Khongampat Orchidarium is located 7 kms from Imphal on the National Highway no. 39. The orchidarium is a small mound in the middle of paddy field. The 200-acre green hill stood out like an island in the middle of a sea.
The cool shades created by the thick woods was just perfect for orchids to flourish. North East India is known for its rich flora and especially, a huge collection of orchid species. Since the orchids are found in the wild, it’s hard to see a lot of them at once. But a collection like this in a small confined area gives an opportunity to see many beautiful species, up close. There are around 200 named orchid species, but the local gardener was confident that in reality, there were around 500 orchid species. A lot of work has been done within a span of few years and the numbers of orchid species have shot up.
The major orchid blooming season is from April to August, during the wet monsoon season. The long rainy season is conducive for the survival of orchids. The cool shades of the thick sub-tropical forest supports a huge variety of orchid species in the State.
On the day of my visit, the orchidarium was in a pitiable state. There entrance was locked from inside. I stood there for 10 minutes before I spotted someone. In winter season, the plants curled up and withers. There was nothing much to see and the gardener seemed surprised that someone had actually come for a visit. But as the gardener took me around the place, I spotted few interesting orchids. Some of them were the smallest orchids I had ever seen. The thought of visiting the place alone when all the flowers were in full blossom, was tempting and exciting.
The place is one that draws many foreign tourists in its full blossom. Many orchids found here are endemic or are rare and found in North East India.
How to reach:
The orchidarium is 7 kms from Imphal. One can hire autos or taxis for a round trip.