TODAY -

National Tourism Day 2023

N Munal Meitei *

 Sangai : The endemic, rare and endangered Manipur Brow-antlered deer  in February 2009
Sangai : The endemic, rare and endangered Manipur Brow-antlered deer in February 2009



India is a treasure trove of exquisite vast beaches with glistening sand, magnificent mountains covered in snow and adventurous forests boasting of rare and beautiful flora and fauna. Every waterfall, mountain peak, desert or forest is unique and no one can fathom how beautiful the country is. This is a great time to appreciate our culture and the heritage of different parts of India and help to understand the country better.

National Tourism Day is celebrated on 25th January which aims to foster and create awareness in society about the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, historical, political, economic and heritage values and protecting the nature. This year's theme is 'Rural and Community Centric Tourism.'

A wanderer is almost always intrigued by dense forests and the excellent wildlife that it houses. India is a tourist paradise and this sector plays an important role in the economy of the country. In India, the tourism contributes 9.2% of the country's total GDP and 8.1% of employment.

India has a rich heritage with 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The country also has 32 cultural sites, 7 natural sites and one mixed property. The country has 1065-Protected areas including 104 National parks, 566 Wildlife sanctuaries, 32 Elephant reserves, 52 Tiger reserves, 97 Conservation reserves and 214 Community reserves covering 171921 sq. km which is 5.03% of our geographical area. We also have 75 Ramsar sites of wetland importance.

Maharashtra tops with the maximum number of tourists wherein more than 5 lakh foreigners visited last year followed by Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. As per the annual report generated by the World Travel and Tourism Council, India's tourism sector generates Rs 17820 billion annually. Moreover, medical and education tourism are growing by leaps and bounds and has reached Rs 243 billion and is further forecasted to grow in the coming years.

Manipur, literally meaning "A jewelled land", is a State nestled deep within a lush green corner of North East India. Mrs St Clair Grimwood once described Manipur as "A pretty place more beautiful than many show places of the world" and Japanese army once termed Manipur as "A flower on the lofty height".

Manipur is an elongated shaped valley at the centre surrounded by hills, rich in art and tradition with nature's beautiful landscapes. The Manipur River flows across the valley and joins Chindwin River on its head. Rajashree Bhagyachandra made the famous classical dance of Manipur, Ras Lila out of his enchanting dream by the grace of Lord Krishna.

Having a varied and proud history, after the defeat in the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891, Manipur became under the British Rule as a Princely State. Manipur merged with the Indian Union on October 15, 1949 after India's independence and became a full-fledged State on January 21, 1972.

While talk of Manipur, we always remember our lovely dancing deer, the Sangai, the Shirui Lily, the Manipuri Dance, the modern Polo - our gift to the world, the Ima Keithel, Loktak Lake and our Sports and Culture.

A dream destination for many environmentalist and wildlife enthusiasts, Manipur has world's only floating National Park, the Keibul Lamjao National Park with the most endangered, Sangai, the State animal. Home to over 1200 species of plants and animals always fascinate us. These species comprising of 472 orchids, 52 edible fruits, 120 species of fishes including 29 in ornamental forms.

The State supports nearly 40% of the total flowering plants recorded in India, out of which 31.58% are endemic. The wildlife of Manipur includes about 1200 medicinal plants, 55 species of bamboo, 695 birds, 160 fish species, 21 migratory aquatic birds and many big animals that just take a deep breath and step into the majestic, natural beauties of Manipur.

Famed throughout the world for their dexterous styles, Manipur is one of the largest producers of bamboo crafts in India and you will find items such as dolls, handmade baskets, musical instruments, bamboo umbrellas and more. Absolutely irresistible, all crafts in the state are unique to the tribes who make them.

Kauna (water reed) products, cane articles, pottery, artistic weaving, and wood carving are some of the favorites for tourists. Manipur has carved a niche for itself in traditional forms of handicrafts, take joy in picking your arts and crafts from the best of the best like the lotus thread clothes.

One of a kind, Manipur has the only women market in the world, a show of feminine might. The skill of Manipur is not limited to textiles, people's exemplary skill at pottery knows no equal.

The items on show never fail to enchant, these skills passed on from each generation make Manipur the best place to shop. Our cuisine, rich in aroma from the local herbs and spices, a typical platter mainly comprises of rice, vegetables, salad, a curry of fish with chak-hao kheer, ironba and shingju will never be forgotten.

With literacy rate of 76.94%, many educated youths in the State are with no employment. Tourism will be the only viable industry that will solve from all these problems. Therefore with coming of National Tourism Day, 2023, let's save our forests and the beautiful hilly sides with plenty of flora and fauna to attract the visitors in future days.


* N Munal Meitei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at nmunall(AT)yahoo(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on 28 January 2023.



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