Keibul Lamjao National Park
This park floats. Situated on the Loktak Lake, the Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating national park in the world. Declared a sanctuary in 1969, Keibul Lamjao attained national park status in 1977.
The unique wetland ecosystem that has several streams running through it, is surrounded by marshes, hillocks and the Loktak Lake. The lake is covered entirely by floating mats of the dense aquatic grass, called phum locally.
The park is home to the sangai, the dancing deer of Manipur.
This well-loved and highly endangered animal is called by many other names (Cervus eldii, Eld's deer, Thamin deer, Brow-antlered deer) and finds place in the Manipur folklore and culture. It was thought to be extinct in 1951, but has been rediscovered since then and holds a pride of place in the park.
The best way to see the park is by boat, either early in the morning or late in the evening when the sangai comes out to feed in herds. If you are adventurous, you could take a walk through the park. Be warned the phum is not hard ground.
NB: Non-Indians require Restricted Area Permits (RAPs) that are issued by the Indian missions abroad, by the Ministry of Home Affairs, FRROs, and the State Government of Manipur. For Indians, the Inner Line Permit must be obtained.
Area: 40 sq.km.
Animals: hog deer, otter, civet, waterfowls and migratory birds
Best time to visit: October - February. In summer, the lake shrinks to almost a third of its size. And after May, the monsoons take over.
How to get there:
Road: Imphal (53 km)
Rail: Dimapur (230 km)
Air: Imphal (53 km)
Where to stay: At rest houses at Phubala and Sendra. But since Imphal is not too far, staying at the capital is an option.
Contact: Assistant Conservator of Forests, Keibul Lamjao National Park, BPO Kha-Thimungei, Manipur.
Or The Director of Tourism (Hotel Imphal Complex), Near Raj Bhavan, Imphal (Tel: 0385-224603 / 220802 / 222705).
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