Manipur is situated between 23.83oN and 25.68oN
latitude and 93.03oE and 94.78oE longitude. It comprises 1820sq.km of flat plateau of alluvial valley and 20507sq.km of hill territory
and forms a part of the Himalayan mountain system which carries this cup-shaped
wonderland inside its series of hill ranges. Manipur is bounded by Nagaland in the north, Mizoram in the south, upper
Myanmar in the east and Cachar district of Assam in the west. The valley portion
of the state is surrounded by hill ranges from all sides.
Manipur had been a Union Territory from 1956 and
became a full-fledged state from
1972. Manipuri was recognised as a national language in 1992.
There are many mythical stories about the origin of the name
local people narrate its link with the Mahabharata. They say the name is from
Mani, a jewel. This jewel was formerly in the possession of the Rajas of the
country ages ago. The country was at one time named Mohindrapore but the Raja
named Bubra Baha changed the name to Manipur. According to the Mahabharata the
name Manipur was in existence before the birth of Bubra Baha and Mahindrapore
was the name of a high hill which is situated a short distance to the east of
Jawaharlal Nehru described Manipur as the 'Jewel of India'.
By virtue of its geographical situation, Manipur is a shining pearl in
the Himalayan system. Manipuris call it as Meithei Leipak. In the valley
Kongba (Imphal), Eeril and Thobal are the big rivers which originate from
the hills and flow down into the valley and forms the drain for all waters
flowing into the valley carrying them off by Sagnu river through the southern
ranges of hills further into the Ningthee. The Bark river flows through
its western borders. The natural lake Loktak is a big water reservoir
of 36 metres depth. It is 8 miles long from north-west to south-east and
5 miles broad at its greatest breadth from the east to west. The dark
green Eichornia (water Hyacinath) reed and other aquatic plants floats
on its surface abundantly.
In the valley there are numerous small lakes and swamps.
The hillsaround the cup-shaped valley add to the natural beauty of Manipur.
The hills are part of the Himalayas andare termed as Sub-Himalayan ranges.
They are spread into rangeswith irregular serrated ridges with tapering
cliffs. There are several names given to these ranges. On the west : Nunjaibong,
Kala Naga, Chakka Nungba, Kanpum and Kopru-Laimotol. On the north : The
Khhunho spurs, Thumion (Mayang Khang), Laison and Sirohi farar. On the
East : Surameti or Chinganguba, Somrah, Kassom, Nupitel or Maphitel and
Yomadoung and on the South : Hawbi. Among these Chinganguba or Surameti
peak is the highest with 12,557ft. All the hills are covered with
luxuriant growth of forests with nagesar, jurul, India-rubber, tan, oak,
ash, teak, palm (in eastern slsopes). There are different varieties of
bamboo all over Manipur. Pinus Longifolia is found in Somrah basin and
in northern portion. It has been planted on the hillock adjacent to Imphal
town. The forest department of Manipur should make it a policy of reforestation
of these entire ridges if they are really keen on aesthetic reflection
of Imphal town in its peripheries. In the high hills the red and white
rhododendron is seen. The flame of the forest trees are also found on
the way to Tamenglong.
soil is considered fit for all kinds of grain crops, vegetables and fruits.
Sirohee hill in Ukural is famous for the Sirohee lily. The species of
this plant is endemic to that particular hill only.