Keibul Lamjao National Park: Ecotourism, potentials and scope

Ashem Babycha *

Sangai - Brow-antlered deer in its natural habitat at Keibul Lamjao National Park, Manipure
Sangai - Brow-antlered deer in its natural habitat at Keibul Lamjao National Parkt :: Pix - Sushil Khomdram

The idea of ecotourism is tied to taking measurable steps for the protection of bio-diversity. While promoting ecotourism, there is a need to invigorate existing management system on enforcement, administration, wildlife relations with local communities and forest management.

For better perspective on eco-tourism management of the Keibul Lamjao National Park, first, one has to familiarise with the surrounding followed by the acquisition of technical competence.

Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), the only floating National Park in the world is located 10 km away from Moirang Bazar, Bishnupur District. It is home to the "vulnerable, endangered and rare species"- the dancing deer popularly known as Sangai (Cervus eldi eldi).

Loktak Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in North East India. The oval shape lake is 26 km long and 13 km wide having an average depth of 2.7 m. Presence of 14 hillocks differing in sizes and shapes, look alike as islands, in the southern part of the lake. Thanga, Sendra and Ithing are three important hillock Islands. It has been estimated that there are altogether 425 species of animals (249 vertebrates and 176 invertebrates) which have been identified in and around the lake.

Chingjao, Pabotching and Toyaching are the hillocks on the northern sides of Keibul Lamjao. These hillocks are the playing ground for the Sangai, Kharsa and other species. The total faunal diversity is likely to be higher, as many species have not been properly identified or surveyed, say observers. The lake area also includes Phumlen, Kharung and Ikop wetlands.

Sendra, a popular tourist spot is already on ecotourism map as the area is said to have adopted conservation strategies and management plan. Thanga Island also forms the main area which provides an alternative route approaching and connecting with Keibul Lamjao. It may be mentioned that Thanga area is described as the extension of the protected area.

Those living in Thanga also depend on the park areas for livelihood. Thanga has also become an important tourist centre for the state and the most promising spot as it stands now is the "Thanga Karang" or extension of Thanga, a small island habitat surrounded by fresh water lake on all sides. Villagers use locally made boats or Heenao to connect with Thanga.

Thanga Karang's natural beauty is further enhanced by the phumdis (the floating bio-mass over which settlers built houses) in the surrounding Loktak. Phumdis are a mixed variety of water weeds and other herbivore plants species to form the bed like sheet covering much of Loktak's surface. Phumdis are composed of decaying vegetation, up to 1.6 m thick and 80% submerged, and can support the weight of large mammals floating all over the Loktak Lake. The main ingredients for forming the phumdis are Phragmiteskarka (Tou), Singut (Manipuri wahei), Saccharummunja (Kohinum), Saccharumlatifolia (Ishingkabong), Alpiniaallughas (Pubi), Saccharumprocerum (Singnang).

It is said that the Sangai likes to live on phumdis. The best season to visit the park and watch the dancing deers is between October and February.

Here, it should be remembered that tourism sector is yet to reach the take-off stage in Mnipur despite the presence of immense potentials. Moreover, the National Park lacks basic facilities for the tourism sector. There is no adequate boarding and lodging facilities surrounding the area.

However, what one needs to remember is that any plans envisaged for the development of ecotourism in and around the Keibul Lamjao National Park should be in tune with the environment and the general setting of the landscape.

These include the installation of road network within the identified tourism zone, self-guided nature trails, transportation options, interpretive centres, way-side exhibits, signages/sign boards, observation towers, public conveniences, garbage disposal facility, living quarters for staff/personnel of those who are manning the sector etc.

As of now, the presence of Sangai seems to be the only comfort for establishing ecotourism here. It is necessary to utilise natural resource management as a specialised tool for the development of ecotourism.

While keeping in mind the fragile bio- diversity of the area, several plans and proper management programme can be introduced. Keibul Lamjao National Park is open for all visitors throughout the year and the shortest route is from Imphal Airport. A one hour journey from there or a two hour journey by local taxi from the main Imphal city.

Visitors can find out about accommodation from the forest rest house, Keibul Lamjao; Sendra tourist centre, Sendra and Moirang tourist centre, Moirang. The park management provides some set of rules for regulating ecotourism.

There are route guides, trekking and interpretation facilities, to inspire and to provoke people to broaden their horizons. It also supports emerging international movement aimed at promoting "green tourism". Green tourism takes ecological tourism a step further, promoting environmentally responsible tourist operations that conserve energy, recycle waste and instruct staff and tourists on proper behaviour in parks and protected areas at a nominal charge. Only light vehicle with the route guide is allowed to go within the range of the ecological park.

