite varied. On the plains, especially flood plains and deltas, the soil is quite thick. The top soil on the steep slopes is very thin. Soil on the steep hill slopes is subject to high erosion, resulting in gullies and barren rock slopes. The normal pH value ranges from 5.4 to 6.8.[31]


Flowers lining up the Foothills

The natural vegetation occupies an area of about 14,365 km² which is nearly 64% of the total geographical area of the state. The vegetation consists of a large variety of plants ranging from short and tall grasses, reeds and bamboos to trees of various species. Broadly, there are four types of forests — Tropical Semi-evergreen, Dry Temperate Forest, Sub-Tropical Pine and Tropical Moist Deciduous.

Teak, pine, oak, uningthou, leihao, bamboo, cane, etc. are important forest resources growing in plenty. In addition, rubber, tea, coffee, orange, and cardamom are grown in hill areas. Rice is a staple food for Manipuris. Rice and cash crops make up the main vegetation cover in the valley.


The Dzuko Valley lying on the border of Manipur and Nagaland has a temperate climate

The climate of Manipur is largely influenced by the topography of this hilly region. Lying 790 meters above sea level, Manipur is wedged among hills on all sides. This northeastern corner of India enjoys a generally amiable climate, though the winters can be a little chilly. The maximum temperature in the summer months is 32 degrees C. In winter the temperature often falls below zero, bringing frost. Snow sometimes falls in some hilly regions due to the Western Disturbance. The coldest month is January, and the warmest July. The ideal time for tourism in the state, in terms of climate, is from October to February, when the weather remains bright and sunny without the sun being too hot.

The state is drenched in rains from May until mid-October. It receives an average annual rainfall of 1467.5 mm. However, the rain distribution varies from 933 mm in Imphal to 2593 mm in Tamenglong. The precipitation ranges from light drizzle to heavy downpour. 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 toward Manipur, hits the eastern Himalaya ranges and produces a massive amount of rain in the state. The climate of the State is salubrious with approximate average annual rainfall varying from 933 mm at Imphal to 2593 mm at Tamenglong. The temperature ranges from sub-zero to 36 °C.


Manipur has a population of 2,721,756. Of this total, 58.9% live in the valley and the remaining 41.1% in the hilly regions. The hills are inhabited mainly by the Naga , Zomi and Kuki, and smaller tribal communities and the valley mainly by the Meitei, Bamons (Manipuri Brahmin) and Pangal (Manipuri Muslim). Some Bishnupriya Manipuri, Naga and Kuki settlements are also found in the valley region. Racially, Manipuri people are unique; they have features similar to Southeast Asian.[33]

The Nagas are the second largest people in terms of population next to the Meitei people. Few of them living in the plain area but most of them living in the hill area from generation to generation.

The distribution of area, population and density, literacy rate, etc. as per the 2001 Census provisional figures are as below:

Demographics of Manipur (2001)
Total Population 2,388,634
Male Population 1,207,338
Female Population 1,181,296
Rural Population 1,818,224
Urban Population 570,410
Child Sex Ratio 978 female to 1000 male
Density (per km²) 107
Literacy 1,429,656 (68.87%)
Towns 33


The Meitei,[11] constitute a plurality, 47% of the state's ethnic groups. According to 1891 census Meitei were recorded as a forest tribe. In 1901 Meitei were listed as main tribe of Manipur.[34]They live primarily in the state's valley region.[citation needed]

Besidea the Meitei people, the Kukis have the second highest percentage of the population. The third is the Nagas who are further sub-divided into sub-tribes: Tangkhul, Maram, Poumai Naga, Sumi, Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Liangmai, Lotha, Pochury, Rongmei, Zeme, and Mao.[35]


Languages of Manipur in 2001[36][37][38]

  Manipuri (55.21%)
  Thado (7.76%)
  Tangkhul (6.06%)
  Kabui (3.8%)
  Paite (2.1%)
  Hmar (1.8%)
  Vaiphei (1.6%)
  Other (21.67%)

The official languages are Manipuri (Meeteilon) and English.

