Manipur in Northeast India is known for its beautiful landscapes and rich culture. From age-old textile traditions to unique markets bursting with surprises, here are a few unmissable experiences in the region.
Ima Keithel is Manipur’s most vibrant andunique market, run exclusively by women. Translating literally to ‘Mother’s Market’, this is a centuries-old hubof commerce, where nearly 3000 women man the stalls. Wander through thealleyways browsing everything from local produce and household goods tobeautiful handlooms and handicrafts. You’ll see baskets heaped with dried fishand banana leaves, local rice and snacks. The market is a great place forinsights into the local culture and life of the region. You can chat with theladies running the stalls, polish your bargaining skills, and even take homelocal souvenirs from this unique, women-led market.
From the air, Loktak Lake looks like anendless expanse of water filled with giant lily pads. On closer inspection,visitors will find that these are, in fact, floating ‘islands’ on a vastfreshwater lake. The sight is surreal: rings of green vegetation are suspendedon the water, clusters of huts sitting on these land masses, and fishermen’sboats gliding across the water’s surface. Loktak Lake is a unique ecosystemmade up of these masses of green vegetation, known as phumdis, formed naturally and tethered to the lake bed by thickroots. Local communities live on these phumdis, depending on them for theirlivelihood. Take a trip from Imphal to see this stunning natural sight.
Manipur is known for its rich handloomtraditions, and weaving is an intrinsic part of the community’s culture. You’llsee women dressed in brightly coloured textiles featuring traditional motifslike the sangai deer and peacocks. Meet a weaver and watch as she works theloom and shares stories of her craft. Learn about the moirangphee and phanek, the traditional attire wornin Manipur, and even try on some exquisite designs in silk and cotton if you’dlike to.