Tamenglong: Manipur’s Home to Exotic Flora and Fauna

Image Credit: singsinggangmei (Via Instagram)

Tamenglong is a small district located in the northwestern part of Manipur, a state in northeast India. It is known for its picturesque landscapes, exotic flora and fauna, and rich cultural heritage. Tamenglong is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts, who can experience the thrill of trekking through dense forests and spotting rare species of plants and animals.

Geography and Climate

Tamenglong is located at an altitude of 1,048 meters above sea level and covers an area of approximately 4,391 square kilometers. It is surrounded by hills and mountains, with the Barak River flowing through the district. The climate in Tamenglong is mostly tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 8°C to 32°C. The district receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September.

Flora and Fauna

Tamenglong is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, with many rare and endangered species found in the district. The forests of Tamenglong are rich in medicinal plants and herbs and are a treasure trove of biodiversity.


One of the most unique plants found in Tamenglong is the Amomum tsao-ko, also known as the Chinese cardamom. It is a rare species of ginger, used in traditional Chinese medicine for its medicinal properties. Another rare plant found in the district is the Rauvolfia serpentina, also known as the Indian snakeroot. It is a herbaceous perennial plant used in Ayurvedic medicine for its antihypertensive and sedative properties.

Tamenglong is also home to a number of rare and endangered animal species. The district is a sanctuary for the Asiatic black bear, clouded leopard, and Hoolock gibbon, which are all listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Other notable species found in Tamenglong include the Malayan sun bear, the slow loris, and the stump-tailed macaque.

Amur falcon
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Birdwatching is also a popular activity in Tamenglong, with over 200 species of birds found in the district. Some of the notable species include the Blyth’s kingfisher, the black baza, and the great hornbill. As part of their annual migration routine, Amur falcons, which are the world’s longest-traveling raptors, arrive in Manipur’s Tamenglong district. These birds typically migrate to their wintering grounds in South Africa, and usually, arrive in large numbers during October. After finding enough food for their non-stop flight to Africa, they leave the region in November and spend their winters there.

Tamenglong is a region abundant in flora and fauna, but what makes it truly unique is the Zeliangrong community that inhabits the area. The community has been dedicated to forest and wildlife conservation since the time of their forefathers.

Zeliang e1681460714312

Every year in the first week of December, Tamenglong hosts the State Level Orange Festival, which provides an excellent opportunity to market the district’s best horticulture produce, namely its oranges. The festival also promotes other agricultural products, handloom and handicrafts, as well as the region’s art, culture, music, exotic cuisine, and beverages.

Tourist Attractions in Tamenglong

Zeilad Lake

Zeilad Lake, located near Zeliadjung (Atenba) village in Tamenglong, is a popular tourist attraction that sits on a high platform up on the hill. The lake’s picturesque beauty and peaceful atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for tourists. The lake also offers abundant scope for adventure enthusiasts. Visitors can spot pythons, fish, tortoises, water birds, and migratory birds that call Zeilad Lake home. This is one of the reasons why tourists love visiting the lake.

Zeilad Village

According to Naga tales, the Zeilad Lake is where paddy originated. Recently, the lake has been declared one of the four wildlife sanctuaries in Manipur and is also known as the Zeilad Wildlife Sanctuary. This is a great step towards protecting the lake’s ecosystem and preserving its natural beauty.

Tourists can also explore the surrounding hills and forests, which are full of natural wonders and unique flora and fauna. Zeilad Lake is an excellent spot for birdwatching, hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. Visitors can also learn about the local culture and customs of the Zeliangrong community, who have been living in harmony with nature for generations. In conclusion, a visit to Zeilad Lake is an unforgettable experience that showcases the stunning beauty of Tamenglong’s natural wonders.

Barak Waterfalls

Barak Waterfalls e1681471367782

The Barak Waterfalls, located in Tamenglong, is a popular attraction that draws many visitors. Along with seven other nearby waterfalls, the area is a sight to behold, with its stunning natural beauty. The Barak River is also a vital source of irrigation and drinking water for the locals in the district. Visitors and locals can enjoy a peaceful day by picnicking on the banks of the river, making it an ideal way to spend a holiday.

As tourism in Tamenglong is still developing, the Barak Waterfall and other nearby waterfalls remain relatively untouched, highlighting the beauty of the falls. Visitors will be mesmerized by the aqua-green water and the soothing sound of the falls, while the sight of the water cascading from the hills to the plains is a breathtaking experience that must be witnessed firsthand. For adventure seekers, water sports and rafting are also popular activities in the area.

