Bishnupur is called the cultural and religious capital of Manipur. The land where Lord Vishnu resides, the land which is beautifully dotted with dome-shaped terracotta temples and the home of the famed dancing deer, Sangai - Bishnupur is heavenly. Located 27 kilometres from Imphal, the capital of Manipur, Bishnupur was previously known as Lumlangdong. It is also the district headquarters of Bishnupur district which is bounded by Senapati and West Imphal districts on the north, Churachandpur district on the west, Chandel on the south-east and Thoubal district on the east. The Thangjarok River flows through the town of Bishnupur. Bishnupur is also known as Bishenpur.
Wildlife and Much More – Tourist places in and around Bishnupur
Bishnupur is home to the dancing deer- Sangai. It is the only place where this rare breed of deer can be found in the world today. The Sangai lives in the southern parts of the Loktak Lake. The Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in eastern India. The Sangai today lives in the protected area of the Keibul Lamjao National Park, also in Bishnupur district.
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is also home to other animals such as the hog deer, water fowls, and otter among other. The national park is one of the most important and famous tourist attractions of the district. The Keibul Lamjao National Park is bounded by the Loktak Lake and offers a spectacular view for the tourists.
INA Memorial Complex is dedicated to Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and houses a museum containing relics of the erstwhile freedom fighter.
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The floating marshes on the lake, locally called Phumdi makes the lake look green in colour. It is also the reason why most of the vegetation around the area is submerged in water. The villages around the Loktak lake live a tough life beside these floating vegetation.
People and Culture of Bishnupur
Most of the people residing in Bishnupur are Meities, the most prominent ethic group of Manipur. They follow Hinduism and are Vaishnavites. There are several other tribes and communities living in Bishnupur such as the Meitei Pangals (the Manipuri Muslims), Naga, Kabui, Gangte, Kom etc. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood of the people of Bishnupur. They also celebrate several festivals round the year, the most popular being Lai Haroba festival.
The Lai Haroba festival is dedicated to Lord Thangjing, an ancient pre-Hindu deity. It is celebrated during the month of May, and many people come from far off places to participate in the festivities. The Ebudhou Thangjing Temple is dedicated to Lord Thangjing, a traditional deity of the land. The temple is worth a visit.
The Cheiraoba festival, which is celebrated across Manipur, takes place in the month of April. During this time, all the houses are well-lighted, and it marks happiness in the family. Incidentally, the Cheiraoba festival also coincides with the Meitei New Year thus increasing the importance of the festival.
Similar to Holi which is celebrated in other parts of India by the Hindus, the Manipuris celebrate the Yaoshang festival. The vibrant festivity continues for five days in the month of February/March. The Bisnhupuri Manipuris are known to celebrate the Yaoshang festival with much gusto.
Enthralling History of Bishnupur
There is a lot of history of how Bishnupur became the temple town of Manipur and the tale is quite interesting. King Kyama who ruled over the area in 1467 A.D had good relations with the Pongs. With the help of the Pongs, King Kyama successfully attacked Kyang, a Shan kingdom. The battle was won by the two kings and in appreciation to the recent success King Pong gifted an idol of Lord Vishnu to King Kyama. Ever since the idol has been kept in Lumlangdong and subsequently the town came to be known as Bishnupur, the place where Vishnu resides. It was during this time the Vishnu worship became popular in the state.
The ideal time to visit Bishnupur is between October to Feburay owing to reasons favourable for a traveller.
Bishnupur is accessible by all modes of transport, by road, rail and air.