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Manipur

 

 

Status: North Eastern State of India
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History of: -
Population: 23.88 Lac

 

Manipur is a state in northeastern India making its capital in the city of Imphal. Manipur is situated between 23.83oN and 25.68oN latitude and 93.03oE and 94.78oE longitude. It comprises 1820 sq.km of flat plateau of alluvial valley and 20507sq.km of hill territory and forms a part of the Himalayan mountain system which carries this cup-shaped wonderland inside its series of hill ranges. Manipur is bounded by Nagaland in the north, Mizoram in the south, upper Myanmar in the east and Cachar district of Assam in the west. The valley portion of the state is surrounded by hill ranges from all sides. Manipur had been a Union Territory from 1956 and became a full-fledged state from 1972. There are many mythical stories about the origin of the name Manipuri. Some local people narrate its link with the Mahabharata. They say the name is from Mani, a jewel. In the Mahabharata, Manipur ( 'Mani' -Jewel, 'Pur'- City or place ), the remote northeastern State of India, is mentioned as the meeting place of Arjuna, the third pandava and Chitrangada, the crown Princess of Manipur. By virtue of its geographical situation, Manipur is a shining pearl in the Himalayan system. Manipuris call it as Meithei Leipak. In the valley Kongba (Imphal), Eeril and Thobal are the big rivers which originate from the hills and flow down into the valley and forms the drain for all waters flowing into the valley carrying them off by Sagnu river through the southern ranges of hills further into the Ningthee. The Bark river flows through its western borders. The natural lake Loktak is a big water reservoir of 36 metres depth. It is 8 miles long from north-west to south-east and 5 miles broad at its greatest breadth from the east to west. The dark green Eichornia (water Hyacinath) reed and other aquatic plants floats on its surface abundantly. In the valley there are numerous small lakes and swamps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encircled by nine hill ranges, Manipur is marked out by a picturesque valley in the midst. The total area of Manipur is 22,327 sq. km. Out of this only 2,238 sq. Km are valley while the remaining areas are covered with hilly tracts. The hills around the cup-shaped valley add to the natural beauty of Manipur. The hills are part of the Himalayas and are termed as Sub-Himalayan ranges. They are spread into ranges with irregular serrated ridges with tapering cliffs. There are several names given to these ranges. On the west : Nunjaibong, Kala Naga, Chakka Nungba, Kanpum and Kopru-Laimotol. On the north : The Khhunho spurs, Thumion (Mayang Khang), Laison and Sirohi farar. On the East : Surameti or Chinganguba, Somrah, Kassom, Nupitel or Maphitel and Yomadoung and on the South : Hawbi. Among these Chinganguba or Surameti peak is the highest with 12,557ft. All the hills are covered with luxuriant growth of forests with nagesar, jurul, India-rubber, tan, oak, ash, teak, palm (in eastern slsopes). There are different varieties of bamboo all over Manipur. Pinus Longifolia is found in Somrah basin and in northern portion. It has been planted on the hillock adjacent to Imphal town. The forest department of Manipur should make it a policy of reforestation of these entire ridges if they are really keen on aesthetic reflection of Imphal town in its peripheries. In the high hills the red and white rhododendron is seen. The flame of the forest trees are also found on the way to Tamenglong. Manipur boasts of an exotic landscape with gently undulating hills, emerald green valleys, blue lakes and dense forests. Manipur, literally meaning the land of jewel, is a paradise on earth when Mother Nature has been extra generous in her beauty. Manipur is considered a sensitive border state. Foreigners entering Manipur (including foreign citizens born in Manipur) must possess a Restricted Area Permit which can be obtained from the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office in the "metros" (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata) or certain other state government offices. Permits are valid for only 10 days, and visitors must travel only on tours arranged by authorised travel agents, in groups of four. Furthermore, they may come to Imphal only by air and will not be permitted to travel outside the capital.

Climate

The climate of Manipur is moderate. The valley gets the reflection of the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter from the neighbouring hills. The months of November, December, January and February remain dry and the remaining eight months are more or less rainy. January is very cold in winter and May-June are the hottest in summer.

People

The characteristics of the Manipuri people vary according to geographical divisions. The population of Manipur comprises different social groups. They are Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis and Miscellaneous groups. The entire population of Manipur is distributed into two regions: the hill population and the valley population. The valley people are supposed to be the descendants of four old tribes called Khuman, Luang, Moirang and Maithai. The hill people are broadly divided into Naga and Kuki tribes. The Meitees inhabit the plains, and the Kukis and Nagas live in the hills. Early Manipuris were followers of Hinduism, and believed in the hierarchy of the Gods. Many of the hill-dwellers have converted to Christianity, while the majority of those residing in the plains continue to be Hindus. Older forms of worship, however, continue to exist in the veneration of forest deities known as Umang Lais. They are represented as metal masks, similar to the deities of other Himalayan people such as the Himachalis of Kulu. Like the Nair women of Kerala, the women of Manipur are trained in the fierce local Martial art known as Thang-ta. Dressed in black, they look like lithe, vicious felines. When their swords clash, sparks fly. The concept of unity in diversity was a remarkable characteristic of this state. In the history of Manipur there has not been even a single instance of communal or ethnic dispute. But in recent times, Manipur has been the scene of bitter ethnic conflict. The ethnic animosity between the Kukis and the Nagas stems from xenophobic insecurity. Over 1,000 have been killed, more injured, houses burnt down and thousands rendered homeless, in the conflicts in the past six years. The people of Manipur are simple and largely untouched by the pollution of modern living. Their wants are few, they love outdoor life, find communion with nature and depend on the gifts of nature like rice for food, fish to supplement their dish. The general facial characteristic of the Manipuris are of the Mongolian type. There is a great diversity of the features among them. The people are very good looking and fair. It is not uncommon to meet girls with brownish black hair, brown eyes, fair complexions, straight noses and rosy cheeks. The Manipuris are decidedly a muscular race. Fat people are rare. They have good chests and well formed limbs. These are the people whose folklore, myths & legends, dances, indigenous games and martial arts, exotic handlooms & handicrafts are infested with the mystique of nature.

 

Map of Manipur

 

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