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The Floating Islands

The Floating Islands

Located 48 km off Imphal, Loktak is the largest fresh water lake in North-East India. Much of the Manipur is located 6500 ft above sea level and the lake which is the lowest lying area of the state is surrounded by picturesque bluish highlands making it a serene, beautiful spot quite like none other. The prime attractions of this beautiful stretch spread over 312 sq km are the exquisite floating islands or phumdis as locals call it. From a distance they look like average islets seen in shallow waters but actually these are heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition. This mass is held together by a felicitous effect of the water levelís seasonal rise and fall.

During the three-month dry season when the water level drops the phumdi sinks to the lake bed where it is compacted and replenished, putting down roots into the silty ooze. When the water rises it is uprooted and refloats.Two to three metre thick in places the phumdi is sturdy enough to carry a fishermanís hut. A single mass of phumdi can grow up to 40 sq km.

The lake has been the breeding ground of number of riverine migratory fish from the Irrawady- Chindwin river system and continues to be vital as a fish habitat. The other attraction is the Kelbul Lamjao national park on the fringes of the Loktak Lake. The only floating national park in the world is the last natural habitat of sangai-the dancing deer of Manipur.

It is also home to other endangered species including a species of python. You can explore the park by travelling around in tiny small boats or you can climb up the watch tower located on the hillock of Bebet Ching. A cruise through the tranquil waters of the lake rich in marine life will give you an experience of a lifetime.

How to Reach
Air: The nearest airport is Imphal, 48 km away
Rail: The nearest railhead is Dimapur 219 km away
Road: Regular buses ply from Guwahati, Dimapur, Silchar and Kohima

Where to stay
Tourism Deptís Hotel Imphal
Forest Lodge at Phubala
Tourist bungalow at Sendra Island