The term Meitei includes Meetei Sanamahi, Meetei Christians, Meitei Hindus and Meetei Brahmins (locally called "Bamons"). The language of Meetei people, Meithei (or Manipuri), is the lingua franca in Manipur and is one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Manipur has a diverse group of ethnic groups speaking different languages and dialects, variously practicing Hinduism, Christianity, Sanamahism, Buddhism, Islam and other folk religions.[12]

The languages spoken in Manipur as per 2001 census are Manipuri (1,266,098), Thado (178,696), Tangkhul (139,979), Kabui (87,950), Paite (48,379), Hmar (43,137), Vaiphei (37,553), Gangte (13,752), Kom (14,558), Kuki (12,900), Liangmei (32,787), Maring (22,154), Anal (22,187), Simte (10,028), Zou (20,626), Bengali (27,100), Hindi (24,720), etc.

Languages of hill people

There are 29 different dialects spoken in Manipur. The six main hill dialects recognised by Government of Manipur for the medium of instruction and examination up to class XII (12th grade) are:[39][clarification needed]

  1. Mizo, dialect of the Mizo people
  2. Zou, dialect of the zou/zomi people.
  3. Poula, dialect of the Poumai Naga
  4. Thadou, dialect of Thadou people, the second language in the state after Meiteilon during the Colonial Period.
  5. Vaiphei, dialect of Vaiphei people
  6. Tangkhul, dialect of Tangkhul people
  7. Paite, dialect of Paite people
  8. Hmar, dialect of Hmar people
  9. Mao, dialect of Mao people
  10. Lianglad, dialect of Liangmai Naga People
  11. Rongmei, dialect of Rongmei people
  12. Maring, dialect of Maring Naga/Maring, Maring Khoibu, Maring Narum-saibol people
  13. Maram, dialect of Maram Naga
  14. Gangte, dialect of Gangte people and
  15. Mate, Dialect of the Mate-Taithul people


Religion in Manipur[12]
Religion Percent

Manipur has a diverse group of ethnic groups speaking different languages and dialects, variously practicing Hinduism, Christianity, Sanamahism, Buddhism, Islam and other folk religions.[12]


About 41.39% of Manipuri people are Hindus. Vaishnavism school of Hinduism became a dominant force in Manipur in the eighteenth century when the king, Garib Niwas (1708–48), declared it as the official State religion. This was the Vaishnavism of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Bhakti preacher of Bengal, which stressed Krishna Bhakti.[citation needed] The Hindu population is heavily concentrated in the Manipur valley among the Meitei people. The districts of Bishnupur, Thoubal, Manipur East and Manipur West are all Hindu majorities averaging 67.62% (range 62.27% - 74.81%) according to the 2011 census data.[40]


St.Joseph's Cathedral at Imphal

Christianity is the religion of 41.29% of the people in the state. It was brought by missionaries to Manipur in the 19th century. Christianity brought a marked change towards the civilization of the hill people.[citation needed] In the 20th century, a few Christian schools were established, which introduced Western-type education. Respected schools in Manipur are Little Flower School in Imphal, Don Bosco High School in Imphal, St. Joseph's Convent, and Nirmalabas High School, which are all run by Catholic priests and nuns. The overwhelming majority of the population in the Hill districts are Christian.[40] The hill populations are predominantly from the Naga and Kuki tribes.[citation needed]

