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Geography of Manipur-History, Climate and People | North East India Info

Manipur lies in North-Eastern region of India. It forms the extreme eastern border of India. It extends from 93°03' east to 94°78' east longitudes and 23°80' north to 25°68' north latitudes. 

It is bounded on the north by Naga Hills and Tuensang district of Nagaland; on the east by the Sorma tract and upper Chindwind district of Myanmar; on the south it is surrounded by Chin Hills of Myanmar and Mizo district of Mizoram and on the west by the Cachar district of Assam. 
manipur dance
Traditional dance of Manipur

About 91 percent of the state is mountainous and the rest of it is shared by the lacustrine plain of Central or Imphal valley studded with few residual hills and the Barak basin, Jiribam on the western fringe. The total geographical area of the state is 22,327sq. km.

As per details from Census 2011, Manipur has a population of 28.56 Lakhs, an increase from figure of 22.94 Lakh in 2001 census. The total population of Manipur as per the 2011 census is 2,855,794 of which males and females are 1,438,586 and 1,417,208 respectively.

It has only 0.68 percent of the country's area and 0.23 percent of the country's population. Manipur could be broadly divided into two distinct regions i.e., the mountainous region and the plains region. For the administrative purpose, the state is divided into 9 districts. 

Five districts viz., Churachandpur, Tamenglong, Senapati, Chandel, and Ukhrul falls in the mountainous region and the remaining 4 districts viz., Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur lies in the plain region. These districts have been further sub-divided into 37 subdivisions and 38 community tribal development blocks.

Short History

Manipur came under British rule as a princely state in 1891 and existed until 1947 as an Independent Princely Country. The king gave signed the Manipur merger agreement on 21 September 1949. Under terms of this agreement, the government of India announced the formal annexation of Manipur on 15 October 1949. 

The Manipur state Assembly and the council of Minister which elected by the people of Manipur under the provisions of Manipur Constitution  Act 1947 by practicing the Universal Adult Franchise were forcibly abolished on the same day by executive order of the Indian government. 

During the Second World War, Manipur was the scene of many fierce battles between the Japanese and the Allied forces.


The state is bordered by the Indian states of Nagaland to its north, Mizoram to its south, Assam to its west, and shares an international border with Myanmar to its east. A tree amid Manipur hills. 

The state has four major river basins: the Barak River Basin (Barak Valley) to the west, the Manipur River Basin in central Manipur, the Yu River Basin in the east, and a portion of the Lanye River Basin in the north. The water resources of Barak and Manipur river basins are about 1.8487 Mham. 

The overall water balance of the state amounts to 0.7236 Mham in the annual water budget. By comparison, India receives 400 Mham (million-hectare meters) of rain annually. 

The Barak River, the largest of Manipur, originates in the Manipur Hills and is joined by tributaries, such as the Irang, Maku, and Tuivai. After its junction with the Tuivai, the Barak River turns north, forms the border with Assam State, and then enters the Cachar Assam just above Lakhipur. 

The Manipur river basin has eight major rivers: the Manipur, Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Sekmai, Chakpi, Thoubal and Khuga. All these rivers originate from the surrounding hills. Almost all the rivers in the valley area are in the mature stage and therefore deposit their sediment load in the Loktak lake. 

The rivers draining the Manipur Hills are comparatively young, due to the hilly terrain through which they flow. These rivers are corrosive and assume turbulent form in the rainy season. 

Important rivers draining the western area include the Maku, Barak, Jiri, Irang and Leimatak. Rivers draining the eastern part of the state, the Yu River Basin, include the Chamu, Khunou and other short streams. 

Manipur may be characterized as two distinct physical regions: an outlying area of rugged hills and narrow valleys, and the inner area of a flat plain, with all associated landforms. 

These two areas are distinct in physical features and are conspicuous in flora and fauna. The valley region has hills and mounds rising above the flat surface. 

The Loktak lake is an important feature of the central plain. The total area occupied by all the lakes is about 600 km2. The altitude ranges from 40 m at Jiribam to 2,994 m at Mt. Iso (Tempü) Peak near Mao Songsong. The soil cover can be divided into two broad types, viz. the red ferruginous soil in the hill area and the alluvium in the valley. 

The valley soils generally contain loam, small rock fragments, sand and sandy clay, and are varied. On the plains, especially flood plains and deltas, the soil is quite thick. 

The top soil on the steep slopes is very thin. Soil on the steep hill slopes is subject to high erosion, resulting in gullies and barren rock slopes. The normal pH value ranges from 5.4 to 6.8.


The climate of Manipur is largely influenced by the topography of this hilly region which defines the geography of Manipur. Situated at an elevation of 790 meters above the sea level, the state of Manipur is wedged between hills from all sides. 

This northeastern corner of India is blessed with a generally amiable climate though the winters can be a little chilly. The climate of the State is salubrious with approximate average annual rainfall varying from 933 mm at Imphal to 2593 mm at Tamenglong. The temperature ranges from sub-zero to 36°C.


The state is peopled by four major groups - the hill tribes, the Meities, the muslims and the non-Manipuris. The Meitei hindus constitute the largest ethnic groups of the State. The seven salais (clans) of the Meiteis have been further divided into sageis (surnames).

The components of Meitei confederacy are :-

1. Ningthouja (Mangang) (with 125 sageis)
2. Moirang (67 sageis)
3. Khuman {61 sageis)
4. Angom (62 sageis)
5. Luwang (58 sageis)
6. Chenglei (35 sageis) and
7. Khaba-Nganba (21 sageis).

Altogether there are 435 sageis. There are 44 tribes in the State speaking different dialects. Twenty-nine tribes have been categorized as 'scheduled tribes' under the Indian constitution. The Non-Hindu Meitei speaking populations have also been categorized as 'scheduled caste'. 

From Manipur's total population (2,855,794 as per 2011 census) 58.9% live in the valley and the remaining 41.1% in the hilly regions. 

The hills are inhabited mainly by the Kuki, and Naga, and smaller tribal communities and the valley (plains) mainly by the Meiteis, Manipuri Brahmins (Bamons) and Pangal (Manipuri Muslims). Bishnupriya Manipuri, Naga and Kuki settlements are also found in the valley region, though less in numbers.

To study more about the Manipur some books recommendation given below. These are also used as references for this article. So, I highly recommend you go through these books. For details click the book title.

Reccomendat Book for Study :

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