The Khayang Peak is the highest peak of Ukhrul district. It lies at an altitude of 3114 m above sea level. The peak truly gives a complete kaleidoscopic view of the entire region - the flowing hills, the winding streams, undulating valleys and the colourful hamlets.
The view from the Khayang Peak is magical in simple words. Trekking up the hill to reach the peak is a favourite activity of many locals as well as tourists. While trekking up the hill, one will witness beautiful scenery all around that is bound to mesmerise one and all.
However, the Khayang peak is not very popular mainly because the adjoining Shirui Kashung Peak is more easily accessible and more popular. Travelling to Khayang Peak from Ukhrul town is not difficult. Private vehicles can be hired or else if anyone is interested in trekking, they can also walk up the hills.
A natural limestone cave, locally called Khangkhui Mangsor Cave, is an archaeologist’s delight. It is also one of the oldest archaeological caves in India. The Khangkhui Mangsor Cave is located in Khangkhui, a small Tangkhul Naga village, 16 kilometres from Ukhrul.
The cave has a huge hall also known as the durbar hall of the devil. It is believed that the devil lived in the cave. There is a northern hall in the cave which was used by the devil as his bedroom which he shared with his two wives. The two wives also had two separate chambers. In total, the cave has five tunnels.
Archaeological evidences in the Khangkhui Mangsor Cave show that the cave has been there since the Palaeolithic age and a lot of artefacts dating to that time have been found. During the Second World War, the cave was used as a shelter by the local people.
Shirui Kashong Peak is a popular tourist attraction, lying at an altitude of 2,835 m above sea level. The peak is famous for two main reasons - most of the major rivers flowing across Ukhrul originate from the slopes and crevices of the peak.
Secondly, it is the place where the famous Shirui lilies grow in this place. The flower blooms for a short period of time during the months of May and June. The Shirui lily (which has been declared as the state flower of Manipur) grows only here thus attracting many botanists from around the world.
The locals call the flower Kashung Timrawon and according to local belief, a kind spirit rests on the flower. The Shirui Kashong Peak is also home to rare birds such as Mrs. Hume’s bar-backed pheasant and Blyth’s Tragopan. The peak is just 18 km away from Ukhrul lying to the east of the district headquarters.
The Duncan Ecological Park is one of the largest parks in Ukhrul district. Located 3 km from the Ukhrul district headquarters in Phungrei, it is a popular picnic spot. It was established in the year 1984. The children’s park inside its campus is a crowd-puller and locals are regularly seen revelling in the open spaces.
However, over the years the park’s condition has deteriorated to a large extent mainly due to the lack of maintenance. The government has also failed to take any steps to promote the Duncan ecological park.
Measures are now being taken to improve the condition of the large park, and one of the first steps towards it has been the inclusion of a children’s park. Local leaders have been very vocal about their concern for improving the conditions of the park. Many have said that steps should be taken to plant trees in the park.
Japanese Pond is a pond located in Ukhrul city. The pond is used for commercially breeding fish. The area around the pond is used for terrace farming and has been adding to the economy of the district substantially. The large pond and the accompanying area around also add to the beauty of green Ukhrul.
The fish here are specially reared in the Japanese Pond amidst all modern infrastructures. The special attention that is given to the fish here has helped improve the quality as well the quantity. The initiative to use the Japanese Pond for pisciculture has been applauded by locals and has increased the employment opportunity too.
The fish from the pond is also used for trade. Since the Japanese Pond is located within Ukhrul city thus it can easily be reached on foot or on auto rickshaws. Private and state-run buses also ply on this route.
Though abundant open spaces are one of the reasons tourists visit Ukhrul, the numerous parks add to the attraction in many ways. The El Shadai Park situated right at the heart of the Ukhrul town is one such park popular among the tourists and locals alike.
Being right at the centre of the town, it is always filled with people. Children can be seen playing in the open grounds while the adults enjoy a walk around the park. The park is well connected to the other parts of the town and buses, private cabs as well as auto rickshaws are available to reach the place.
The park is embedded with beautiful flowers that sprinkle the area with colours. Walking on the shades of the blooming trees relaxes not just a tired body but also lifts the spirits. The El Shadai Park is an ideal place to spend a well-spent day of touring the outskirts of Ukhrul.
Situated on the slopes of the Achuwa Magi Hills, Kachouphung Lake is a natural lake close to Ukhrul. It is 7 km from Khayang Falls. The lake is spread over 9 acres and is roughly shaped forming the Indian map. The size of the lake usually increases during the rainy season, and if the water from the nearby Nily river is added, the size will further increase.
