Exploring the state of Manipur is truly a privilege for travel enthusiasts. This is mainly because the untouched beauty of this state makes it special and unique. Imphal, the capital of Manipur, is blessed with a landscape that seems like a painting made by an artist who couldn’t help but fall in love with this land. For this reason, visiting the best tourist places in Imphal can be a life-changing experience of any traveller. The lush greenery, clean roads, mouth-watering delicacies and kind faces make this city one of the most popular places in Manipur. Tourists who are planning to visit here with an Imphal tour package must ensure that they get ample time to soak in the magic of this city without being rushed through the whole trip. Our recommendation would be to reach Imphal Airport directly from your home city, rest for a few hours and then walk around town on your first. The main places to visit in and near Imphal can be done after relaxing for a day.
Here are the 10 of the must-visit places in this city: –
1. Visit the Ancient Capital of Manipur
Kangla Palace is one of the most popular places to visit in Imphal because of its historical significance. Situated along the Imphal River, this palace used to be the capital of Manipur up until the British forces captured it in the 19th century. This majestic fort was opened up for public viewing in 2003 and since then, tourists have been marvelling at the architectural wonders of this fort. Open on all days of the week, the timings for visiting Kangla Palace are set between 7 am to 8 pm. For those planning a vacation in Imphal, the best time to visit is in the months between September to April.
2. Pay Respect to the Memory of the Martyrs
Shaheed Minar or Martyr’s Gate is another sightseeing spot of Imphal that is visited by tourists from all over the country. Opt for a North East India travel guide if you have to; no traveller worth her/his salt should miss this place. Do make sure to stop at Shaheed Minar at pay homage to the revolutionaries who lost their lives during the Anglo-Manipuri of 1891. As this tower is built in the Bir Tikendrajit Park, you can explore the well-manicured gardens and reminisce about the sacrifices made by brave soldiers.
3. Walk along the Floating Lake of Imphal
While you are visiting an array of places in Imphal, the Loktak Lake can be your unwinding spot after a long day of excursions. This magnificent freshwater lake happens to be the largest one in the whole state. The reason behind its nickname “floating lake” is the presence of organic substances (Phumdis) floating on its surface. The sheer beauty of Loktak Lake is a sight for sore eyes and the best time to visit this tourist spot in Imphal is during the winter months when the “dancing deer” can be spotted near the lake. Besides this, tourists can also spot beautiful migratory birds, unique flora and fauna in this region.
4. Marvel at Manipuri God Idols and Devil Figurines
A tourist spot of Imphal that has to be in the bucket-list of art and history lovers is the Three Mothers Art Gallery on the eastern side of the city. Situated within the Thangapat Mapal Palace Compound, this gallery depicts the indigenous artworks of the state. For any artist, visiting this gallery would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience as the idols of various Gods and Goddess, mythological creatures and devil figurines made out of wood cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Known as the hidden tourist places in Imphal, this art gallery is open between 10 am to 5 pm and does not charge any entry fee.
5. Experience Manipuri Village Life at Moirang
Out of all the tourist places near Imphal, Moirang happens to be our personal favourite. This is because of its captivating simplicity and welcoming atmosphere that just touches the soul on a spiritual level. Located 45 km from Imphal, the best way to reach this village is by road. Once you enter this town, pay your respect to the ancient temple dedicated to Lord Thangjing. This will not only please the villagers but also help you understand the culture of the people in a better way. If you happen to be in this area in the month of May, then you will get to witness Moirang Haraoba Festival celebrating the dance forms of Manipur in ethnic outfits. Our recommendation would be to hog onto a traditional Moirang meal at any of the street food joints and experience paradise in every bite.
6. Hike in Manipur’s Most Popular Forest Reserve
Sirohi National Park is one of those places to see in Imphal that will help you appreciate the state’s natural beauty in the best way possible. Having rich biodiversity, the national park is home to wildlife such as leopards, tigers and a varied number of birds. It is said that there are some flowers and medicinal plants in this forest reserve that cannot be grown anywhere else in the world. For a breathtaking view, tourists can climb up the watchtower and thank their stars for witnessing the beauty of Sirohi National Park. Moreover, the best time to visit this region in Imphal is between January and March.
7. Learn about the Glorious History of Manipur
When it comes to the culture and traditions of Manipur, one of the most celebrated places to visit in Imphal is the Manipur State Museum. Did you know that this museum has more than 10,000 indigenous artefacts? For this reason, it happens to be the most reliable place to learn about the history of Manipur. Right in the middle of its gallery, a 54 feet boat called “Hiyag Hiren” is nestled. Besides this, a number of ancient weaponry, cutting tools, smoking pipes and Manipuri ornaments are displayed in the museum. Charging a minimal fee, it is open for all visitors every day between 10 am to 4 pm.
8. Dig Deep Inside Manipuri History at a Cave
One of the most fascinating tourist places near Imphal is the Tharon Cave as there has been proof of the Hoabinhian culture of North Vietnam residing in it centuries ago. It is situated 27 km from Tamenglong of Manipur so driving from the capital city in a private taxi or tourist bus would be the best way to reach the cave. There is a map engraved outside the cave to help out tourists explore the area without getting lost. Moreover, wearing protective gear is mandatory before entering the cave. The best time to visit this place near Imphal is springtime when a festival is organised by the local government.
9. Shop at Asia’s Largest Female-Run Market
Sightseeing in Imphal can be such a revelatory experience that once you begin the journey, taking a moment to breathe is impossible. But when you do stop for some time, make sure that the All Women Market or Ema Keithel is the place where you do it. It has more than 5000 smiling women selling traditional spices, handicrafts, shawls, fabrics and other gorgeous traditional items.
10. Experience the Magic of Manipur’s Orchid Garden
One of the most unique places to visit in Imphal is the Khonghampat Orchidarium located on National Highway 39. With more 120 varieties of orchids at this garden, no tourist can forget the picturesque views of this place. The sweet fragrance from the flora and the mind-blowing views of this orchid garden is an experience that every tourist must have while sightseeing in Imphal. For those interested in learning about orchid varieties, Cattleya happens to be the most exotic on here. Couples who are on their honeymoon trip in Manipur must visit this garden as it is renowned to be a very romantic place.
Now that your heart is set on visiting Imphal and the tourist places in and around the city, hurry up and book your tickets!