What Is India News Service
Saturday, April 14, 2007




Quick Information

State Area (Sq. Km.)


State Capital


Major Language(s)


Number of Districts








Growth Rate 1991-2001

30.02 %



Urban Population

23.88 %

Sex Ratio (Females per 1000 Males)


Literacy Rate

68.87 %


77.87 %


59.70 %


Legislative Assembly


High Court, Guwahati


Dr. Shivinder Singh Sindhu


Raj Bhawan, Imphal - 795001

Office No.

0385 - 2220009 

Residence No.

0385 - 2221333


0385 - 2220278



Chief Minister

Sri Okram Ibobi Singh


Thoubal Athokpam, Thoubal

Office No.


Residence No.





Chief Secretary Sri Jarnail Singh , IAS/ MT : 74



Office No.

0385-221144 , 0385-220064

Residence No.



(0385) - 2222629





General Information


Located in northeast India, Manipur is bounded north by Nagaland, east by Myanmar (Burma), South by Myanmar (Burma) and Mizoram, and west by Assam.

Manipur: The Switzerland of India

Described by Lord Irwin as the 'Switzerland of India', Manipur boasts of an exotic landscape with gently undulating hills, emerald green valleys, blue lakes and dense forests. It is the sheer tranquility enveloping it, interrupted only by a soft breeze that sets it apart from the other northeastern states, and makes it the ideal getaway. Manipur, literally meaning the land of jewel, is a paradise on earth when Mother Nature has been extra generous in her beauty. And from the very inception, this princely state of Manipur has always been a shinning outpost of the country in the sparse of the eastern Himalayas. 

Manipur is a part of India both from the point of view of geography and culture. It never lost its basic link with the mainstream of the Indian culture. The culture of Manipur has been a part of Indian culture. It accepted aspects of Indian culture and transmitted them to Burma, China and other lands of East Asia. On political grounds Manipur can hardly be separated from India. We find the invaders from Cachar, Tripura, etc., during the successive periods of it's history. The religious movement of Manipur in the 18th century conveys the spirit of universality and strengthen the bounds of unity. It asserts that Manipur is a part of Bharatavarsa.

Origin of the Name of Manipur

There are different names commonly used in discussing Manipur by different neighbouring people. To quote W. McCulloch, “The country inhabited by the Muneepoorees is by the inhabitants of Cachar it is named Moglei ; by those of Assam Mekhlee and by the Shans or those who inhabit the country east of Ningthee or Khyendwen river it is known as Cassay of which term the Burmese word Kathe is a corruption.” The narrative of Symes and the maps of that period give the name “Cassay” to this country.  In Rennell’s Memoir and maps of India it is mentioned as “Meklee.” Other popular names by which it is known are Manipur and Meithei Leibak. The Mahabharata, the Bhagavata and Jaimini’s Mahabharata and Kalidas’s work used it by the name of Manipur. The name “Mekhele” as used for Manipur is mentioned in the Mahabharata and Skanda-Purana. This is found in the treaty of king Gourayam and the British East India Company in 1,800 A.D.  According to Kalika. Purana it is the place where the waist of Devi fell at the time of Daksa-Yajna. Another account declares that the outer garment, i,e., Mekhela fell to the ground in her dance in this land, Siva called it “Mekheli”.

Various meanings are given to the word “Manipur.” According to Atombapu Sharma Manipur means “naval circle on earth.” Another argument is given by some to show that Arjuna was restored to life by the Moni (gem) from the nether world and the land came to be known as Manipur. 

Another variation of the same theme that the Manipur Valley was full of water. Lord Siva, in emulation of a Rasa style was in search of a place for His devine Dance. He, in course of His search, saw this valley aand drained the excess water from it. The Imphal river with its branches, Kongba, Iril, Nambul flows towards the south. Entering into an underground canal the water gets it way out through the three big holes of the mountain “Chingnunghut” and falls into the river Chindwin which flows to the Irawadi in Burma. The Work of creation is attributed to Lord Siva. It is suggested that this arrangement cannot be an accident. There are underground and underwater passages, each 64 which has the effect of justifying the legend.  According to the will of Visnu the beautiful Valley came into existence. Various gods and goddesses took part in a dance along with Siva and Durga. This is called Lai-haraoba. It is said that Ananta was so enamoured of the dance that he brought the jewels to this country and the land is called Manipur meaning the land of jewels as it is lighted up by the splendour of the excellent gems gracing the hoods.”

According to T.C. Hodson the land was at one time Mohendrapura. But subsequently it came to be known as Manipura after Vabhruvahana’s coming into possession of the jewel. Another tradition about the name of Manipur makes out that, near Nungoibi and between Taibang- Thong there is a stone with supernatural power known as Mani or precious stone on account of which the place is known as Manipur.(8)

Most orthodox Bishnupriya Manipuris and some section of Meiteis believe that they are the people traced their ancestry with the Arjuna Chitrangada Babhrubahana episode of the Mahabharata and claiming to be the Kshatriyas as described in the Epic Mahabharata. 

On the other hand there are number of folk stories and legends regarding human inhabitation in Manipur valley. One of them holds that there was a stable kingdom with Imphal as its capital under Pakhangba, the first king of Manipur, in the first century.

In the reign of Khagemba (15th century) Shri Vishnu was worshiped in Manipur. After this period, at the end of the 17th century and at the advent of the 18th century, great force of the Neo-Vaisnavism came and spread in this land. After the king Charairongba, Vaisnavism was highly developed, in the middle of the 18th century, in the reign of king Garibniwaj Pamheiba. In his time, Shantidas Goswami from Sylhet came to Manipur and he initiated the king with his subjects into Ramandi sect.

In 1826, Manipur was brought into India by the treaty of Yandavo by Raja Jai Singh with the British at the end of the Indo-Burmese war. This followed a dispute in accession to the throne. With the intervention of the British the dispute was settled. In 1891 Churachand was nominated the Raja and it came under British rule as a princely state. During World War II Imphal was occupied by the Japanese.  After Indian independence Manipur became a Union Territory and subsequently achieved statehood in January 21,1972.


Manipur and Assam became involved in the disputes between Thailand and Burma, and Manipur took advantage of a Burmese invasion of Thailand to raid deep into its western frontier. This triggered the Burmese invasion of Manipur and Assam, which sucked in the British, ruling neighbouring Bengal. The British, to safeguard their position against the Burmese, intervened, defeated Burma and took over Assam, and brought Manipur under British paramountcy in 1891.

During the Second World War, Manipur was the scene of many fierce battles between the Japanese and Allied forces. The Japanese swept over East Asia and came up to Manipur. They were beaten back before they could enter Imphal and this proved to be one of the turning points of the War.

There are two cemeteries maintained by the British War Graves Commission in Manipur, which are the final resting places of several Indian and allied soldiers who died here.  In 1947, with British Parliament's repeal of British Paramountcy, in preparation for Indian independence, Manipur became an independent kingdom once again.

The King, Maharaja Prabodhchandra, began a process of democratisation of the state, enacting the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947, which established a democratic form of government with the Maharaja as the Executive Head and an elected legislature.

In 1949, the King Prabodhchandra was summoned to Shillong, capital of the Indian province of Assam to sign a Treaty of Accession merging the kingdom into India.

Once Manipur became part of the Indian Union, India dissolved the State's Constitution Assembly in October, 1949, and made it into a union territory from 1956 onwards.  In 1972, Manipur was elevated to the status of an autonomous state (or province).







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