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Home>>East India>>Manipur

Manipur


History of Manipur

Manipur is the ancestral territory of the Manipuri people. Manipur is currently under Indian colonial rule. It is situated in the north-east corner of India and bounded in the east by Myanmar (Burma). The present territorial area is 22,327 sq.km. It lies within 23.83 degree N to 25.68 degree E latitude and 93.03 degree E to 94.48 degree E longitude.

A fertile alluvial valley extends north-south in the middle and it is surrounded on all sides by hill ranges forming a part of the eastern Himalayas. Though constituting only about 12 p.c. of the total geographical area, the valley is settled by more than 75 p.c. of the total population of 1.8 million (1991 Census).

The royal chronicle Cheitharol Kumbaaba maintains an nonstop historical record of the land and its people since 33 A.D. Throughout the history, the valley was, and continues to be, the core region where the distinctive Manipuri culture and way of life took shape and where political developments having repercussions throughout the Indo-Burma region often originated.

Among the Manipuris, the Meiteis form the predominant ethnic group and they traditionally inhabit the valley. The surrounding hill ranges are settled by many tribes. They are broadly grouped together and known as the NAGA and the KUKI tribes. While the Meiteis thrive on wet cultivation, the tribal populations subsist largely on the slash-and-burn technique of cultivation and depend heavily on the valley for their needs.

In recent decades, however, the steady influx of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent into the hill areas and into parts of the valley and also the internal migration of tribes from the valley, have disturbed the traditional settlement patterns and demographic balance both in the hills and the valley of Manipur.

The tribal ethnic groups have their mutually distinct cultural heritage. The members of a tribe communicate among themselves in their own dialect, but the Manipuri language is the lingua franca used for inter-tribal communication and by all Manipuris settled inside and outside Manipur.

The tribal dialects are in varying stage of development; they are all written in the Roman script. The Manipuri language had evolved from Meiteilon, the native language of the Meiteis which is written in its own script. All the tribal dialects as well as the Manipuri language belong to the Tibeto-Burman family of languages, just as all the indigenous ethnic groups in Manipur are of the southern Mongoloid stock racially.

Of the 18th national languages constitutionally recognized in India, the only language from the Tibeto-Burman family so recognized, though done so under political compulsions of the ongoing liberation struggle, is the Manipuri language.

Anybody whose mother tongue is Manipuri language or who identifies himself/herself as a Manipuri, whether living inside or outside Manipur, belongs to the Manipuri people. There are about three million Manipuris in the world today. The Manipuris as a people are thus bound by a common language and culture and by inheritance of a common ancestral territory now called Manipur. Imphal

Overlooked by a circle of distant hills, the capital of Manipur, Imphal, lies in an almost completely flat basin at an altitude of around 785m. Though devoid of dramatic monuments, it is at least given a sense of openness by its large avenues; but even the rivers and canals that run through the town are unable to give it any visual appeal. Instead, the real interest in Imphal is supplied by its people, whose handsome Meithei faces are adorned with the long and distinctive tikki (forehead mark) of Vishnu.

Although the valley is predominantly Hindu, Imphal feels more like Southeast Asia than India, and visitors tend to be confronted by a language barrier: most people understand neither English nor Hindi.

 Geography of Manipur

  • The green state of Manipur, and Imphal its capital, has all the fine, merged, tints of a water colour.
     

  • Manipur described as a Jewel of India lies south of Nagaland & North of Mizoram.
     

  • It shares the international boundary with myanmar on the western & Southern side.

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.

Language

MANIPURI LANGUAGE (MEITEILON):
Meiteilon , the official language of Manipur , has a long past history .Manipuri Language and Literature has been offered as a subject upto M.A. level. It is the link language among all different tribes and people inhibiting it.

MEETEI MAYEK (MANIPURI SCRIPT)
Manipur has its own script (Mayek ) which has been in use since the ancient times. Though it has been stopped to be in use for certain period , now it was made revived and became increasingly popular.

TRIBAL LANGUAGES
There are 29 different dialects spoken in Manipur. Five main tribal dialects recognised by Government of Manipur for medium of instruction & examination upto class V are :

  • TANGKHUL

  • HMAR

  • PAITE

  • LUSHAI

  • THADOU/KUKI

How to Get There

Tourist Information
Imphal is connected by regular domestic flights link with Delhi via Guwahati. Additional flights link Imphal with Dimapur (In Nagaland). Dimapur, 215-km, away is also the nearest railhead. NH 39 links Imphal with Guwahati and NH 53 links it with Silchar , both in neighbouring Assam . But for the tourist, it is best to fly in.

Domestic tourists do not need any permit but if one is travelling or transiting through Nagaland, an inner line permit is necessary. Subdivisional officer, Dimapur will issue permits for in bound travellers while deputy commissioner, Imphal, will issue the same for out bound travellers. Valid identity cards with a picture are necessary for obtaining permits. There are both private hotels and government run tourist lodges in Manipur. For more details, contact: Tourist Officer, Directorate of tourism, Imphal, Manipur.

Air - The capital of Manipur, Imphal, is well connected with the rest of the country by air. Imphal connects the place with Guwahati, Delhi, and Calcutta.

Rail - As Manipur has no railway network, the nearest railhead to reach Manipur is Silchar in Assam.

Road - Manipur is well linked with the rest of the country by both national and state highways. The state transport corporation plies regular scheduled buses from Imphal to the other cities in the region

 Agartala- 465 kms, Aizwal- 374 kms, Dimapur- 216 kms, Guwahati- 579 kms,
Itanagar- 413 kms, Kaziranga- 346 kms, Kohima- 123 kms, Shillong- 643


More Information About Manipur........

 
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