The Kachouphung Lake is bound by several hillocks on all sides heightening the beauty of the place. The lake has tremendous potential to attract tourists. Many colourful fish live on the lake thus increasing the scope for pisciculture too.
The lake is also called Azoa Jenephiu Magi Lake of Ukhrul. The Kachouphung Lake is an ideal location to spend a day amidst fresh water and beautiful hillocks all around. Climbing the small knolls can be quite an exciting exercise too.
The people of Ukhrul still survive on agriculture and hence most of their festivities are about harvesting, sowing, etc. Some of the popular festivals celebrated primarily by the Tangkhuls (the dominant tribe in Ukhrul) are:
Chumpha: Celebrated post-harvest during the months of November and December, Chumpha is more of a thanksgiving festival. It is also called the Feast of Mother. The women carry out most of the rituals while the men stay out all night.
Luira: Marking the sowing season, the Luira is celebrated during the months of January and March. Festivity during Luira is marked by lavish feasts, drinks and dances.
Longa Khamang: Yet another harvesting festival offering thanks to the gods. However, Longa Khamang is dedicated to children and is more of a family gathering.
Thisham: A festival marked for the dead, Thisham is celebrated in January. Among the rituals performed during the festivals is the dance for the dead.
Nillai Tea Estate is located in the second biggest town of Ukhrul district - Talui, (which is also spelled as Tolloi). The tea estate specialises in green tea and is hugely popular too. With greenery all around, the Nillai Tea Estate is fast becoming a popular tourist destination. The tea grown here is hand-plucked and sun dried enriching the medicinal qualities of the tea leaves.
The natural processing is highly valued by the locals and is becoming a hit in the market too. The unique feature of the tea grown here is that the real flavour comes out after it is boiled a second time.
Apart from the natural processing method and the unique medicinal value of the tree, the greenery all around is a treat to the eyes. While visiting the tea estate, one will cross the beautiful township of Talui which is 120 km from Ukhrul town.
Lunghar Sihai Phangrei is a long, flat hill range in the Ukhrul district. The Sihai Phangrei is a popular picnic spot of the locals also frequented by tourists. The Sihai Phangrai, also spelled as Sihai Phangrei joins the Shirui Peak which is famous for the Shirui Lilies.
The Lunghar Sihai Phangrei is very rich in flora. A variety of flowers and fruits grows in the hill range including rare orchids and fruits such as grapes, passion fruit, apple, pear, plum, peach, etc. There is a beautiful and serene waterfall that cascades down the hill range adding to the beauty of the place.
A day spent on the Lunghar Sihai Phangrei is something that will stay clearly etched out in anyone’s mind because of its virgin beauty. The term ‘Sihai’ is a general reference term used for a group of villages in Ukhrul including Sihai Khullen, Sihai Khunou and Sihai Kahaophung.
The Khayang Waterfalls is the biggest waterfall in Manipur near the Indo-Myanmar border. The waterfall is also called the Telly Waterfalls, though the locals know it by the name Khayang. According to the survey done by the district commissioner of Ukhrul, the height of the waterfall is 754 ft.
It is a majestic waterfall that slowly cascades down the hills. However, it is quite tucked away inside the jungles of Ukhrul and is not yet a popular tourist destination. Moreover, the government hasn’t taken much initiative to promote the waterfalls. It takes almost 5 to 6 days of full-day trekking over jungles, crossing rivers that one can reach the waterfalls.
Though the effort is much, the end result cannot be justly described in words. For the adventurers who prefer travelling the unbeaten roads, a visit to the Khayang Waterfalls is definitely worth it. Make sure that proper arrangements are made before trekking to the waterfalls.
A virgin forest cover yet unknown too many, Ango Ching is a place to reckon. Covering a forest area of 150 sq km, Ango Ching lies on the Myanmar border in the east while on the west the Sanalok (Chamu) river flows, the Kachouphung lies in the north and Chatric is in the south.
The way to the forest cover is mostly inaccessible as it passes through difficult terrain. Since it is yet unexplored, the natural beauty of the place is more or less intact. It is a heaven of flora and fauna. Elephants, sambars, tigers, barking deer, deer, wild bison, black bear, hook lock, leopard, horn bills, wild cat, peacock Tragopan, etc. are some of the animals found in the Ango Ching forest.
It is also a bio-diversity hub and needs adequate conservation. The government needs to step up its conversation plans to sustain such a heavenly place.