40 sq kms/4,000 hectares
Established in 1966 as a Sanctuary
1977 as a National Park
Location: 53 kilomtetres from Imphal in Manipur.
Located in Manipur, Keibul Lamjao is probably the world's only 'floating'
sanctuary that comprises 40 sq. km. of wetland overgrown with 1.5 m. deep
floating vegetation (called phumdi). The park has several distinguishing features.
Apart from the vegetation and terrain, an important highlight of the park
is the Loktak Lake (6, 475 ha.), the largest freshwater lake in India; a large
portion of which falls within the park.
The entire Loktak Lake was protected and declared a sanctuary in October
1953, mainly to save the sangai or Brow Antlered Deer, which was threatened
by extinction. Following the re-discovery of the deer, in July 1954, this
area was officially notified as a sanctuary in 1966 and a decade later, on
March 28, 1977, the Keibul Lamjao National Park was created.
The park remains open from October to May. The best time to see the sangai
is December - January and March - April. December and January see a fair share
of frost developing in the area. November and March afford interesting sightings
of migratory birds, and are also climatically suitable.
By Air: Manipur's capital, Imphal (53 km. from the park) is connected by flight
to major cities like Delhi, Guwahati (469 km), Calcutta.
By Rail: Dimapur (215 km. from Imphal) is the nearest railhead. Jiribam, a
small town on Manipur's border, 225 km. from Imphal is an alternative, from
where one can proceed to Keibul Lamjao by road.
By Road: Imphal is connected by road with Guwahati (469 km.) through National
Highway No.39 and Silchar through National Highway No. 53. The park is about
53 km. from Manipur's capital, Imphal and can be approached by bus or on private
Temperatures range from a maximum of 34.4ºC to a minimum of 1.7ºC.
The annual rainfall is 1220 mm. The area is most humid in August, with daily
humidity measuring as much as 81 per cent. March is the least humid at 49
Park Safari Timings
The best time to enjoy the park is between 0600 and 1000 hrs in the morning
and 1530 and 1800 hrs in the afternoon.
Keibul Lamjao consists of the unique 'phumdi' or floating
marshes. Eighty per cent of the flora is submerged and the vegetation forms
a 90-120 cm. thick cover on the water surface. About half a century ago, the
predominant plants used to be tou (45 per cent), singut (25 per cent) and khoimom
(15 per cent). But the composition of the vegetation has undergone rapid changes
and the plant cover, at present, is estimated to comprise of equal proportions
of hoop Leersia hexandra and sing kambong Zizania latifolia, a protein-rich
plant, often used as food (about 24 per cent).
Some very rare animals may be encountered in and around this wilderness.
The star attraction, of course, is the brow-antlered deer Cervus eldi eldi,
called sangai in the local Meitei dialect. This particular subspecies of the
Thamin deer is also fondly called Manipur's dancing deer because of its delicate
gait as it negotiates its way along the floating wetlands. Other species of
deer seen here include the hog deer, sambar and muntjac. One of the most primitive
primates, the slow loris occurs in scattered pockets on the hills. Assamese
and stump-tailed macaques and the Hoolock gibbon are restricted mainly to the
western hills. The Rhesus monkey is found ubiquitously around the park. The
large Indian civet Viverra zibetha and small Indian civet Viverricula indica,
common otter Lutra lutra and wild boar Sus scrofa are some of the large mammals
noted in the area.
rare lesser wild cats like the marbled cat and Temminck's golden cat may be
sighted occasionally. The Himalayan black bear and the Malayan bear may also
be seen foraging for food.
A variety of rare birds occur in Keibul Lamjao and the Loktak
Lake. The avifauna consists primarily of the smaller reed-dwelling species.
Waterfowl, which were unfailing winter migrants to the lake, are becoming
more rare because of the lack of open water surfaces. The Hooded Crane may
be seen in the Manipur valley. The Black Eagle and the Shaheen Falcon are
some of the raptors seen here. The Eastern White Stork, Bamboo Partridge and
Green Peafowl are also found here.
Some of the species of hornbills found here include the Brownbacked Hornbill,
Rufousnecked Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, the Pied Hornbill and the Great
Indians visiting Manipur are required to obtain an Inner Line Permit. Foreigners
are required to have the permits from the FRRO offices.Like the RAPs, these
too are valid for visits to Keibul Lamjao also.