by Srishti Batra – A couple of weeks back, there was a Department of Biotechnology meeting for the NER-DBT Chemical Ecology Program held at the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable development (IBSD) in Imphal, Manipur. The meeting was wonderful and enlightening as it highlighted the chemical ecology potential of the Northeast region and scientists working towards the same. I had an opportunity to give a talk about my doctoral research and Srinivas from the lab presented his work in the form of a poster.
This was our first visit to the Northeast region of India and we had one extra day after the meeting for exploring the beauty of Imphal and nearby regions. We went to local attractions in Imphal, namely Kangla fort, Govinda temple and Ima market one evening. My favorite of the three was Ima market, which is Asia’s largest women’s market. It was amazing to see women being the work force in the market, selling a variety of things from clothes, food and vegetables to bamboo items.
Next day, we were a group of eight people who started our exploration of Manipur at 6 am in the morning and headed towards Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is the only floating national park in world and is an integral part of beautiful Loktak Lake. The park is home to endangered species of Eld’s deer, also called Sangai or dancing deer, which are endemic to this region. We reached park around 7.30 in the morning – it was raining with occasional cold winds. We went up to the view point and waited for a long time for deer to move around, but since it was raining, they were hiding and did not come out to graze. However, we spotted one hiding in the bushes.
After spending an hour or so in the national park, we went to Lokatak lakeside. Had a nice breakfast there and admired the beauty of the lake and its phumdis. Phumdi is a local name for floating decomposed plant materials in the lake. There are some in circular ring shapes, which are called athapums, and they are artificially created for fishing. Lokatak is the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast region, also known as a floating lake with an amazing aerial view.
While enjoying a boat ride in Lokatak, we spotted Sangai, famous for its beautiful brow-antlers. It was mesmerizing and we approached closer to the particular phumdi, to have a nice view of the beautiful deer. As we reached closer to phumdi, we realized that Sangai was not alive and what we saw was head of a dead one, supported by iron bars. It had been placed there for tourists like us who visit this place only for Sangai. We had a laugh of a lifetime after being trolled by tourism. After visiting the lake and national park, we came back to our guesthouse in Imphal to pack our bags and head back home.
Sharing pictures from the beautiful trip.