Banking on culture & nature

Manipur is focusing on promoting its nature and heritage to increase tourist footfalls, informs N. Bandana Devi, Director-Tourism, Government of Manipur.

Naveen Kumar from Imphal

Q How has tourism in Manipur fared this year?

Manipur is full of surprises for adventure and the nature lovers alike. The state has been witnessing an increase in the number of tourist arrivals, both domestic as well as international. Manipur recorded100,768 domestic tourist arrivals during the period January-August, 2016, and 1,734 international arrivals for the same period.

Q What are some of the popular tourism products?

For any visitor, the principal attraction of the state is the Loktak Lake in Bishnupur district. It is a beautiful stretch of water resembling a miniature inland sea. Sangai, the brow-antlered deer is found only at Keibul Lamjao which is a part of this lake. The Kangla Fort atthe heart of Imphal city unfolds the proud history of the erstwhile Asiatic Kingdom dating back to 33 A.D. It is the quintessential symbol of the state’s culture and heritage. The Ima Market which is counted as one of the largest only women market in Asia is at a stone’s throw distancefrom the Western Gate of Kangla. The oldest polo ground in the world, Mapal Kangjeibung is also located at the heart of the Imphal city. Siroi Lily, a species of lily is found nowhere else in the world other than the Siroi Hills range in Manipur. The Dzuko in Senapati and the Bunning in Tamenglong offers the adventure lovers an irresistible challenge with its natural beauty.

Q Tell us about your most recent tourism initiative?

The annual Manipur Sangai Festival is organised to highlight the tourism potential of the state. In the recent years, the festival has assumed greater significance by drawing participation of various foreign delegates and exhibitors, many Indian states and a number of cultural troupes. The increasing participation of Southeast Asian countries at the festival also makes it a special event for outbound travellers looking for travel information on countries like Myanmar and Thailand.

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