Renowned for being the only floating park in the world, the Keibul Lamjao National Park lies 53 km away from Imphal, in Bishnupur district of Manipur. Islands formed by mats of dense aquatic grass gives it an appearance of floating on the lake.
The unique wetland ecosystem of the national park is spread over 40 sq km. The park encompasses three hills of Pabot, Toya and Chingiao. The park is surrounded by marshes and hillocks. The hills provide shelter for its large mammals during the monsoons.
The park is situated on the southern shore of the Loktak Lake – the largest fresh water lake in Eastern India. The Loktak Lake has floating islands on it called Phumidis (locally called phum) which are inhabited by fishermen. The thickness of phumdi varies from few centimetres to two meters. The phumdi floats with 4/5 part under water.
The national park is home to the endangered brow-antlered deer more commonly known as Sangai. Rare and endangered, the sangai or the Brow-antlered deer (Rucervus eldi eldi), numbered 14 in 1975. The forward protruding antlers appears to come out from the eyebrow which lends it its name, the brow-antlered deer. After the declaration of the area as national park and with strict conservation measures, the fear of its extinction has been greatly reduced.
The brow-antlered deer is also called the dancing deer. The deer has also been inspiration for Manipuri dance traditions. The Sangai was reported extinct in 1951, but after being re-discovered it has become Keibul Lamjao’s prime attraction.
Rare wild cats like the marbled cat and the Asian golden cat are occasionally seen in the national park. Other animals like the Himalayan black bear and the Malayan bear are also seen. A variety of fishes and reptiles like tortoises, snakes like viper and cobras are also found.
In and Around
Clouded leopards, though very difficult to spot, are seen in the Keilam Hills of Churachandpur district and the Yangoupokpi-Lakchao area of the Indo-Burma border, both to the south of the park. The serow, locally called sabeng, also occurs in these areas.
The Keilam Hills also house the rare Marbled cats.
The only sangai in Manipur, or indeed in the world, are seen in the phumdis at the southern end of the Loktak Lake in the Keibul Lamjao Park.
Hog deer are also seen all over the park.
Elephants occur in a few, scattered herds all over Manipur. They migrate to the Taret river banks in summer, when water is scarce.
The winter and spring- approximately October to February- is the best time to visit Keibul Lamjao.
How to Reach
Manipur’s capital, Imphal (48 km. from the park) is connected by flight to major cities like Delhi, Guwahati, Calcutta.
Dimapur (215 km. from Imphal) is the nearest railhead. Jiribam, a small town on Manipur’s border, 225 km. from Imphal is an alternative, from where one can proceed to Keibul Lamjao by road.
Imphal is connected by road with Guwahati (469 km.) through National Highway No.39 and Silchar through National Highway No. 53. The park is about 48 km. from Manipur’s capital, Imphal and can be approached by bus or on private vehicles.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
The government tourist bungalow on Sendra Island located in Loktak Lake is ideal option. Rest houses are also available at Phubala close to the park. Imphal provides better accommodation facilities.