Manipur

Manipur

 
Manipur shares 352 km common International boundary with Myanmar and lies south of Nagaland, north of Mizoram and east of Assam. It covers an area of 22,327 sq. km with a population of 23,88,634 (Provisional census 2001). Manipur is a mosaic of traditions and cultural patterns.











 
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Major Tourist Destnations in Manipur:
Imphal    

MANIPUR shares 352 km common International boundary with Myanmar and lies south of Nagaland, north of Mizoram and east of Assam. It covers an area of 22,327 sq. km with a population of 23,88,634(Provisional census 2001). Manipur is a mosaic of traditions and cultural patterns.

FLORA AND FAUNA:
The wet forests, the temperate forest and the pine forests occur between 900-2700 metres above sea level and they together sustain a host of rare and endemic plant and animal life. There are around 500 varieties of orchids which grow in Manipur of which 472 have so far been identified. Hoolock gibbon, Slow loris, Clouded leopard, Mrs. Hume's Barebacked pheasant, Blyth's Tragopan, Hornbills etc. form only a part of the natural heritage of Manipur. However, the most unique is the "Sangai", the dancing deer. The floating mass of vegetation on the Loktak Lake sustains small herds of this endemic deer which is the most threatened species in the world.

ENTRY FORMALITIES:
FOREIGN TOURISTS: All foreign tourists visiting Manipur require Restricted Area permit (RAP) issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi. The permits are also issued by Indian Missions abroad, Foreign Regional Registration office (FRRO) in Mumbai, Kolkata, Immigration office in Chennai and the Home Commissioner, Govt. of Manipur, Imphal.
DOMESTIC TOURISTS: Indian tourists visiting Manipur via Dimapur/Kohima require Inner Line Permit to pass through Nagaland. These permits are issued by the Liaison officers of the Govt. of Nagaland at New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati /Shillong and the Sub-Divisional Office (Civil) Dimapur. Deputy Commissioner, Imphal can also issue permits to tourists traveling by road from Imphal to Kohima and Dimapur in Nagaland.

FESTIVALS OF MANIPUR:

GANG-NGAI: It is a festival of the Kabui Naga community and it is celebrated in the month of December-January for five days. The festival starts with a religious ceremony on the first day and the remaining days are associated with common feasts, dances and presentation of gifts etc.

LUI-NGAI-NI: This is a festival of sowing which the Naga community celebrates on the 15th of February every year. Social gatherings, songs, dances and rejoicing highlight the festivity.

ID-UL-FITR: Id-Ul-Fitr is the most popular festival of the Manipuri Muslims. It is celebrated to mark the end of Ramzan, the holy month of fasting for the Muslims.

YAOSHANG (DOLJATRA): It is celebrated for five days commencing from the full moon day of Phalguna (February/March). The Thabal Chongba- a kind of Manipuri folk dance, where boys and girls hold hands, sing and dance in a circle, is particularly associated with this festival.

CHEIRAOBA: It is celebrated during the month of April. People clean and decorate their houses and prepare special festive dishes, which are first offered to various deities. Villagers climb nearby hilltops in the belief that it will enable them to rise to heights in their worldly life.

LAI-HARAOBA: It is celebrated during the month of May in honour of the Sylvan deities known as Umang Lai. The festival represents the worship of traditional deities and ancestors. The Lai Haraoba of God-Thangjing the ruling deity of Moirang is the most famous one.

RATH JATRA (KANG): Rath Jatra or car festival is celebrated for 10 (ten) days in the month of June/July. It is one of the greatest festivals of Hindus of Manipur. Lord Jagannath leaves his temple in a Rath known as "Kang" pulled by pilgrims.

HEIKRU HITONGBA: This festival is celebrated in the month of September. Along a 16 metre wide moat, long narrow boats are sailed by a large number of rowers. The idol of Lord Bishnu is installed before the commencement of the race.

KWAK YATRA(DUSSEHRA): It is celebrated during September/ October. In this festival the goddess Durga is propitiated with pomp and ceremony.

NINGOL CHAKKOUBA: It is observed on the second day of the new moon in the Manipuri month of Hiyangei (October). In this festival, married women pay a visit to her parental house along with her children to revive familial ties.

KUT: The Kut festival is observed on the first of November every year. It is an autumn festival of the different tribes of Kuki-Chin-Mizo (Chikim) groups of Manipur.

