Into Imphal

The drive around the last mountain ridge, which takes me as high as 1300 ft before heading down the winding hillside. Despite the drop down the mountain road into the spectacular plain, Imphal is still at a height of 800 m and sits in a bowl shaped plain between a ring of mountains.

Imphal is a city of many histories. Among the tribes that inhabit the Manipur region, the Meiteis, or Meeteis are the majority ethnic people and are often referred to as the Manipuris. The Meities can trace their tribal history back to around 33 AD. The region has a rich history and colourful festivals, with fabulous displays of their culture and handicrafts and the people of Imphal are naturally creative. The famous Rasa Lila is considered to be the epitome of the classical dance of Manipur and this dance shows the eternal love of Radha and Krishna. It is generally performed in Mandop on Kartik Purnima, Sarada Purnima and Basanta Purnima nights. Most of the Rasa Lila dances are performed at Shri Govindaji Temple of Imphal.

The area has seen many bloody battles and invasion forces from the Burmese in the east. The most famous conflict is the Battle of Imphal in 1944. Faced with the invading Japanese army, the city was the scene of a furious battle. By 1944, the Japanese army were facing defeat in a number Pacific locations, including Burma. Advancing on the Manipur region in order to invade India, they were held off by Indian and British forces.

I have ‘booked’ my virtual self into the Classic Hotel facing the park. It has secure parking and a snip at £47 for a standard suite. Always remember the taxes they don’t tell you about. I will try a restaurant in the area and get a good night’s sleep. Burma tomorrow!

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