Tharon Cave

Tharon Cave

Tharon Cave is a natural wonder located in Tamenglong district, Manipur. It is located about 27 km from the district headquarters. It is a popular tourist destination due to its unique geological formations and picturesque landscapes. The cave is known for its stalagmites and stalactites, which have formed over thousands of years. The cave is home to a variety of flora and fauna, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

Visitors can explore the cave’s many chambers, each with its own distinct features, and marvel at the natural beauty of the formations. The cave also has a rich history, with local legends and myths surrounding its creation. The cave’s entrance is located amidst lush green forests, adding to its allure. The experience of exploring the Tharon Cave is a truly memorable one, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Tamenglong.

Buning Meadow

Buning Meadow
Photo Credit :: Lamdamba Oinam

Buning Meadow, also known as the N-piulong Valley, is a popular tourist attraction in the Tamenglong district of Manipur. Located in Tamei town, the meadow consists of a series of small, uneven mounts. The meadow is especially beautiful during the summer months, particularly in June, when many orchids bloom. Wild lilies also grow abundantly in the N-piulong Valley. The meadow is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including Hoolock gibbons and foxes, making it a unique spectacle of flora and fauna not found everywhere.

It is destinations like the Buning Meadow that have helped establish Tamenglong as a renowned tourist destination in Manipur. During spring, just as summer approaches, the meadow becomes a beautiful sight to behold, as the mounts are adorned with a variety of colorful flowers, including orchids and wild lilies, creating an almost unimaginable picture.

Azuram Village

Azuram village
Photo by Nehemiah Panmei

Azuram village is a noteworthy destination in the Tamenglong district of Manipur, as it is the first Model Community Forest in the state. The village has taken a proactive role in the conservation of the forest resources by establishing a community-managed forest. The Model Community Forest program aims to promote sustainable forest management practices and provide economic opportunities for the local community.

Visitors to the village can learn about the Model Community Forest and observe how the community manages the forest resources sustainably. The forest is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it an excellent destination for nature lovers. The village is also known for its traditional handicrafts and local cuisine, which visitors can experience during their stay.

Tamenglong Orange Festival

Tamenglong Orange Festival e1681473880105

Every year, the Orange Festival is held with great enthusiasm in Tamenglong District during the first or second week of December. This festival is highly anticipated by the public of Manipur and has been celebrated since 2001. The festival is now organized at the district level by gathering oranges from different areas of Tamenglong, and it continues to be celebrated in a fitting manner.

This colourful and vibrant festival offers a wide variety of oranges and handicrafts for sale, attracting many orange lovers. The main objective of the Orange Festival is to support and promote the interests of orange growers in the district, which is the only suitable location for large-scale orange cultivation in Manipur.

Best Time To Visit Tamenglong

If you’re planning a visit to Tamenglong, the best time to go is between the months of October and April. This period offers favorable weather conditions, making it an ideal time for traveling and exploring the region. With pleasant temperatures and clear skies, visitors can fully enjoy the scenic beauty and outdoor activities that Tamenglong has to offer.

How To Reach Tamenglong

By Air

Imphal International Airport (IMF) is the closest airport to Tamenglong, located about 150 km away. As the third largest airport in India, it is well-connected to nearby regions. However, visitors will need to take some form of public transportation to reach Tamenglong from the airport. There are various options available, such as taxis, buses, and private cars for hire.

By Train

Dimapur Railway Station is the nearest railway station, located approximately 230 km away. It serves Dimapur and its neighboring regions, situated on the Lumding-Dibrugarh section. Upon arrival at the railway station, visitors can choose from various local transportation options to reach their desired destination. Taxis, buses and private cars for hire are readily available at the station.

By Road

Tamenglong is well connected to neighboring cities like Imphal, Kohima and Dimapur by a network of well-maintained roads. The journey from Imphal to Tamenglong takes approximately 8-9 hours, while the journey from Kohima or Dimapur takes around 10-11 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

It is to be noted that an Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required for non-locals to enter and stay in the Indian state of Manipur. The permit can be obtained through the official website of the Manipur Inner Line Permit System, which is designed to regulate and monitor the entry of non-locals into the state. The permit can also be obtained from designated offices in the state, and it is usually issued for a period of 15 days, although it can be extended. The ILP is intended to protect the rights and interests of the local population and to maintain peace and security in the state.

(To know more about Manipur State Tourism check the link here.)

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