As a traveler, you would often hear about the mountains, deserts, beaches and the megacities of India. But little does one know about the hidden jewels of our country, tucked away in its north-east corner. Nestled in the arms of Manipur, is one such gem of nature- the gorgeous Loktak Lake, located near Moirang. It is the largest freshwater lake in entire North East India and stretches across 980 sq. km. of the catchment area.
The Loktak or the ‘end of stream’ (Lok- stream, tak- end), this lake is a natural wonder in itself, with floating islands or locally called ‘phumdis’ all across its surface. These islands have their own mass of vegetation, flora, fauna, and other organic matter, which makes for a mini eco-system within the lake. Wonder why it’s famous? Because the largest island of 40 sq. km. houses the Keibul Lamjao National Park which is the only floating national park in the world. Now, isn’t that something you would want to witness?
If you are expecting a hop, skip and jump kind of travel to Loktak Lake, then you’d be disappointed. However, you can easily reach the Lake from Imphal. You can either catch a flight till Imphal, from major destinations across the country or take a train to Dimapur, which is about 215Km from Imphal. From there, you can alight a local bus to Moirang. The rest of the way, you can book taxi, trek, or even hitch-hike.
Exploring the Loktak Lake
Whether you like to explore the wildlife or photograph the magnificence of nature, Loktak Lake has something for everyone. Even if you want to simply row around the islands and absorb the lush greenery, then there’s nothing more serene and peaceful than this vast expanse of water.
You cannot help but get overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the entire scenario. The labyrinth of waterways through islands, crystal clear water, and the verdant surrounding, are sure to take your breath away. And if you can manage to view the sunset, when the entire lake area is soaked in a crimson hue, you would indeed feel as if you are on another planet.
Loktak Lake Fishing
Being a freshwater patch and the largest so of the region, the Loktak Lake serves as a livelihood for the local fishing community. The lake yields about 1500 tons of local fishes every year, which has led to the development of fishing wharfs and villages over the islands. On any given day, join these fishermen and you could watch them keenly laying out their nets and patiently waiting for the catch. If that intrigues you, try your hands at fishing for a first-hand experience.
Wildlife on the Lake
Parts of the Loktak lake area are under paddy cultivation, while some of it is inhabited and the rest is covered in dense forests, marshy lands, and organic wastelands. The National Park including the rest of the lake area is rich in biodiversity- with 230 species of aquatic plants, more than 100 species of exotic birds and 425 species of animals.
Get a chance to see some of the rare and endangered species, living in the reserve like Indian pythons, Sambar and barking deer, the Sangai or brown-antlered deer, among others. For bird lovers, you might be lucky to spot the migratory waterfowl, dabbling and diving ducks, or even the wide variety of hornbills. Other species of wild animals like the rhesus monkeys, hoolock gibbons, macaques and marbled cats, also have their homes in the lake’s wilderness.
As our national tourism campaign rightly says, North East India is indeed a paradise undiscovered. And the Loktak Lake is a classic example. On your next vacation, book a cab with Savaari Car Rentals and put this gorgeous beauty of nature on your travel list!