Manipur literally meaning “A jeweled land” nestle deep within a lush green corner of North East India. It seems much like an exquisite work of art executed by superb hands of Nature and is indeed a state of exquisite natural beauty and splendors, the beauty of which once inspired Mrs. St. Clair Grimwood described it as “A Pretty Place more beautiful than many show places of the world” Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru paid a fitting tribute by describing it as “Jewel of India”. Surrounded by blue hills with an oval shaped valley at the centre, rich in art and tradition and surcharged with nature’s pristine glory. Manipur lies on a melting pot of culture. It is birth place of Polo. This is the place where Rajashree Bhagyachandra created the famous Ras Lila, the classical dance of Manipur, out of his enchanting dream by the grace of Lord Krishna.
While the plains cover little over 6 percent of the area, hills comprise almost 92 percent. Rows and rows of parellel hills running from North to South cover almost 92 percent of the state geographical area. The altitude of the capital city Imphal is 790 meters above the MSL while the hills often rise to an altitude of above 3000 meters. The state boundary share 352 KM international boundary with Myanmar in the East and surrounded by the states of Assam, Mizoram and Nagaland in the West, South and North sides respectively. The physical feature of Manipur can be defined in three well defined regions- the hills covering about 92 percent of the total area, forms an oval shaped elevated plain through at the altitude of 790 meters above MSL at the centre, namely the Imphal valley covering an area of 1843 sq km. The Jiribam plain is located beyond the western hill tracks and covers only 1 percent of the geographical area of the state. The hills and mountain ranges are oriented from North to South with altitude ranging from 800m to 3000 meters. The highest peak being mountain Tenipu with an altitude of 2994 meters in the Senapati district. The important peaks are Leikot, Khayangbung, Siroy and Tampaha.
The major rivers of Manipur are Barak river and the Turela Achonba river which is also known as Imphal or Manipur river. Imphal river is the longest river and it also collects excess water from the Loktak lake and flows to join the streams of Ningthee and chindwin river of Myanmar. The other major rivers of Manipur are Thoubal, Fril, Sekmai, Kongba, Chakpi, Khuga and Nambol. Many small streams also flow in the hill. The hills of Manipur also have many caves. These are located in Khongkhui, Sangboo, Tharou, Hungdung, Khukse, and Tonglon.
The sailent feature of the Imphal valley are the sprawling wetland amongst which the Loktak lake is the biggest inland lake in the North East part of the country covering 1046 sqkm of area . The other important lakes are Ikop, Waithon, Yaral, Utrapat, Nganglon, Kharung pat , Loukoi and Pairen in the valley and zailed and Kachan phung in the hill districts of Tamenglong and Ukhrul respectively. The major waterfalls , namely Barak in the Tamenglong district and Khayang in the Ukhrul district, enhance the natural beauty of the state.