Manipur is considered as one among the seven states of Northeast India. Manipur is surrounded Myanmar in the East and South, Assam in the West, Nagaland in the North and Mizoram in South. Imphal is the state capital of Manipur. Manipur state lies in latitude of 23° 68'N - 25° 68' N and in a longitude of 93° 03'E - 94° 78'E. The state occupies a geographical area of about 22,347 km.sq. The state capital Imphal is an oval-shaped valley which covers an area of about 700 square miles and is sorrounded by beautiful blue mountains. It lies at an altitude of 790 metres above the sea level. The valley slopes from North to South. The mountain ranges act as a barrier to the cold winds from North and also prevent the Cyclonic storms that originate from Bay of Bengal. Manipur state consists of four major river basins - they are, Yu River Basin in the East, Barak River Basin in the West, Manipur River Basin in the central part of Manipur and a part of Lanye River Basin lies in the North. The estimated annual total water resources of Barak and Manipur basins are 18.487 cubic kilometers. The Barak River which is the largest river of Manipur originates from the Manipur hills and joins with its tributaries namely Irang, Maku and Tuivai. Subsequent to its intersection with Tuivai, the Barak river turns North forming edge with Assam State. Manipur river basins consist of eight rivers namely; Imphal, Iril, Manipur, Sekmai, Chakpi, Nambul, Khuga and Thoubal. The adjoining hills are the source of these rivers.

Nearly all the rivers that originate from the valley area are in their full-grown stage and hence dump their sediment stack in the Loktak Lake. However, the rivers draining the Manipur hills are relatively young because of the mountainous topography through which they flow. The rivers of Manipur hills are corrosive in nature and become turbulent during rainy season. Major rivers that drain the Western part of the state are Barak, Jiri, Maku, Irang and Leimatak. The rivers that drain the Eastern part of the state is the Yu River Basin which includes the Chamu, Khunou and other small streams.

Physiographically Manipur is classified into two distinctive Regions, viz;

  • A remote area which consist of rugged hills and slender valleys
  • The central area of flat plain with the entire allied land forms.

These two physiographical divisions of Manipur are not merely different in relation to physical features but are also distinct in relation to the diversity of Flora and fauna. The notable aspect of the central plain is its Loktak Lake. The lakes cover an area of about 600 km sq. The elevation at which it lies varies from 40 m at Jiribam to 2,994 m at Mt. Iso Peak near Mao Songsong.

The soil cover of Manipur can be broadly classified into two types namely; Red ferrugious soil which is seen in the hilly area and Alluvium soil in the valley area. The soil of valley regions commonly contains small fragments of rocks, loam, sandy clay and sand and they are quite diverse. The steep slopes consist of a very thin Top soil and these top soils of steep slopes are subjected to high soil erosion which results in culverts and infertile rocky slopes.

Climate and Vegetation of Manipur

Around 64% of the state is covered by natural vegetation. The vegetation of Manipur consists of a variety of plant life that ranges from Short and Tall grasses, Bamboos and Reeds to a variety of tress. The forest area of Manipur state is broadly classified into 4 types they are:

  • Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forests
  • Dry Temperate Forests
  • Sub-Tropical Pines
  • Tropical Moist Deciduous

The main forest resources that are growing in plenty are Teak, Oak, pine, Uningthou, Cane, Bamboo, Leihao etc. Besides that Tea, Rubber, Coffee, Cardamom and Orange are grown in hilly regions. Rice is one among the staple food for Manipuris. Rice and Cash crops constitutes the chief vegetation in the valley regions.

Manipur state that lies 795 meters above the sea level is stuck between hills on all sides. The climatic conditions of the state is influenced by the geography of these hilly regions. Lying in the North Eastern corner of India this state experience a normal cordial climate, though the winter is a bit chilly. During summer months the maximum temperature experienced by the state is around 32 degree C and in winter the temperature often falls below zero. As a result of the western disturbances, hilly regions sometimes experience snow fall. In Manipur the Coldest month is January and the warmest month July. Best time for tourism in Manipur is from October to February since the climate remains clear.

The state will be wet during the rainy season that begins from the month of May and last till the mid of October. The state receives an annual rainfall of about 1467.5mm. The monsoon varies from light rainfall to heavy showers. The normal rainfall of Manipur improves the fertility of the soil and facilitates agricultural processes and irrigation.