Meiteism and Sanamahi

Sanamahi temple at Kangla

Folk religions are practiced by about 8% of the state's people. These religions have a long history in Manipur. Sanamahism is the ancient indigenous religion. Sanamahi worship is concentrated around the Sun God/Sanamahi. The early Manipuri worshipped a Supreme deity, Lainingthou Soralel, and followed their ancestors. Their ancestor worship and animism was based on Umang Lai – that is, ethnic governing deities worshipped in sacred groves. Some of the traditional deities (Lais) whom Manipuri worship are Atiya Sidaba, Pakhangba, Sanamahi, Leimaren, Oknarel, Panganba, Thangjing, Marjing, Wangbaren, and Koubru. The religious life of the people, even when they adopted non-mainstream Hinduism, retained many characteristics inherited from their prehistoric ancestors. The essentials of this religion remain recognisable to the present day.[41] but did not win widespread adoption until relatively recent history. Even so, every Manipuri following Hinduism has a sacred abode in the Southwestern section of their homes where they worship Lainingthou Sanamahi. According to the 2011 population census the "Other religions and persuasions" category which included minor Indian religions (other than Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism) accounted for 8.19% of the population. Like the Hindu population they are concentrated in the Manipur valley districts where the Meitei people are dominant and account for 14% of the valley population (range 10 - 16% of the population).[40]


Muslims in Manipur see also Muslims of Manipur and Meitei people

Muslims, known locally as Pangal, constitute about 8.4% of the state population as per 2011 census. Sufi saint, Shaikh Shah Jalal d-Dīn al-Mujarrad al-Turk al Naqshbandi; came to Sylhet in 1303 AD,[citation needed] and Hazrat Azan Fakir Baghdadi who arrived in 1690 AD in Assam.[citation needed] They influenced Manipuri Muslims. They belong to the Sunni group of Hanafi school of thought and there are Arab, Bangladesh, Turani, Bengali and Mughal or Chaghtai Turk sections among Manipuri Muslims.[42]

The literacy rate among Muslims is 58.6 percent (male 75 percent and female 41.6 percent) below the state’s average of 70.5 percent (male 80.3 percent and female 60.5 percent). In 1995, out of 1,35,000 Muslims, 5,704 had matriculated from secondary school. There was a total of 1,822 who had graduated in addition to 86 technical and professional graduates. There were 51 Class I Muslim officers including three women, 101 Class II officers and 1,270 and 1,663 employees belonging to Class III and IV categories respectively.[43]



Map of the districts of Manipur

Manipur has currently nine administrative districts.

District Area
Population Headquarters Map code
Bishnupur 496 237,399 Bishnupur BI
Churachandpur 4570 274,143 Churachandpur CC
Chandel 3313 144,182 Chandel CD
Imphal East 709 456,113 Porompat EI
Imphal West 519 517,992 Lamphelpat WI
Senapati 3271 193,744 Senapati SE
Tamenglong 4391 140,651 Tamenglong TA
Thoubal 514 422,168 Thoubal TH
Ukhrul 4544 183,998 Ukhrul UK

Security and insurgency

PREPAK insurgents are one of many groups in Manipur seeking independence from India.

The violence in Manipur extend beyond those between Indian security forces and insurgent armed groups. There is violence between the Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis and other tribal groups.[8] They have formed splinter groups who disagree with each other. Other than UNLF, PLA and PREPAK mentioned above, other Manipuri insurgent groups include Revolutionary Peoples Front (RPF), Manipur Liberation Front Army (MLFA), Kanglei Yawol Khnna Lup (KYKL), Revolutionary Joint Committee (RJC), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), Peoples United Liberation Front (PULF), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-I/M), Kuki National Front (KNF), Kuki National Army (KNA), Kuki Defence Force (KDF), Kuki Democratic Movement (KDM), Kuki National Organisation (KNO), Kuki Security Force (KSF), Chin Kuki Revolutionary Front (CKRF), Kom Rem Peoples Convention (KRPC), Zomi Revolutionary Volunteers (ZRV), Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), Zomi Reunification Organisation (ZRO), and Hmar Peoples Convention (HPC).[8]

The Kuki insurgent groups want a separate state for the Kukis to be carved out from the present state of Manipur. The Kuki insurgent groups are under two umbrella organisation, Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples Forum.[44] The Nagas wish to annexe part of Manipur and merge with a greater Nagaland or Nagalim, which is in conflict with Meitei insurgent demands for the integrity of their vision of an independent state. There were many tensions between the different tribes and have witnessed numerous clashes between Naga and Kukis, Meiteis and Muslims.[8]

