With 75% of the state covered with forest, Manipur, which lies on the border of India and Myanmar, is home to 2 national parks and 2 wildlife sanctuaries.
Here’s all you need to know about the 2 national parks of Manipur:
1. Keibul Lamjao National Park
Spread across 40 sq km, Keibul Lamjao National Park is situated in the Bishnupur district of south Manipur. It is the only floating national park in the world and is characterized by the presence of phumid: floating decomposed plant material. The national park is composed of moist semi-evergreen forests. It has a rich amalgam of aquatic, wetland, and terrestrial ecosystems.
The wildlife sanctuary is a natural habitat of the endangered Eld’s deer, also known as thamin or brow-antlered deer. Indigenous to Southeast Asia, they are spread across Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Manipur in northeast India. Eld’s deer was discovered in Manipur Valley in 1838 by a British officer.
Eld’s deer are characterized by bow or lyre shaped antlers of the males, which sweep back in a single curve about 99 centimeters (39 inches) long and are shed every year. A smaller tine grows toward the front of the head. The legs are long and thin, and it has a long, slender body with a large head and ears and a tiny tail. Their coats are rough, coarse and change color with the season. They feed on grass and forbs.
Other mammals found here include bears: Himalayan black bear and Malayan bear; deer: Muntjac deer, mouse deer, hog deer, spotted deer, and musk deer; leopards; elephants, monkeys; and fishing cat.
The national park is known for its varied aquatic flora besides birds and reptiles.
If you are a bird watcher, you can spot the Wreathed Hornbill, Pied Hornbill, Great Pied Hornbill, Eastern Shite Stork Rufus necked Hornbill, Brown-backed Hornbill, Bamboo Partridge, Green Peafowl, Hooded Crane, Black eagle, and Shaheen Falcon.
The best time to visit Keibul Lamjao National Park is October-April.
2. Sirohi National Park
Sirohi National Park, located in Ukhrul district of Imphal, was established in 1982 to preserve the flora and fauna of the area. For birdwatchers, the national park is home to a number of avifaunae such as eagles, vultures, owls, pheasants, and warblers as well as unique species of birds such as Blyth’s tragopan, Mrs. Hume’s bar backed pheasant, and tragopans. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot tigers and leopards, among others.
The topography of Sirohi National Park comprises dense tropical forests, valleys, and Shirui Peak, where you can find the Shirui Lily not found anywhere else in the world! Known as Kashong Timrawon in the Ukhrul dialect, the flower blossoms in the months of May and June, making for a spectacular sight. It is the state flower of Manipur and an annual festival called the Shirui Lily Festival is held in its honor. Naga tribes believe that if somebody destroys the Shirui Lily, the Naga community will be at threat; hence, the Shirui Peak is revered by the locals.
The best time to visit Sirohi National Park is January-March.
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