Work and fun in Manipur

Last week I had an opportunity to present my doctoral research at a meeting held at Imphal, Manipur. It was hosted by Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable development (IBSD), Imphal. Two day meeting was wonderful and enlightening as it showcased the chemical ecology potential of north east region and scientist working towards the same. This was my first visit to North east region of India and I had one extra day after the meeting so went on exploring the beauty of Imphal and nearby regions.

We went to local attractions in Imphal, namely Kangla fort, Govinda temple and Imamarket one evening. My favorite of the three was Ima market, which is Asia’s largest women market. It was amazing to see only women making the work force in market, selling variety of things from clothes, food and vegetables to bamboo items. I ended up buying the beautiful Manipuri wrap around skirt from this place which will remain a fond memory of Manipur.

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Next day, we were a group of eight people who, started our exploration of Manipur at 6 am in the morning and headed towards Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is the only floating national park in world and is an integral part of beautiful Loktak Lake. The park is home to endangered species of Eld’s deer, also called Sangai or dancing deer which is endemic to this region. We reached park around 7.30 in the morning, it was raining with occasional cold winds. We went up to the view point and waited for a long time for deers to move around, but since it was raining, they were hiding and did not come out to graze. Though we spotted one hiding in bushes. After spending an hour or so in national park, we went to Lokatak lake side, which has a small Manipur tourism resort and restaurant. Had a nice breakfast there and admired the beauty of lake and its phumdis. Phumdi is local name for floating decomposed plant materials in lake, there are some in circular ring shapes which are called athapums, and they are artificially created for fishing. Lokatak is largest freshwater lake in north east region, also known as floating lake with a mesmerizing aerial view which can be viewed when you enter Imphal by airplane. While enjoying a boat ride in Lokatak, we spotted Sangai, famous for its beautiful brow-antlers, it was mesmerizing and we approached closer to the particular phumdi, so as to have close view of beautiful deer. As we reached closer to phumdi we realized that Sangai was not alive and what we saw was head of a dead one which had been supported by iron bars. It had been placed there for tourists like us who visit this place only for Sangai. We had a laugh of lifetime after being trolled by tourism. Anyway, we got to see Sangai. After vising lake and national park, we came back to our guest house in Imphal to pack our bags and head back home.

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