Geography of Manipur


The Topography of Manipur

Manipur lies between 23.83 degree and 25.68 degree north latitude and 93.03 degree and 94.78 degree east, longitude. The state is full of lush greenery everywhere and is famous for its splendid plateaus, hill ranges and beautiful valleys that are fully of flowers.
This north eastern state is famous for its lakes and swamps that are an important part of the geography of the state. The Loktak Lake is the greatest lake in Manipur for its fresh water and is a wetland that has importance in Manipur and is of international significance.

Flora and Fauna

The hills and the valleys of the state have extended from the Himalayan region and are a part of the Himalayan ranges. Thus the climate supports the greenery here and the rich flora is a result of the climatic conditions that prevail in this region. The hills comprise of 90% of the land of Manipur. There are five hill districts and these five hilly district accounts of about 38% of population of Manipur. In these hilly regions there are around 33 scheduled tribes and minor tribes. The mountain ranges prevent the cold winds blowing into the valley and are a strong barrier that prevents the cyclonic storms that blow from the Bay of Bengal. The diverse variety of flora in Manipur is characteristic of the climatic conditions and the geographical location.The hills are full of various types of flowers, plants and trees that adorn the exquisite hills which make it a paradise on earth.

It is well known as the “Switzerland of India” and is truly magnificent. The state is home to a vast array of beautiful flowers and birds. The state boasts of around 500 types of orchids and around 472 have been identified. The place is famous for the lily that is known as the “Siroi Lily” found in the forest of the hilly region. This treasure house of exotic plants and flowers are perched between hills and lie to the extreme north east of the country. However, almost 67% of land in under forest. With the varying temperature and climatic conditions of Manipur, you can see varied flora add to the charm and beauty of the region.

The variety of flora and the plant life thriving here has earned the top 10 bio-diversity hot spots in the world. The fauna is worth watching and you can find many endangered as well as local species of animals here. The climate can be categorized as a tropical and sub alpine and varies according to the hills and mountains. Due to this variety of climate you can find animals of different spices in abundance, that thrive happily given the climatic condition.Manipur is famous for its fauna. Varieties like clouded Leopard, Horn bills, Blyths Tragopan, spotted Linshang, Burmese Pea-fowl, Ukhrul, Hoolock Gibbon, and the slow Loris are some of the prominent species found in the region. Manipur has four varieties of Hornbills that are unique to this place. The Sangai is another distinct fauna of Manipur, known as the dancing deer and is also recognized as the state animal. Salamander is also a unique animal found in Manipur and found in Siroi. Some very rare species of animals can be seen in the Manipur wilderness. You can also see the Sambar, hog deer and Muntjac that live here. The slow Loris is one of the oldest animals found in the hills.

Manipur has four major river basins like the Barak river basin, Manipur river basin, Yu river basin and the Lanye River basin. The Barak River is the largest river in Manipur that originates from the hills and joins its tributaries. On the other hand the Manipur river basin comprises of eight major rivers known as the Manipur, Imphal, Iril, Chakpi, Khuga, Nambul, Sekmai.The Macaques and Hoolock Gibbon can be found on the western hills. The Hoolock Gibbon is the only ape found in the country and is locally known as Yongmu. Whereas the slow loris and the Macauw and the pig tailed Macaque are rare primates. The Rhesus monkey is another animal found around the wilderness. The huge Indian Civet Viverra Zibetha and the Otter Lutra along with the Vivericula Indica and the wild boar Sus Scrofa are the larger animals found in plenty. The Himalayan black bear and the Temminck golden cat are extremely rare wild cats that can be seen in the wilderness.


Climate

The climate of Manipur is mostly tropical with alpine climate. The northeastern region has an amiable climate and is very cold in the winters. The temperature in the summer is 32 degrees C and in the winters it falls below zero. The rains last from May till mid-October. The average rainfall experienced is 1467.5 mm.Manipur is a state where you can see hills all around. The state is situated at 790 meters above the sea level. The climate varies according to the elevations of the land forms in the state. The weather in the plains is however, similar to that of the other states in the country. But the hilly regions are different and enjoy a pleasant climate with dry and low temperature. The weather in the state is highly influenced by the winds blowing from the Bay of Bengal and is conducive for heavy rainfall in the rainy season. The state experiences three main seasons like summer, winter and the rainy season.

Manipur does not experience extreme climatic conditions although the winter temperature may go below zero degree. Otherwise the climate is quite favorable during the whole year. Summer's in Manipur begin from March to May. The temperature during these months experiences an average of 28 degree Celsius. The weather is bright and sunny and the hills experience a dry and warm climate, while the plains are hot and dry like any other part of the country. Many tourists can also be seen during these months to experience the hilly climate of these regions.During the winter the average temperature is 8 degree Celsius and is mostly experienced in the plains, while the hilly regions are cold and freezing below zero degrees Celsius. Cold winds can be experienced that can snow the hilly regions to some extent.

