Despite a couple of interesting attractions existing in the state of Manipur we were completely confined to the capital Imphal, due to the security situation. Currently some 36 illegal militant outfits are operating in the state and kidnappings of foreigners for ransom are common. Imphal is a bit short of interesting sights, but I liked the look of this Community Hall with features of traditional Manipuri architecture (especially the tower). Notice also the rickshaws on the streets. By Indian standards Imphal is a very uncongested city, with a majority of non-motorised traffic. This could be construed as a good thing, but it is probably mostly due to chronic economic underdevelopment.
Another sight showing the relative lack of development. An old wooden bridge serves as a crossing point over a creek in the middle of the city. The bridge is surrounded by garbage, which no one bothers removing. The bridge itself is not without a certain charm, though.
Another interesting example of what is probably a fusion of English and Manipuri architecture. This is the gate to Kangla, the old and somewhat neglected centre of the English administration in Imphal.
A soldier in a colourful uniform guards the Kangla gate. In general Manipur is an exceptionally militarised state with the Indian Army maintaining a very strong presence here to keep various rebel and militant groups under control. You quite simply see heavily armed soldiers everywhere, and unlike other places in India they don't look relaxed, but rather very alert and on edge. However, I didn't dare taking pictures of them, except for this guy who was more than happy to pose.
One of Imphal's few actual sights: the Sri Govindajee Temple. The main point of interest within the temple are these two highly suggestive domes. Manipur is a majority Hindu state, although it is also home to many Christians. As a general rule for the North East the plains are mainly Hindu and the Hilly areas either Christian or Buddhist and within Manipur that distinction also applies. Imphal is situated on the plains and therefore very much a Hindu city.
A bell tower at the same temple.
Naughty children acting silly for the camera just outside Sri Govindajee Temple.
The best place to roam around in Imphal is the covered Mother's Market, where virtually all the stalls are run by elderly women (
Some of the "mother's" in the market.
A very handsome Drake.
And now time for some art. The cycle rickshaws in Imphal are all very interesting. Each and every one of them has a unique and different piece of landscape pained on the back. Here is one rickshaw walla with his ricky.
Another rickshaw with a different landscape.
And finally, yet another.