Manipur is a state in north-eastern India. It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, Assam to the west and the neighbouring country Myanmar to the east.
It is a hilly region and the total area covered by the State is 22,347 sq km an elevation of 790 metres above the sea level. The slope of the valley is from north to south. The four major river basins in Manipur State are the Barak River Basin to the west, the Manipur River Basin in central Manipur, the Yu River Basin in the east, and a portion of the Laurie River Basin in the north. The soil cover can be divided into two broad types—the red ferruginous soil in the hill area and the alluvium in the valley.
The mountain ranges prevent the cold winds from the north reaching the valley and bar cyclonic storms originating from the Bay of Bengal. The climate of the State is salubrious with approximate average annual rainfall varying from 933 mm at Imphal to 2,593 mm at Tamenglong. The temperature ranges from sub-zero to 36°C.
Etymologically, Manipur means ‘land of jewels’. Manipur has a historical background. It came under the British rule as a Princely State Kangleipak in 1891. During World War II (1939-1945), this state was the scene of many fierce battles between the Japanese and the Allied Forces. The Japanese were beaten back before they could enter Imphal, which was one of the turning points of the war.
After the war, the Manipur Constitution Act of 1947 established a democratic form of government, with the Maharaja as the Executive Head and an elected legislature. When India achieved Independence in 1947, Manipur acceded to the new Indian Union. In 1949, Maharaja Budhachandra was summoned to Shillong, capital of the then-Indian province of Assam. The legislative, assembly was dissolved on the controversial annexation of the State with the republic of India in October 1949.
However, Manipur was a union territory from 1962 and later became a full-fledged State in 1972. The capital of the State is now Imphal. Now Manipur has a unicameral legislature of 60 seats with the Chief Minister as the Executive Head.
Manipur has a population of 2,71,756 as of 2011 census. Of the total, 58.9% of inhabitants live in the valley and the remaining 41.1%, in the hilly regions. The hills are inhabited mainly by the Naga, Kuki, and smaller tribal communities, and the valley mainly by the Meitei, Pangal, and Bhamons. Some Naga and Kuki settlements are also found in the valley region.
A separatist tendency began in 1964, although momentum to a more violent phase did not occur until 1978, The separatists demand a sovereign state from the union of India. Of the 34 groups, the most prominent is the United National Liberation Front(UNLF). The Kuki insurgent groups want a separate state for Kuki. The situation is further complicated because insurgent groups are not united.
The official languages are Manipuri and English. Hindi is spoken primarily by migrants (Mayaang) from northern India. The literacy rate 79.85% as of census 2011. As of religion, Hinduism is 46%, Christianity 34%, Muslim 9%, and others 11% in Manipur.
Manipur has a unique culture. A classical Manipur dance is based and inspired by the theme of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha’s love story and the devotion of Copies towards Lord Krishna. The costume is elegant that gives lustre to the beauty of the art. This is a very exciting dance.
As for transportation, Tulihal Airport is the only airport in Manipur— it links Manipur with Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Silchar and Agartala. National Highway NH39 connects Manipur with the rest of the country through the railway station at Dimapur in Nagaland. The National Highway NH53 connects Manipur with another railway station at Silchar in Assam. The road network of Manipur connects all the important towns and distant villages.
Manipur has got its rich tourism industry. The beautiful hilly scenery and greenery with the moderate climate make it a tourists’ heaven. Some of the main tourist attractions are—Imphal (the capital city), Shree Gobindajee Temple, Keibul Lanjao National Park, Loktak Lake and Sendra Island, Manipur Zoological Gardens, Leimaram Waterfalls, etc.