A Travel Guide to Imphal

Imphal Airport Directory (IMF)
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The capital city of Manipur, Imphal, is rich in history, nature, and culture. Being the capital, it is the most developed city, and the main business centre. Imphal is located in a valley, and surrounded by hilly terrain, thus offering a picture-perfect landscape. Imphal is one of the oldest Indian cities at over 2,000 years old? There is evidence of its historical past that you can see as you explore the city. You will notice Imphal has been shaped by several effects of the devastating battle of Imphal. Today, Imphal is divided into East Imphal and West Imphal, with the River Imphal separating these two sections. The Kangla Fort is literally located in the heart of the city, between these two sections.

Best time to visit Imphal

September to April is the best time to explore the city as the weather remains pleasant, offering the best holiday experience.

Most spoken languages in Imphal

  • Manipuri
  • Hindi
  • English

How to reach Imphal

  • By air: You can book your flights to Imphal and arrive at the Imphal International Airport. It is 8km away from the city centre. IndiGo operates non-stop flights between Imphal and Kolkata, Guwahati and Agartala.
  • By train: There is no railway station in Imphal. The nearest railway junction to Imphal is Dimapur (215km away from the city). 
  • By bus: Imphal has several state-run buses to and from one city to the next, and even states from Manipur to Nagaland.
Baggage Allowance
15Kg
7Kg
Min °
Max °

Places to visit in Imphal

  • Kangla Fort: Start your trip by ticking off Manipur's highlight - the Kangla Fort. Built as the seat of the Kingdom of Manipur, this is an excellent site to learn more about Manipur's Meetei monarchy and the incremental way the fort was built by successive rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • Imphal War Cemetery: Next, head to the Imphal War Cemetery, a solemn but beautiful site that pays tribute to the 1400+ soldiers who died during the Battle of Imphal during World War II. Maintained immaculately by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the site gives you a history about how Japanese troups were successfully fought off in 1944
  • INA War Museum: If you love history based on war, this is the best place to visit. In Moirang, the INA Museum is dedicated to the army who fought WWII. You can see several artefacts from World War II. 
  • Shri Govindji Temple and ISKCON Temple: For the devout, Imphal has the Shri Govindji Temple and the beautiful ISKCON Temple. This architecture brings together local elements with traditional temple layouts.
  • Khonghampat Orchidarium: It comes as no surprise that Imphal is a haven for nature lovers, especially those that want to explore the neighbouring topography to discover the local wildlife. Visit the Khonghampat Orchidarium to see various exotic flowers. Simultaneously, Sirohi National Park is an excellent option for wildlife enthusiasts as you get to look at leopards and tigers, which are both said to roam in the forest.

Places to eat in Imphal

Luxmi Kitchen, Sagolband
Luxmi Kitchen, Sagolband

A favourite with the locals, this is where to stop for an authentic Manipuri thali (they serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants) which features sticky black rice with vegetables, an accompanying juice and more.

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Naoba’s Chakhumang Restaurant, RIMS Road
Naoba’s Chakhumang Restaurant, RIMS Road

For that craving Chinese food, the momos and steamed fish are what to order at this eatery located close to RIMS Institute. If you happen to stop by in the rains, get the hot and sour soup, which will warm you as you wait out the weather.

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Big Chill Foodies, North AOC
Big Chill Foodies, North AOC

With everything from coffee to noodles to grilled prawns on the menu, this is an eatery that has something for everyone. Known for its chicken wings, you can come back to try something new at every meal.

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Shopping places in Imphal

Imphal has several local shopping places, and two of the malls you can go for shopping and buy clothes and souvenirs. They are: 

  • Gambhir Shopping Mall
  • Amos Shopping Plaza

Street shopping in Imphal

  • Ima Keithel Market: Your best bet for shopping in the city is to visit the Ima Keithel market, a market that sees only women vendors selling everything from meat and fish to local handicrafts. Among the goods you'll find for sale are phaneks (sarongs), innephis (stoles) and more. It is also known as Khwairamband Bazaar and is a must-visit.
  • Tera Bazaar: It is another market worth checking out for traditional handicrafts like woven textiles and mats made of water reeds. While wandering around the city, it's also worth keeping your eyes peeled for stone carvings and local hand embroidery.

Where to stay in Imphal

ClassicHotel

The Classic Hotel The unanimous winner for the best hotel in the city is this three-star property that overlooks Kangla Fort. The 55 rooms feature modern amenities like televisions (though you should ask for those that have to air-condition, as some don’t). The in-house Classic Café and Rita Café are great places to grab a bite before heading out for a day of sightseeing.

HotelImphal

Hotel Imphal Clean, well-decorated and spacious rooms, complemented by staff that is polite and professional. Managed by the company behind The Classic Hotel, this is another reasonable option in the city. Don’t forget to take some time out and wander around the garden full of roses and other flowers.

HotelAnand

Hotel Anand Continental Within walking distance of Ima Market, this hotel is a great budget option for those that prize location. There is a spa on the premises, and everyone from the receptionist to the housekeeping team makes you feel at home for the duration of the trip, making it a functional property at which to bed down for the night.

Nightlife in Imphal

  • The Salam Juvenile Club, Salam

More reasons to visit Imphal

  • Loktak Lake: Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. You can take a boat ride on the lake and soak in the nature and witness the famous floating islands called "phumdis," which are made of vegetation.
  • Moreh: Located near the India-Myanmar border, Moreh is a bustling border town with a unique blend of cultures. You can visit the Friendship Gate and explore the local markets for international goods.
  • Keibul Lamjao National Park: This national park is situated within Loktak Lake and is home to the Manipur brow-antlered deer, or Sangai. It's a unique and important wildlife sanctuary in the region.

Places to visit near Imphal

Kohima, the capital of the neighbouring state of Nagaland, is an excellent option for those looking for a weekend getaway—it's about five hours or 140km away from Imphal. While there, make sure to explore the rolling hills and get to know the culture of the local Angami tribe. Within the state, Tamenglong is a district that is well known for its flora and fauna—home to wild orchids, lush forests and indigenous wildlife. Wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers will enjoy visiting the area. Ukhrul is another option for those looking to reconnect with nature, though getting to Ukhrul is harder than Tamenglong. If you do go, remember to come back with a bag of the local Nilai Tea.

Festivals in Imphal

  • Lui Ngai Ni: Lui Ngai Ni is a festival celebrated at the time of sowing seeds by the tribes residing in Manipur. It is a way of praying to the gods to be in favour of farming. Rejoiced with great zeal and enthusiasm, the festival is marked by the Naga tribes in three different languages, all meaning the same.
  • Kut Festival: Celebrated by the Kuki Chin Mizo tribe of Manipur in November, Kut Festival celebrates the ties between humans, peace, and harming. Initially hailed as a tradition later evolved into a huge festival. The tribals pay gratitude to God by offering various objects the god by singing, dancing and having a friendly competition.
  • Heirku Hindongba: Celebrated in September (on the 11th day of Langbal month) is the Heirku Hindongba. The prime event of this festival is the boat race held on the Bijoy Govinda canal in Manipur. This festival brings joy and zeal to everyone, especially youth who participate in the boat race with enthusiastic team spirits.

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