As the Himalayan region is close by and the hills are actually an extension of the Himalayas, the climate here is similar to the Himalayan region, but not extreme. Winters begin from November and stay on till February. The coldest month is January, as cold winds freeze the atmosphere.The monsoon season begins in May and continues till the mid of October. The average rainfall received is 1467.5 mm annually. The rain fall distribution varies from region to region in Manipur. Imphal receives 933 mm of rain, while Tamenglong receives 2593 mm. the rains help in the agriculture of the state and enriches the soil and help in production of good grains.

Location

Manipur comprises of an area of 22347 sq km and is the 23rd largest state of India. The state has a population of 2721756 approximately and is a hilly region with a natural green hills and landscape.It is perfectly located on the slopes of the Himalayas making it one of the most beautiful sites in the country. The state has various states and a country to its borders like Myanmar to the east and states like Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west. The state stretches between 23.83 degree and 25.68 degree north latitude and 93.03 degree and 94.78 degree east longitude. The state has 9 districts spread over the state. You can also make use of the maps to see the exact location of Manipur and find out the important cities, valleys, hills, lakes, rivers and many other important places in the state of Manipur. The tropic of cancer passes by very closely to the southern boundary of the state of Manipur.

The capital of Manipur is Imphal which is the state's largest city. The other cities are the Chrchandpur, Tamenglong and Ukhrul. Manipur is basically a hilly region and valley that comprises of around 60% of the total area of the state. The flat plains comprise of around 40% of the area. Most of the population lives in the hilly region and agriculture too is carried on in the hills. Manipur also has ethnic tribes that reside in the forest areas of Manipur. Imphal covers an area of 22.327 sq kilometes. The valley comprises of 1843 sq kilometers and the remaining hills cover around 20,484 sq kilometers.The places of interest for the tourists are plenty and one can locate innumerable sites that are very important geographically, and for tourism in Manipur. All the area of Manipur is protected by various hills like the Naga Hills, Mizoram hills, west Manipur hills, china hills, and the east Manipur hills. The state is very sensitive due to its proximity to the international border.

Mineral Deposit

The state government of Manipur has been developing the mineral industry for quite some time and measures have been taken to explore more into this field. The geological survey of India studies three districts namely; Churchandpur, Ukhrul and Chandel for minerals in its hill pockets.Considerable quantities of mineral deposits have been found here, like copper, salt, chromite, lignite, limestone, nickel and asbestos. However, the important mineral found here is lignite. Beds of lignite have been discovered in the southern part of Manipur. Careful extraction is necessary for the minerals to be extracted from their places. Government has proposed to work with the locals and bring out the minerals for its utilization.

Minerals play an important role in the revenue of the state. As this state is rich in minerals, it has a bright future ahead of it. But there are some hurdles that are a setback to utilize more of the land for the production of these useful minerals. The total mineral production in 1990 – 91 was 130 tones and in 91-92 it was 64 tones. This alone valued for Rs. 114 thousands and Rs 42 thousands. In 93-94 the production was 642 tons and in 94-95 it was 784 tons. It decreased to 470 tons in 95-96 and 62 tons in 96-97. However, there is no production carried out since 1998 in the state of Manipur.The state is the only place to produce Chromite in the north eastern region. It produced around 600 thousand tones of chromite that was worth 6.34 crores in the year 1995 -96 to 1998.

Various minerals can be found in the state like limestone, which is important for cement and is found in parts of Ukhrul district like Hundung, Kangoi, Kasom etc. Asbestos has been found in the areas of Moreh, Kwatha and Nepali Basti and in the eastern part of Ukhrul. Chromite is seen near Shiroi hills and near the Nepali Basti of the Chandel district. Copper is found in Chandel district, Ninghti and Kwatha and Humie of Ukhrul district.

Importance of Soil Conservation

Manipur is a sensitive place ecologically and due to the population explosion, the place is slowly getting degraded as forest are being cut down at an startling rate and the atmosphere is getting polluted as well.If this goes go for long, it would be difficult for Manipur to stay the same beautiful place called the ‘Jewel of India'. Manipur state carries on agriculture on a large scale which makes it absolutely necessary for the government to take measure to ensure the soil remains on the land and does not wash away. The fertile top washes away if there are not tree roots to hold on to the soil. This leads to loss of soil which in turn can cause problems to the crops. If this is not stopped, huge loss can occur to agriculture and also to the atmosphere of the state.

Government of Manipur has undertaken various programs that help to maintain the soil and thus help agriculture. It is also the responsibility of the people of Manipur to help maintain the ecology of the state. The state government and the central government have come up with programs that can help soil conservation to a large extent. Programs like the National Watershed Development project in Rain fed areas can help save the state from mass soil erosion as many trees will be planted on the barren lands and help water to sustain in the hills of the state.

The soil of Manipur can be classified into four divisions like the Inceptisiols, Ultisols, Entisols and Alfisols. There are around 8 suborders of soil and 13 great groups and 23 sub groups. Soils like the Ultisols, Entisols and the Alfisols cover a total area of 38.4%, 36.4% and 23.1% respectively. 1.9 % comprises of lake and marshy land. The soil is conducive for crop and horticulture and is great for various other crops and fruits. Horticultural crops like pineapple, orange, lemon and pears etc can be seen grown in plenty in the state.Due to the geographical reasons, the soil conservation is significant for the ecology of Manipur.

Last Updated on 15 March 2013