|| 22,327 Sq. km.
An alluring atmosphere of mystery, a land wrapped in velvety silence, is what instantly strikes a visitor to Manipur, which literally means 'the land of jewels'. Described by Lord Irwin as the 'Switzerland of India',Manipur boasts of an exotic landscape with gently undulating hills, emeraldgreen valleys, blue lakes and dense forests. It is the sheer tranquility enveloping it, interrupted only by a soft breeze, that sets it apart from the other North-Eastern states, and makes it the ideal getaway.
The characteristics of the Manipuri people vary according to geographical divisions. The Meitees who speak Manipuri, inhabit the plains, while the Kukis and Nagas of the hills, speak different Tibeto - Burmese dialects. Early Manipuris were followers of Hinduism, and believed in the hierarchyof the Gods. The advent of Christianity resulted in the conversion of thepeople residing in the hills, while the majority of men from the plains continued to be Hindus. Manipuris are enthusiastic polo players, and the game of polo is said to have originated here.
In the field of art and culture, Manipur is best represented by the classical Manipuri style of dance. A style peculiar to itself, its inspiration is purely religious, and the dance usually relates to the Raas Lila, thelove story of Radha and Krishna. Lai Haroba (feast of dances, representing celebrations of Gods / Goddesses), Pung Cholem (Mridanga dance),Mao Naga dance, the Priestess dance of Malbe Jagoi, ThangalSurung dance etc. reflect the vibrant culture of the 29 different tribesof Manipur.
Important festivals of Manipur are the Dol Yatra (Holi) in March, Rath Yatra (Car fesival) in June-July and Durga Puja in September-October. Manipuri Hindus celebrate New Year Day, in the second week of April.
The handlooms and handicrafts of Manipur are renowned all over the country. Every house possesses a loom, and Manipuris weave with a passion and style, unrivalled by any other state. Manipuri. The exquisite handlooms and handicraftsare sold at Khwairamband market, the largest exclusive women's market inthe country, which is a must on every visitor's itinerary.
Manipur has a lot to offer to tourism enthusiasts. Imphal, the beautiful capital city in the valley; Mao and Ukhrul, the picturesque hill resorts;Taminglong, with its exotic landscape; Chandel, home to amazing tribes;Khonggom and Moirang, reminders of the British Raj in India; and a glimpseinto the neighbouring country of Burma, through Moreh town on the border...a visit to these magnificent places, leaves a lingering impression on the mind of the visitor.