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 Northeast and sangai, the rare brow antlered deer.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Khwairamband

Khwairamband is the biggest market in Imphal, divided into two: for fresh produce and other products. Within it is Nupi-kheithel, famous as the Ima market, where only women (imas or mothers) manage the stalls. Shop for handloom products such as shawls, saris and bedsheets, and do look out for exquisite hand-woven baskets.

Sanchita Kalra
Ima Market in Imphal
Ima Market in Imphal

Kangla Fort

The historic Kangla Fort was the seat of Meitei rulers and is situated by the banks of the Imphal river.

Entry ₹ 10 Timings 7.00am-5.00pm, Closed Wednesdays

Sanjoy Ghosh
Main entrance, Kangla Fort
Main entrance, Kangla Fort

Other attractions

About 12 km away, spread over 200 acres, is the Central Khonghampat Orchidarium. The best time to visit is from March to early May when the orchids are blooming.

Langthabal (8 km, on the Myanmar Road), a hill green with jackfruit and pine trees, has the ruins of the old palace and temples. You can see sangai in the Manipur Zoological Gardens (6 km).

Precious Kamei
A totem pole at the Mutua Museum
A totem pole at the Mutua Museum

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

Your options for a decent accommodation in Imphal are: Hotel Nirmala (Tel: 0385-2458904; Tariff: ₹1,050- 5,000) on MG Avenue, Hotel Anand Continental (Tel: 2449433; Tariff: ₹1,040-2,200) in Thangal Bazaar, The Sangai Hotel (Cell: 08729972865; Tariff: ₹1,200-3,200) on Sangai Lane and The Classic Hotel (Tel: 2443967/ 69; Tariff: ₹1,400-5,700) near the Old Guwahati High Court.

Hotel Anand Continental, Hotel Classic and Hotel Nirmala have multicuisine restaurants. Sangai Hotel serves good Indian and Chinese fare. The Meiteis, the dominant community of Manipur, are vegetarian though they don’t consider fish to be nonvegetarian food.

Note that Manipur is a dry state; no alcohol is served here.

When to go October to March, as the weather is very pleasant Location Part of the northern Angami region, Tuophema is located in the Kohima District Air Nearest airport: Imphal Rail Nearest rail: Dimapur