According to SATP, there has been a dramatic decline in fatalities in Manipur since 2009. In 2009, 77 civilians died (about 3 per 100,000 people).[9] From 2010 onwards, about 25 civilians have died in militants-related violence (about 1 per 100,000 people), dropping further to 21 civilian deaths in 2013 (or 0.8 per 100,000 people). However, there were 76 explosions in 2013, compared to 107 explosions in 2012. Different groups claimed responsibility for different explosions, some claiming they were targeting competing militant groups, others claiming their targets were state and central government officials.[45] The average worldwide violent unnatural death rate between 2004 and 2009 was 7.9 per 100,000 per year.[10]


Bamboo is common in Manipur, and an important contributor to its economy as well as cuisine. Above is soibum yendem eromba - a bamboo shoot cuisine of Manipur.

The 2012-2013 gross state domestic product of Manipur at market prices was about 10188 crore (US$1.5 billion).[46] Its economy is primarily agriculture, forestry, cottage and trade driven.[47]

Manipur acts as India’s ‘Gateway to the East’ through Moreh and Tamu towns, the land route for trade between India and Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries.

Manipur has the highest number of handicrafts units as well as the highest number of craftspersons, in the entire northeastern region of India.[48]


Manipur produced about 0.1 gigawatt-hours (0.36 TJ) of electricity in 2010 with its infrastructure.[49] The state has hydroelectric power generation potential, estimated to be over 2 gigawatt-hours (7.2 TJ). As of 2010, if half of this potential is realized, it is estimated that this would supply 24/7 electricity to all residents, with a surplus for sale, as well as supplying the Myanmar power grid.[50]


Manipur's climate and soil conditions make it ideally suited for various horticultural crops. Growing there are variety of rare and exotic medicinal and aromatic plants.[48] Some cash crops suited for Manipur include litchi, cashew nuts, walnuts, orange, lemon, pineapple, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pear and plum.[47]

The state is covered with over 3,000 square kilometres (1,200 sq mi) of bamboo forests, making it one of India’s largest contributor to its bamboo industry.[48]

Transportation infrastructure

Imphal airport is the second largest airport in India's northeast.

Tulihal Airport, Changangei, Imphal, the only airport of Manipur, connects directly with Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Agartala. It has been upgraded as an International airport, and as India's second largest airport in the northeast it serves as a key logistical centre for northeastern states.[13] 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 (134 mi) from Imphal. National Highway 53 (India) connects Manipur with another railway station at Silchar in Assam, which is 269 km (167 mi) away from Imphal. The road network of Manipur, with a length of 7,170 km (4,460 mi) connects all the important towns and distant villages.

In 2010, Indian government announced that it is considering an Asian infrastructure network from Manipur to Vietnam.[51]

The proposed Trans-Asian Railway (TAR), if constructed, will pass through Manipur, connecting India to Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.


The culture features martial arts, dance, theatre and sculpture. Greenery accompanies a moderate climate. The seasonal Shirui Lily plant at Ukhrul (district), Dzukou valley at Senapati, Sangai (Brow antlered deer) and the floating islands at Loktak Lake are among the rarities of the area. Polo, which can be called a royal game, also originated in Manipur.

Imphal (Capital)

A view of Imphal City

The city is inhabited by the Meitei, which predominates; also Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) and other tribes.

The city contains (Tulihal Airport).

The district is divided into East and West. The Khuman Lampak Sports Complex was built for the 1997 National Games. The stadium is used for a sports venue. It also contains a cyclists' velodrome. Most of the imported goods are sold here at its Paona Bazaar, Gam-bir Sing Shopping Complex, Ningthibi Collections and Leima Plaza.

Shree Govindajee Temple, Andro village, and the Manipur State Museum are in the city.

Lakes and islands

Rare birds and flowers include: Nongin[52] is the state bird (top) and Siroi Lily[53] is its state flower (middle). Leimaram falls, bottom, is a local attraction.

