Trip out on costume and culture : The tribal textile tour of Manipur

Destinations

Moirang – Go for a ride on the Loktak Lake and catch a refreshing sunset

Bishnupur – Have fun draping the traditional phanek as the weavers of the Meitei tribe give a demonstration

Imphal – Soak in the hustle bustle of Ima Keithel market and explore the city’s architectural heritage, museums and galleries for a wholesome experience

 

September to December

When it comes to Manipur, there’s no better way to get acquainted with this little-known geographical and historical state than its textile and people. This 5-night and 6-day textile and traditional dress tour of Manipur has been curated to appeal to all lovers of textile, fashion and culture. Drive through ‘Instagramable’ scenic countryside to visit weavers of three ethnic tribes (the Zou community of the Kuki Nagas, the Langmai tribe and the Meitei community). A tribeswoman from each ethnic group will take you around her village to provide deeper insight into their way of life and material culture. After all, it is the human connect behind every craft that makes it special. Visit new projects undertaken by NGOs to retain weaving as a main source of livelihood and help the locals rebuild their lives. Visit the 500-year-old ‘mothers’ market’ and partake in the state’s history by exploring the grounds of Kangla Fort. Take a boat ride on the scenic Loktak Lake, sample the eclectic cuisine featuring black rice and step into institutions like the RKCS Art Museum and the INA Museum. Best of all, bond with other textile lovers and get inspired to style your wardrobe differently.

Day 1 – Imphal

On arrival at Imphal airport, the local host will meet the guests. Afternoon, a visit to a family-run museum which, through beautifully composed oil canvases painted by the late Rajkumar Chandrajitsana Singh, portrays a history of Manipur. From there, a short drive to a village, to visit a weaving unit set up to provide employment to more than a hundred local women. A demonstration of their weaving techniques using backstrap looms will be arranged.

Day 2 – Imphal

A 40min scenic drive to a tribal village to meet some weavers who use an adaptation of the backstrap loom and strong graphic motifs. A weaving demonstration cum sale by the artisans. A short walk around the village with our local host there will provide insight into life in a village in rural Manipur. In the afternoon, witness the Heyang Tanaba (boat race) which is celebrated every year. Locals gather to cheer their home teams with great pomp and ceremony. The atmosphere is quite festive and it is a great opportunity to observe the different styles of outfits and to capture some lovely photographs or to do some quick sketches. Visit a few handicraft and textile stores.

Day 3 – Bishnupur – Moirang

At 9 am, drive toMoirang, with a stop en route to visit a weaving cluster in Bishnupur. It is known for the skillful weavers of the Meitei community. The weavers in their serene, rustic homesteads mainly work with silk, though there are cotton weavers too. One of their products is a thin, large, gauze-like stole called Rani Phi. Similar to the Jamdani, this delicate fabric is woven very painstakingly and is an essential part of the Meitei women’s traditional attire. Lunch will be on the way to the next destination. Check into the hotel which overlooks the Loktak Lake. This is a great spot to take in the sunset views and to catch up on sketching, photography, meditation or selfies.

Day 4 – Moirang (Loktak lake)

Early morning, we recommend a walk around the property to take in different views of the lake. Explore the lake via a boat ride and then visit the home of a local fisherman and his wife. A demonstration will be given on how the Potloi, the famous Manipuri stiff traditional skirt worn during dances and ceremonies of the Meitei community, is embroidered. In the afternoon, those who are interested (optional) can visit Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating park in the world and go by ferry to see the Sangai (brow-antlered deer ) which is only found here. The cost for this is not included in the general costing.

Day 5 – Churachandpur – Imphal

A demonstration and talk about the Zou community, a Kuki sub-tribe and the use of colour and motifs. Weaving demonstration on a backstrap and regular looms. Early evening visit Ima Keithel, a 500-year-old market run entirely by women.

Day 6 – Departure from Imphal Airport

Interested in booking a tour?

Check out our curated sample itinearies in the Discover More section