Loktak Lake: Serene and breathtakingly gorgeous, Loktak Lake is one of the loveliest destinations in the Northeast. It’s also home to the 40sq km Keibul Lamjao National Park, the world’s only floating wildlife sanctuary. This is where you come seeking Manipur’s graceful brow-antlered ‘dancing deer’, or the sangai, living on its unique habitat of bowl-shaped islands—phumdi (made of weeds), which float on the surface of the lake, a big attraction for birders. Boats are available for hire. Plan a trip during the annual Sangai Festival, held in November. It can be accessed from Imphal, just 45kms away.
Shirui National Park: Shirui National Park, located just outside of Ukhrul district in Manipur, is one of the lesser-known national parks of India. The park’s Shiroi Kashong Peak is home to the very rare and endangered Shirui lily (Lilium maclineae). This species of lily is endemic to this hill—it can’t be grown anywhere else in the world! A popular destination for researchers and scientists, the park is slowly acquiring the importance that it deserves. The hilltop is also home to the rare Blyth’s tragopan (Nagaland’s state bird) and the equally threatened Mrs. Hume’s pheasant, which is Manipur and Mizoram’s state bird.
Imphal: Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, is ripe with history and culture. The city holds the ruins of the Kangla Palace, a famous tourist attraction. The palace complex also consists of the 19th century Shree Govindajee Temple—its pillars and domes a treat for anyone interested in art and architecture. For history lovers, the Imphal War Cemetery is the best place to go to. It’s a memorial for the British and Indian soldiers who fought and died in 1944 during World War II. And for those looking for something different, the famous Ima Keithel or Ima Market, one run entirely by women, is the place to go.