48 km (30 mi) from Imphal, lies the largest fresh water lake in the North East India, the Loktak Lake, a miniature inland sea. There is a Tourist Bungalow atop Sendra Island. Life on the Lake includes small islands that are floating weed on which live the Lake people, the blue waters of the Lake, and colourful water plants. There is a Sendra Tourist Home with an attached cafeteria in the middle of the lake. Floating islands are made out of the tangle of watery weeds and other plants. The wetland is swampy and is favourable for a number of species. It is in the district of Bishnupur. Etymology of Loktak is "Lok = stream and tak= the end" (End of the Streams).[27] Sendra park and resort is opening on the top of Sendra hills and attracting the tourist.

Hills and valleys

Kaina is a hillock about 921 metres (3,022 ft) above sea level. It is a sacred place for Manipuri Hindus. The legend is that, 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. It is 29 km (18 mi) from Imphal.

The Dzükou Valley is located in Senapati district bordering with Kohima. There are seasonal flowers and a number of flora and fauna. Dzükou derives its meaning from the Angami/Mao word which translates to "Cold Water" referring to the cold stream that flows through the valley. It is situated at an altitude of 2,438 metres (7,999 ft) above sea level, behind the Japfü Peak located in Nagaland. The rare Dzükou lily is found only in this valley.[citation needed]

Eco tourism

Sangai, the state animal, at Keibul Lamjao National Park. In the wild, it has a habit of waiting and looking back at viewers.[54]

Keibul Lamjao National Park, 48 km (30 mi) away from Imphal is an abode of the rare and endangered species of Brow Antlered deer. This ecosystem contains 17 rare species of mammals.[27] It is the only floating national park of the world.[citation needed]

Six kilometres (3.7 mi) to the west of Imphal, at the foot of the pine growing hillocks at Iroisemba on the Imphal-Kangchup Road are the Zoological Gardens. Some brow antlered deer (Sangai)are housed there.


Sadu Chiru waterfall is near Ichum Keirap village[55] 27 km (17 mi) from Imphal, in the Sadar hill area, Senapati district. This consists of three falls with the first fall about 30 metres (98 ft) high. Agape Park is located in the vicinity. It is owned and managed by Kamlun Telien of Ichum Keirap.[citation needed]

Natural caves

Thalon Cave (around 910 metres (2,990 ft) above sea level) is one of the historical sites of Manipur under Tamenglong district. It is around 185 kilometres (115 mi) from the state capital and around 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Tamenglong district headquarters in north side. From Thalon village, this cave is 4–5 kilometres (2.5–3.1 mi).[56] Khangkhui Cave is a natural limestone cave in Ukhrul district. The big hall in the cave is the darbar hall of the Devil King living deep inside while the northern hall is the royal bedroom, according to local folklore. During World War II, the villagers sought shelter in this cave. This cave is at an hour's trek from Khangkui village.[57]


Main article: Manipuri dance
Rasa Lila, a celebration of Hindu deity Krishna, in Manipuri dance style
Pena is an ancient Manipuri musical instrument, particularly popular among its Meetei people.

The Manipuri have a rich culture. Theatre has been part of the Laiharaoba festivals since time immemorial. Theatre in Manipur is divided into religious and secular, based on texts. The former is the adaptation of religious epics or some episodes from them, performed mainly in the sacred sphere such as temples. Within this, Gauralila (the story of the childhood days of Caitanya Mahaprabhu), Sanjenba (an episode from the play between Krishna and his cows and his Gopis), and Udukhol (an episode from Krishna's childhood days) can be incorporated. They are seasonal performances commanding spiritual devotions among the audience.[citation needed]

Secular theatre is mostly confined to themes that are not religious; it is performed in the secular or profane spheres. Within these are Shumang lila and Phampak lila (stage drama). Shumang lila is very popular. Etymologically Shumang lila is the combination of "Shumang" (courtyard) and "Lila" (play or performance). It is performed in an area of 13/13 ft in the centre of any open space, in a very simple style without a raised stage, set design, or heavy props such as curtains, background scenery, visual effects, etc. It uses one table and two chairs, kept on one side of the performance space. Its claim as the "theatre of the masses" is underlined by the way it is performed in the middle of an audience that surrounds it, leaving one passage as both entrance and exit.

