Home of Manipur’s largest tribe, the Meitei Tribe: Thanga, Manipur
Thanga is a tiny village located around the buffer area of the famous Loktak Lake in Bishnupur district of Manipur in North East India. Thanga is situated at around 2455 feet above sea-level and is located around 55 km from the state capital of Imphal.
There are two ways of getting to Thanga one is to hire a private taxi from Imphal and drive to Thanga. The journey takes just over an hour and is the most convenient way of reaching Loktak Lake and the village of Thanga.
The second option is to take a combination of a shared vehicles first up is the 50 km drive from Imphal to Moirang. Vehicles for Moirang leave from the city centre area near Ina market. The journey takes a little over an hour, as you drive through numerous tiny villages and townships along the way.
Once you reach Moirang, you have to walk for another 150 metres which take you over a small bridge and there you’ll find plenty of smaller tuk-tuks which leave for the village of Thanga. These vehicles leave only when at full capacity and here full capacity includes at least four sitting on top and two hanging so a total of around 12-14 people.
From Moirang to Thanga, the distance is 5 km and the last three kilometres of your drive is when you’ll start to see the first glimpse of the lake and its surely going to be love at first sight. Loktak is a place which few have heard about and even fewer have experienced.
Getting around Thanga is relatively easy, you can walk, take a cycle or hop on to the numerous shared vehicles and explore the region. Getting around is pretty much a hassle free process.
The locals from Thanga belong to the Meitei Tribe which is the largest tribe in Manipur in terms of pure numbers and the language spoken is Manipuri which was originally a Tibeto-Burman trade language. Everyone in Thanga is a devotee of Lord Sanamahi and they are firm believers in his power. You will find Sanamahi idols at various places in the village.
Once in Thanga, a few must do things include a visit to the tiny island of Karang which is a short boat ride from Thanga. While on your way to Karang, is when you’ll get to meet and experience how warm and kind hearted the people from Manipur are. Even though most can’t speak your language, they will go out of their way to lend in a helping hand.
Next up is the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating national park in the world and is home to the Sangai (brow-antlered deer). To get there, head back to Moirang and ask for Keibul Lamjao. You’ll be pointed in the right direction for a shared taxi, which will drop you off near the entrance to the park. The national park has a very nominal entry fee and there are a couple of view points from where you’ll surely get a glimpse of Sangai in the Biomass.
Finally, the two most important things to do in Thanga include an early morning boat ride into Loktak Lake whereby you will get to not only paddle your tail boat but also try your hand at fishing. The boat ride will take you to the various fishing islands on the river. These are small islands made of Phumdis which is a floating bio mass island. These islands are around 15-20 metres in diameter and have a couple of thatched homes made of tin and wood.
The last thing to do is a hike, not a very long one but to the top of the hill adjutant to the village. From the top of the hill, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of what Loktak Lake and the surrounding areas look like. Going there for sunrise or sunset is an absolute must. The entire lake glitters with various shades of orange, yellow and even appears golden at times.
Accommodation options in Thanga are limited with just a couple of home stays and one luxury resort by the lake side. If you’re the kind who wants to get a real experience of the place then the home stay option without a doubt is the best. The home stays are located in the village and by living with the locals, you’ll get to experience much more than just Loktak Lake. Home stay experience is highly recommended.
Food options are very limited with a couple of small dhabas which serve Manipuri fish curry with rice and chicken. Vegetarian food is also available with dal, mixed vegetable and a few local preparations of potato. If you opt to stay in a home stay, then all three meals of the day and evening tea is taken care by the family.
While travelling to Thanga, you’ll have excellent network with Airtel and Jio providing great cell phone coverage. Even while you’re on top of the hill for the sunset, the cell phone coverage is great.
The best time to visit Thanga is during the dry months from end of October to end of March. Post that, the place is soaked with heavy rains and that makes travel around hard.
When it come to travel gear, warm clothes are highly recommended since at night the mercury level drops considerably. Mosquito repellant and a water heating rod are a must (since there are no geyserS) unless you’re okay having a bath with lukewarm water.
Thanga is a fishing village which will turn out to be paradise for a rugged traveller and a living nightmare for a typical luxury tourist. Ideally, a couple of days is enough to explore the place. But if you want to soak in the experience, then you’ll need at least need three to four days in all.
For a similar experience >> click here