CHUMPHA: The Chumpha festival is a great festival of the Tangkhul Nagas where women play an important role. It is celebrated during December for a week.

CHRISTMAS: It is the greatest festival of all Christians in Manipur. It is observed for two days on December 24th and 25th. Midnight services are held in various churches and in some villages the celebration continues till the 1st of January which is equally celebrated with great pomp and gaiety.

Manipur is distinctly identified to the world by its own art forms and cultural expressions. Its famous classical dance remains a unique dance form in all Manipur dance forms whether folk, classical or modern.

The Raas Leela, the epitome of Manipuri classical dance reveals the sublime and transcendental love of Lord Krishna and Radha and the Gopi's (milkmaids) devotion to the Lord. It is generally performed at night in a Mandop in front of a temple. Important performances are held at the temple of Shree Shree Govindajee on the nights of Basant Purnima, Sarad Purnima and Kartik Purnima with performances at local temples later.

Nupa Pala (Kartal Cholom or Cymbal Dance) is a ramification of the Manipuri style of dance and music. It is normally performed by male performer using cymbals and wearing white Pheijom (Dhoti) and spherical turbans, who sing and dance to the rhythm of Pung (Mridanga).

Khamba Thoibi Dance is another important characteristic of Manipuri dance. It is a duet performance of male and female dancers.

The Lai-Haroba Dance is a spring festival dance and is held in April-May. The Tribal folk dances of Manipur however, are an expression of nature, creativity and aestheticism of the tribal way of life

INDIGENOUS GAMES AND SPORTS:

SAGOL KANGJEI (POLO): Sagol Kangjei can be traced back to the 1300s and considered the Mother of modern polo. The Manipur Polo is played with seven players on each side who mount and ride ponies, which are often not more than 4 to 5 feet tall. Each player is outfitted with a polo stick made of cane having a narrow angled woodenhead fixed at the striking end. The ball, 14 inches in circumference, is made of bamboo root. The mounted players gallop after the ball to hit it straight into the goal. Extremely vigorous and exhilarating the game is now played in the Pana or Original Manipur Style and the International Style (Polo). The British learned the nuances of the game of Sagol Kangjei in the 19th Century from Manipur and after much refinement it was named as "Polo".

KHONG KANGJEI (MANIPURI HOCKEY): The game is played with seven players on either side and each player is equipped with a bamboo stick about four feet in length made in the form of modern hockey stick. The game starts with a throw of the ball made of bamboo root in the field of 200x80 yards in area. A player can carry the ball in any manner to the goal. He may even kick it but he has to score the goal only by hitting the ball with his stick. There is no goal post and a goal is scored when the ball crosses the goal line fully.

MUKNA (MANIPURI WRESTLING): The game is played between two male competitors for trial of strength and skill. Athletes of the same or approximate physical built, weight and age are made competitors. The game is an absolute must for the closing ceremonies of the Lai Haroba Festival. It is a highly popular and prestigious game.

YUBI-LAKPI (MANIPURI STYLE RUGBY): Yubi-Lakpi, which translates into coconut (Yubi) and first snatching (Lakpi), has its roots in Hindu mythology and is considered a re-enactment of the celestial snatching of the pot of nectar after the Samundra Manthan. Each side has seven players in a field of about 45x18 meters in area. One side of which forms the central portion of the goal line. To score a goal, a player has to approach the goal from the front with his oiled coconut and pass the goal line.

KANG: The game is played during the period between Manipuri New Year's Day and the Rath Yatra festival on the well-polished earth floor of a big outhouse. Normally each team has seven male partners. It is also played as a mixed-doubles contest.

HIYANG TANNABA (BOAT RACE): It is generally organised in November at Thangapat. The boats called "Hiyang Hiren" are regarded as invested with spiritual powers and the game is associated with religious rites. The Meiteis believe that worship of the Hiyang Hiren will prevent evil omens. The rowers wear traditional dresses and headgears.

THANG-TA & SARIT SARAK (MANIPURI MARTIAL ARTS): It is a very energetic and skilful art and is a way to hone one's battle craft. Long and precise practices are required and only the brave and the athletic could excel. The art, as seen today, observe elaborate rituals and rules which are strictly observed by the participants.

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