Manipur is one of the seven states of North east India, and one of the Seven Sister States. The state is bounded by Nagaland in the north, by Mizoram in the south, by Assam in the west, and by Myanmar in the east as well as in the south. The state capital of Manipur is Imphal. The state lies in between latitude of 23°83’N – 25°68’N and longitude of 93°03’E – 94°78’E. The total area covered by the state is 22,347 km². The capital lies in an oval-shaped valley of approximately 700 square miles surrounded by mountains and is at an elevation of 790 metres above the sea level. The gradient of the valley is from north to south. The presence of the mountain ranges not only prevents the cold winds from the north from reaching the valley but also acts as a barrier to the cyclonic storms originating from the Bay of Bengal.
Physiographically Manipur may be characterised in two distinct physical regions – an outlying area of rugged hills and narrow valleys, and the inner area of flat plain, with all associated land forms. These two areas are not only distinct in respect of physical features but are also conspicuous with regard to various flora and fauna. The valley region would have been a monotonous, featureless plain but for a number of hills and mounds rising above the flat surface. The Loktak lake is an important feature of the central plain. The total area occupied by all the lakes is about 600 km². The altitude ranges from 40 m at Jiribam to 2,994m at Mt.Iso Peak near Mao Songsong.
The climate of Manipur is largely influenced by the topography of this hilly region which defines the geography of Manipur. Lying 790 meters above sea level, Manipur is wedged between hills on all sides. This north-eastern corner of India enjoys a generally amiable climate, though the winters can be a little chilly. The maximum temperature in the summer months is 32 degree C. In winter the temperature often falls below zero, bringing frost. Snow sometimes falls in some hilly regions. The coldest month is January, and the warmest July. The ideal time for tourism in the state, in terms of climate, is from October to February, when the weather remains bright and sunny without the sun being too hot. The state is drenched in rains from May until mid-October. It receives an average annual rainfall of 1467.5 mm. However, the rain distribution varies from 933 mm in Imphal to 2593 mm in Tamenglong. The downpour ranges from light drizzles to heavy showers. The normal rainfall of Manipur enriches the soil and helps in agricultural processes and irrigation. The South Westerly Monsoon picks up moisture from the Bay of Bengal and heads towards Manipur, hits the eastern Himalaya ranges and produces a massive amount of rain in the state.
Manipur has a population of 2,388,634. Of this total, 58.9% live in the valley and the remaining 41.1% in the hilly region. The hills are inhabited mainly by the Nagas, Kukis (Chin-Mizos)and smaller tribal communities and the valley mainly by the Meiteis (including Meitei Muslims known as Meitei Pangal or Pangal and “Bhamons” who are literally non-Meiteis). Some Naga and Kuki settlements are also found in the valley region. Racially, Manipuri people are far more similar to South East Asians than to mainland Indians.
Tulihal Airport, the airport of Imphal, connects the state capital with Delhi, kolkata and Guwahati. National Highway NH-39 links Manipur with the rest of the country through the railway stations at Dimapur in Nagaland at a distance of 215 km (134 mi) from Imphal. National Highway 53 connects Manipur with another railway station at Silchar in Assam, which is 269 km (167 mi) away from Imphal. The road network of Manipur, with a length of 7,170 km (4,460 mi) connects all the important towns and distant villages.
Manipur as the name suggest is a land of jewels. Its rich culture excels in every aspects as in martial arts, dance, theater and sculpture. The charm of the place is the greenery with the moderate climate making it a tourists’ heaven. The beautiful and seasonal Shirui Lily at Ukhrul (district), Sangai (Brow antlered deer) and the floating islands at Loktak Lake are few of the rare things found in Manipur Polo, which can be called a royal game, also originated from Manipur.