Shumang lila is performed by a touring band of 12–13 professional artists on invitation basis. These troupes may be exclusively female (Nupi Shumang Lila) or exclusively male (Nupa Shumang lila). In each case, one sex plays all parts. Historically Shumang lila was based in Phagee lila (farce), performed during the reign of Ningthourel Chandrakirti (1850–1886), though traces of it were already present in the episode of Tangkhul-Nurabi Loutaba of Laiharaoba festival. Then it was succeeded by such plays as Ramlila, Sabha parba, Kabul lila, etc. But the real Shumang lila with various rasas (sentiments) was ushered in with the epic play Harishchandra (1918). Then it was followed by others such as Meiraba charan, Thok lila, etc. One of the most successful of this era was Moirang parba, an epic play based on the legendary lovers Khamba and Thoibi of Moirang.[citation needed]

On the other hand, the world of Phampak lila (stage drama) performed in the proscenium theatre is similar, in form, to the Western theatrical model and Indian Natyasastra model though its contents are indigenous. The so-called modern theatre descended on Manipuri theatre culture with the performance of Pravas Milan (1902) under the enthusiastic patronage of Sir Churchand Maharaj (1891–1941). The pace of theatrical movement was geared up with the institution of various groups such as Manipur Dramatic Union (MDU) (1930), Arian Theatre (1935), Chitrangada Natya Mandir (1936), Society Theatre (1937), Rupmahal (1942), Cosmopolitan Dramatic Union (1968), and the Chorus Repertory Theatre of Ratan Thiyam (1976).[citation needed] These groups started experimenting with various types of plays apart from historical and pauranic ones. Today Manipuri theatre is well respected because of various excellent productions shown in various parts of the country and abroad. Manipuri plays, both Shumang lila and stage lila, have been a regular feature in the annual festival of the National School of Drama, New Delhi.

The Chorus Repertory Theatre, Imphal, founded by Ratan Thiyam

Iskcon led by Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami started a network of schools in Northeastern India where more than 4000 students receive education centred on Vaishnava spiritual values. In 1989 he founded "Ranganiketan Manipuri Cultural Arts Troupe" which has approximately 600 performances at over 300 venues in over 15 countries. Ranganiketan (literally "House of Colorful Arts") is a group of more than twenty dancers, musicians, singers, martial artists, choreographers and craft artisans.[citation needed] Some of them have received international acclaim.

Manipuri dance (Ras Lila)

A classical form of Manipuri dance based and inspired by the theme of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha's love story and the devotion of the Gopis (companions) toward 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 lustre to the beauty of the art. This dance is very exciting dance. Iskcon led by Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Swami has put Manipuri Rasa Leela on Global map with its performance in many prestigious event like many World Conference on science and religion, United Religions Initiative conference, Kumbha Mela and many more.

Chorus Repertory Theatre

The Shrine – the main theatre

The auditorium of the theatre is situated on the outskirts of Imphal and the campus stretches for about 2 acres (8,100 m2). It has housing and working quarters to accommodate a self-sufficiency of life. The theatre association has churned out internationally acclaimed plays like Chakravyuha and Uttarpriyadashi. Its 25 years of existence in theatre 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.


Main article: Sports in Manipur

Manipur is home to many sports personnel. Outdoor sports include Mukna, Mukna Kangjei (or Khong kangjei), Sagol Kangjei (Polo), Yubi lakpi (Coconut Rugby), Oo-Laobi, Hiyang-Tannaba (Boat Rowing Race), and Arambai Hunba.[citation needed]


The various festivals of Manipur are Lui-ngai-ni Ningol Chakouba, Yaoshang, 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 of India is observed here and it makes Manipur a mini metropolis.

Ningol Chakouba

Held in November,[58] this is a social festival of the Meiteis and many communities of Manipur where the married women (Ningol) are invited (Chakouba-literally calling to a meal; for dinner or lunch) to a feast at their parental house along with their children. Besides the feast, gifts are given to the women/invitees and to their children. It is the festival that binds and revives the family relations between the girls married away and the parental family. Nowadays, other communities have also started celebrating this kind of a family-bonding festival. It is held every year on the 2nd lunar day of Heyangei (mostly during the month of November. Sometimes it falls in October).