While promoting the park, visitors should also be aware of the surrounding like the dwindling population of Sangai species, destruction impact of forests resource collection and importance of forests and wildlife. They should also have a positive approach towards ecotourism and development and other conservation issues despite their dependence on the forests.

There is also a need to keep open relationship with international organizations and NGOs for the protection of Sangai besides maintaining good relations with academic organization, community groups and individuals for creative innovative biodiversity and sustainability strategies based on traditional as well as increasingly sophisticated information and communication media and technology. Moreover, certain measurable step like conservation education for better prospects on protection and conservation of forests is necessary.

Ecotourism provides the necessary impetus for wildlife conservation and helps in eliciting the much needed public support. It is a responsible journey which includes taking steps to conserve the environment and improve the lives of the local people, by providing financial benefits and social empowerment to the local people.

The vision for Keibul Lamjao National Park is ecological conservation and improvement in ecosystem services within the protected areas in the interest of Sangai within and outside the National park and ensuring the infrastructure for protection and management of this landscape including the ecological tourism sectors.

For maintaining proper internal system of the park, the Sangai should coexist with the biodiversity of the protected areas. People should be encouraged to follow conservation methodologies, species research, habitat protection and strong community involvement interface structure, tapping locals to help manage, mitigate and prevent conflict between humans and animals without causing any stress on the protected areas ecosystem services.

The ideology for wildlife management is the protection of natural habitat and preserving areas of biological importance for scientific, economics, aesthetics, cultural and ecological value. Ecotourism is formulated in protected areas for raising local awareness about the biological resources, focusing local participation in the benefits of biological conservation and generating revenues towards conservation of biological rich areas. The area has to be protected against adverse environmental and cultural effects that can come with building of tourist facilities and influx of population around fragile ecosystems. The local youth and children should develop skills for ethnic art/folk dance etc. for adding extra attractions to the visitors in the areas during ecological programme.

Addition of local festivities like Lai haraobas - Ningthempokpa, Phouoibi, Moirangthangjing, Yumjaoleima, Ningthoupokpa, Keithellairembi, Khumanpokpa, Ayangleima and Chingningthou Haraoba - should be able to highlight traditional value system surrounding ecological services, cultural awareness and respect for the fragile landscape. This could be one of the many ways to "Think for one billion tourists-one billion opportunities in hands............"

