A Walk Through History With These 8 Historical Places In Manipur

Deep dive in the cultural heritage and history of the North-East with these seven historical places in Manipur.

Published On May 19, 2023 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024

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Manipur, popularly referred to as the 'Land of Jewels', is a stunning state situated in India's northeast. Manipur is a treasure trove for history buffs and others interested in discovering different civilizations because of its stunning natural surroundings, vibrant culture, and long history. There are many historical places in Manipur,  each of which has a unique narrative to tell, which is evidence of its rich legacy.

Historical monuments of Manipur, which range from ancient temples to massive forts, are noteworthy not only for their stunning architecture but also for their cultural, and religious, historical significance. They serve as a reminder of the state's long history and the many different cultural influences that have shaped it.

A visit to Manipur is a need for anyone who enjoys exploring other cultures and learning about history. There are many historical places in Manipur which offer a window into its enthralling past. Each monument is distinctive and displays the various ages and kings who have left their imprint on Manipur.

The historical monuments in Manipur are not merely popular tourist destinations; they also play a crucial role in the cultural identity of Manipur. They serve as a reminder of the state's colourful past and the people who have helped shape and advance it over time. Each monument has a unique tale to share, and visiting them is an opportunity to engage with Manipur's history and cultural heritage.

Many of the historical places in Manipur are still in use today, and they continue to have a significant impact on the society. The monuments are an essential part of the state's social fabric, playing a role in everything from religious rituals to cultural festivals.

Historical places in Manipur are not only significant from a cultural and historical perspective, but they are also stunning works of architecture. The craftsmanship and expertise of the architects and craftspeople who created the temples, forts, and palaces are on display in them. The elaborate carvings, stunning paintings, and distinctive designs are a reflection of the Manipuri people's aesthetic sensibilities.

In the centre of Imphal, the capital of Manipur, sits the Kangla Fort, one of the historical places of Manipur. Several Manipuri kings, including the Meitei kings, used this fort as a significant centre of power. The British demolished the fort in the nineteenth century, but it has since been rebuilt to its original splendour. 
Where: In the centre of Imphal city, close to the banks of the Imphal river
Best time to visit: November to February is the best time to travel
Entry fee: For Indian nationals, the entry fee is Rs 20, whereas it is Rs 200 for foreigners
What makes it unique: Fusion of Meitei and Hindu architectural traditions

Imphal is home to the Shri Govindajee Temple, a revered historical temple. Lord Govindajee, regarded as the primary deity of the Manipuri Vaishnavas, is the subject of this temple. The temple's distinctive architectural design combines Hindu and Islamic elements. 
Where: Close to the palace compound in the centre of Imphal
Best time to visit: From October to November, when the Ras Lila event is held annually
Entry fee: Rs 30 for foreigners and Rs 10 for Indian citizens
What makes it unique: Hindu and Islamic architectural fusion is what makes the monument unique

The War Cemetery serves as a memorial for the World War II troops who lost their lives. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is in charge of maintaining the cemetery, which is situated in Imphal. 

Where: Close to Imphal International Airport, in the centre of Imphal City
Best time to visit: November to February is the best time to travel
Entry fee: Entrance is free
What makes it unique: The monument's serene surroundings and atmosphere

In the centre of Imphal, there is a historic market called the Khwairamband Bazaar. The bazaar is renowned for its distinctive fusion of contemporary and conventional elements. It is one of Manipur's oldest markets and one of the top historical places in Manipur and has been a significant trading hub for generations. 

Where: Close to the polo ground, in the centre of Imphal
Best time to visit: November to February is the best time to travel
Entry fee: Entrance is free
What makes it unique: Special combination of classic and modern components

The Imphal War Memorial is a historical monument in Manipur honouring the World War II soldiers who took part in the Battle of Imphal. The Indian Army looks after the memorial.

Where: Close to Imphal International Airport, in the centre of Imphal City
Best time to visit: November to February is the best time to visit
Entry fee: Entrance is free
What makes it unique: This monument will make you emotional and evoke a sense of pride as you visit it

One of the off-beat historical places in Manipur is a town called Moirang is roughly 45 kilometres from Imphal. During World War II, it served as a key hub for the Indian National Army. The town is well-known for the INA Memorial Complex and the lovely Loktak Lake.
Where: 45 km from Imphal city.
Best time to visit: October to March is the ideal time to visit
Entry fee: Entrance is free
What makes it unique: Rich cultural heritage and involvement in the war for Indian independence

Manipur's Thoubal district is home to the historic Thangal General Temple. Thangal General is honoured in the temple as a renowned soldier and Manipurese folk hero. The temple, which is among the oldest in Manipur, has a distinctive architectural design.

Where: Manipur's Thoubal district
Best time to visit: The Lai Haraoba festival, which is held in May–June, is the ideal time to visit
Entry fee: Entrance is free
What makes it unique: Linked with Manipuri folklore and distinctive architectural style

33 km away from the capital city of Imphal is the Khongjom War Memorial, dedicated to the bravehearts that laid down their lives in the Anglo-Manipuri war in 1891. Khongjom Day in remembrance is celebrated every year on April 23 and holds extreme historical significance for the locals. 

Where: Kheba Hill, Indo Myanmar Road

Best time to visit: Accessible all year long but winters are a pleasant time for sightseeing

Entry Fee: Entrance is free

What makes it unique: The monument is an important symbol of patriotism and courage

Manipur is rich in historical sites and cultural legacy. For anybody interested in learning more about India's rich cultural legacy, these eight historical places in Manipur are a must-visit since they offer a window into Manipur's illustrious history and culture. Every monument, from the imposing Kangla Fort to the peaceful War Cemetery, has something special to offer. So get ready for an incredible voyage through time and culture and pack your luggage for Manipur.

If you’re not a history buff, North East India is a foodie’s paradise as well, with many popular dishes that are renowned all through the country. If you’re planning a summer vacation in the Northeast, do try the ubiquitous dry fish


Photo: Shuterstock