"Ningol" can mean a family's woman or a girl child and is not necessarily married.


Held after the Harvest festival in November,[59][60] this festival predominantly celebrated by Kuki-Chin-Zomi tribes in Manipur has become one of the leading festivals of the state. Kut is not restricted to a particular community or tribe but the whole state populace participates in merriment. On 1 November of every year the state declared holiday for Kut celebration. The festival is marked by various cultural events such as traditional dances, folk dances, songs, sports and the Miss Kut contest.[citation needed] It is a festival of peace and thanksgiving to the Almighty for the harvests.[citation needed]


Main article: Yaosang

Held in February or March,[61] Yaosang is one of the biggest festivals of Manipur.


See also: Christmas

Various tribes who are Christians celebrate Christmas for two days with prayers, reading of gospels, eating, singing of hymns, lectures on Christ, sports etc. It is usually observed on 24 December and 25.[citation needed]

Cheiraoba is the celebration of new year during the Spring season. People feast (top), then climb up a hill together later in the day to signify overcoming hurdles and reaching new heights in the new year.

Pangal festivals

The Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) observe Ramzan along with the rest of the Muslim world. After the thirtieth day of the month, when the new moon is visible they break their fast at Id-Ul-Fitr. Children play with crackers, balloons, toy-guns with friends and go from one house to another house asking for money in the name of "Id ki Paisa" from the elders. Married women go to their maternal homes in the evening along with their families.[citation needed]

Id-ul-Adha is the second most important festival of the Pangals in Manipur.[citation needed]


Main article: Sajibu Cheiraoba

Also known as Sajibugi Nongma Panba and held in March or April,[62] Cheiraoba (literally, stick announce) is the new year of Manipur.[citation needed]


Gaan-Ngai is the greatest festival of the Zeliangrong people. It is 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.



Cinema was first introduced in Manipur in 1920. The first cinemas in the state were established in Imphal after the Second World War.

Filmmaking in Manipur was pioneered by Shree Govindajee Film Company (SGFC) founded between 1946 and 1947. Mainu Pemcha (1948) was the result of the first attempt at making films by the Manipuris.

The first feature-length film, Matam-Gi Manipur was screened on 9 April 1972 at Usha Cinema, Friends Talkies in Imphal and Azad cinema in Kakching.

With the establishment of Film Society in 1966, Imphal Cine Club in 1979 and Manipur Film Development Council (MFDC) in 1980, Manipuri cinema achieved national and international notice.

See also


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  3. ^ Naorem Sanajaoba (1995), Manipur: Treatise & Documents, Volume 1, ISBN 978-8170993995, Introduction
  4. ^ Naorem Sanajaoba (Editor), Manipur, Past and Present: The Heritage and Ordeals of a Civilization, Volume 4, Chapter 1 - NK Singh, ISBN 978-8170998532
  5. ^ Naorem Sanajaoba (Editor), Manipur, Past and Present: The Heritage and Ordeals of a Civilization, Volume 4, Chapter 4 - K Murari, ISBN 978-8170998532
  6. ^ Naorem Sanajaoba (Editor), Manipur, Past and Present: The Heritage and Ordeals of a Civilization, Volume 4, Chapter 2 - NT Singh, ISBN 978-8170998532
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  8. ^ a b c d e Background: Conflict in Manipur Human Rights Watch (2008)
  9. ^ a b State wise Indian fatalities, 1994-2013 Militancy and Terrorism Database, SATP, New Delhi
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  18. ^ Joseph Ford Sherer is called the Father of English Polo - Horace A. Laffaye (2009), The Evolution of Polo, ISBN 978-0786438143, Chapter 2; National Army Museum Silver salver presented to Captain Joseph Ford Sherer United Kingdom
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  38. ^ [2] Census 2011 Non scheduled languages
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