* Ashem Babycha wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
Ashem Babycha wrote this article as a part of the World tourism day media fellowship awarded by Manipur Tourism Forum.
This article was posted on October 1, 2015.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Yubi Lakpi @Yaoshang #1: Gallery
  • Cheirao Chingkaba @Singjamei : Gallery
  • Intl Day to End Racial Discrimination
  • Listen :: Poem
  • Burglary: security emergency in Lamka
  • Career options in printing press #2
  • Vitamin C: Antioxidant in your anti-ageing
  • Clarification regarding NIA summon
  • Issues of education should be priority
  • Why outside after Class XII ?
  • NSCN-IM asks Centre for 'clarity'
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • PM Narendra Modi @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Candle Light for Pravish @Delhi: Gallery
  • RTE taunts Kamuching: Mapithel Dam
  • Please dont become slave to any holy book
  • Pravish's Parents meet HM Rajnath Singh
  • Assam Rifles celebrates Cheiraoba
  • Job requirements @SKY Hospital
  • Nursing opportunity across Europe
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Education: addressing the core issue
  • Call to amend the Army Act
  • MoUs inked to boost tourism in NE
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chingkaba #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports @Kakwa: Gallery
  • Human right intimidated by SF: Amnesty Intl
  • Bikers rally to spread awareness on Cancer
  • TB survivor resolves to make TB-free ..
  • State Level World Kidney Day
  • Course in Comparative Literature at NEHU
  • Candle Light at DU for Pravish Chanam
  • PS issue stands as litmus test for CM
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Premier League coaches train : Gallery
  • Culturals @ Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #4
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #2
  • Prevention of cruelty to trees
  • Premier League coach train NE participant
  • GoI may sign agreement without NSCN(K)
  • Manipur celebrates New Year with gaiety
  • Zeliang denies involvement in terror funding
  • Shopping: Sajibu Nongma Panba #1: Gallery
  • Stall @Science Congress, MU #1: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba (Meitei New Year)
  • Saving Nambul: Convergence of view
  • Job @ PR Enterprises, Khurai
  • National Institute for Locomotor Disabilities
  • Seminar on 'Conflicts in South Asia'
  • Luck matters; but not always
  • On completing one year in office
  • Spectacle distribution at Loktak Station
  • DGAR visits Manipur on his farewell visit
  • PM at Science Congress @MU #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #3: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • A tribute to Stephen Hawking
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #3
  • Effect of a Sleepless Night :: Peom
  • Psychology at MIT School of Vedic Sciences
  • So near yet so far
  • Naga CSOs walking with JCILPS
  • Vegetables grown @Thanga #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress Contest: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #2: Gallery
  • Truth of Life :: Poem
  • Celebration of womanhood
  • HQ IGAR (S) celebrates 15th Raising Day
  • Jet Airways for more flights for NE
  • Publicity doing good, Garbage filth continue
  • Other issue overriding education: Class XII
  • Wortam: The Rising Young Mashangva
  • Eidi Ethantani by Eyoom :: Review
  • OMCT : UA on harassment of Ranjeeta
  • Mass destruction of opium poppy cultivation
  • Career options in printing press
  • IBSD launches hi-tech facility for farmers
  • Bangalore Yaoshang - Cheiraoba Thabal
  • Quality over quantity
  • What will the PM have to say ?
  • Zeliang gets fresh summon from NIA
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #4 : Gallery
  • Nengneingah, Lungkhambou :: eMing
  • Yaoshang Water & color #2: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #2
  • BJP led Govt, not flunk in first year
  • Demand handing of Pravish case to CBI
  • PDA Govt claims false credit: NPF
  • Feminism & Path to Women's Liberation
  • Word of caution from Ibobi: BJP to listen
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #4 : Gallery
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #1
  • Nigol :: Poem
  • List of Portfolios : Nagaland Govt
  • Clarify: Report of Zeliang summoned by NIA
  • Academic Programs offered by PHFI
  • Cong speaks: Changes expected in future
  • One year under the BJP: Significant but..
  • Students @ Class X Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khongman: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #1
  • Cry Of A Dying River...21 :: Peom
  • Manipur-Nagaland border disputes
  • Not a word on beauty on Women's Day
  • Women Religious Tour reaches New Delhi
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira- Nari Puraskar Award: Gallery
  • Human Rights Defender intimidated by Army
  • Rooftop Solar Power Plants: Gallery
  • Home stay for nature tourism in Manipur
  • Moodle: A learning management system
  • You can't stop small newspapers ...
  • BJP show in NE State: The backroom boys
  • Moldhin Chan: A Thado-Kuki Folktale #2
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam, Thoubal River & Tumukhong
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Time for "Nokphade" to go global
  • Campaign on International Women's Day
  • War between Left & Right has begun
  • Poppy plantation, destruction & missing link
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #1: Gallery
  • Harassment of Ranjeeta (HRA) by Army
  • Women's positions need to change
  • The Weeds :: Poem
  • We now know gold was created in space
  • Issues of women's rights should be priority
  • Protection of paddy land Act
  • Thabal Chongba @Khurai : Gallery
  • Bor-keina race @Yaoshang Fest : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #1: Gallery
  • Tanushree @Elecrama Startup Award: Vote
  • Indian Science Congress in MU: Act East?
  • Fulbright 'pathways' for college leaving class
  • Job @ St. Stone Medical Devices
  • Army jawan martyred in Bongjai IED blast
  • National Integration Tour for Women
  • AR conduct Yaoshang sport festival
  • Condemns rising vendetta politics in NE
  • Yaoshang Sport - Marathon #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #2: Gallery
  • NERIST Director post vacant since 2014
  • Dynamic Startup 3.0 at MIMS, MU
  • NDPP Legislature 1st Meeting at Kohima
  • 8th Theatre Olympics at Guwahati
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #1: Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #5 : Gallery
  • Translating inclusion into seclusion is..
  • Condemns land acquisition of muslim
  • News erroneously portraying Zeliang
  • Report: Shillong Lajong vs East Bengal
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #1: Gallery
  • LGBTQ Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • M. Shenbangpu : Akademi Award 2014
  • Tribe: A concept in a state of crisis
  • Neiphiu's NDPP-BJP alliance stakes claim
  • Digital footprints: Blueprints for detection
  • Rio refutes news about 'Naga Peace'
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang with Governor : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira: Highest Civilian Honour
  • Rejoinder to "MCPCR in dire straits"
  • Stop harassment of Urikhimbham
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Timeline
  • 8th AMWJU Sports Meet : Gallery
  • March Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #2 : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #3 : Gallery
  • Cultural @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Festival of Colours to Sports Festival
  • Food Processing Training @Oinam : Gallery
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #1 : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-ni Token Celebration at Chadong
  • Students @ Class X Exam #1 : Gallery
  • AoNna tEnaba :: Seireng
  • Thanga Keithel : Gallery
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #5: Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic