By D.P. Panmei
Tamenglong district.remains as the hidden treasure for the State of Manipur in respect of tourism prospects. It needs to be explored and necessary amenities provided for the visitors and tourists to come and enjoy the beautiful landscapes, environment and places like natural Zeilad lakes, Barak waterfalls, river boating portion, Tharon Cave (Kilemki), Booning (Biuning) meadow, Kachia Khouh, Khoupum Valley and Khoupum Namkao (old village). In the early days, we thought we were unfortunate to have been born in Tamenglong district but when the communication has improved a little bit, our eyes have opened to realize the beauty of the nature of the district. However, full realization could not be seen when there is no tourism facility in spite of the fact that tourism prospects are very bright in the district.
Tamenglong district was treated to be a forbidden land thinking that there were witches, wild animals and goons or head hunters roaming around to take the lives of human beings whoever visited their land. Even local citizens of Manipur tried to avoid to visit our land. Such a wrong notion was prevalent in the minds of the people. The succeeding past rulers of the land and the state, even the Britishers were in consternation with those people. They looked savageous and cruel, wearing half naked shabby dresses. The villagers used to target those white sahebs by hurling daos and spears at them. When the white people used to tame them by giving them sweets and red molasses through their children. The parents forbade them to go near the white people saying that their lives would be shortened if they ate any food item and drank together with them.
ZEILAD LAKES AND BARAK WATERFALLS
The beautiful tourist spots like 4 (four) natural Zeilad lakes are located at a distance of 1 km from and above 100ft of Barak river. These lakes are abound with fishes and tortoises. During the freedom movement for establishing a Naga Raj (Makaam Gwangdi) against the British regime, Haipou Jaduanang and Rani Gaidinliu, the Naga rebel leaders used to construct a big raft made of bamboos over the Zeilad lake and butchered mithuns over it and its blood was sprinkled over the lake offering to the god of the lakes. They demanded for a sword called Douchabang which was kept hidden inside the lake by one Asha, a clever man and Muncharung, the younger brother of Asha in the olden days. It is said that the sword was very powerful. Whenever any person took up the sword and showed its direction towards the hillock where trees were standing and uttered “Deh”, all the trees would be cut down. Anything either human beings and trees standing in front would be hewn down at the utterance of the word “Deh” Two of them thought if that sword could be acquired, they would be able to kill all the British people and could set up a free Makaam Gwangdi (Naga Kingdom) for the Naga people. Many villagers from the North, West and East used to bring mithuns for offering to the god of Zeilad lake.
Despite their continuous efforts, they failed to get the expected sword. In course of time their leader – Haipou Jaduanang was arrested by the Britishers at Lakhipur, Cachar district of Assam. Rani Gaidinliu, her lieutenant was left behind to take up the rein of leadership to carry out the struggle against the British regime for attaining freedom.
These tourist spots have very interesting historical backgrounds. Those 4 (four) natural lakes are known by different names like Zeilad, Inroujei, Guiphuapjei and Napsaemjei. These lakes do not have any link with Barak river. Whenever the Barak river is in spate and water colour is turned yellow, the colour of water of those lakes is very clean and blue. The Barak waterfalls are also located at a distance of 2 (two) km. Those lakes are worth seeing and the locations are also within a radius of 1 (one) Km.
REST HOUSE AND WATER BOATS
There is a great need to have a good Rest House near those lakes and water boats to be floated over the lakes for the visitors and tourists to enjoy boating and fishing. I remember a Rest House constructed by the District Council Office, Tamenglong was inaugurated by me as a Minister sometime in February, 1997. However, it has not been maintained properly that the accommodation facility is not upto the mark. We need a black-topped road linking with these spots. Other facilities like black-topped road, Tourist Home, boats, sitting shed etc. need to be constructed by the Government for the visitors/tourists to come to these beautiful tourist spots.
THARON CAVE AND BOONING MEADOW
Tharon cave which is also known as Kilemki (House of the bats) located at a distance of 35 km. towards the north east of Tamenglong Headquarters is also one of the important tourist spots. It is giving shelter to thousands of bats. Therefore, the cave is also known as “Kilemki” (house of the bats). Maharaj Garibniwaj, king of Manipur paid a visit to this cave and offered prayers to god.
It is said that Maharaj Garibniwaj was a man of vision, he could even predict the incoming events in the land. He was carried on a bamboo palanquin by the villagers whenever he was passing through the villages of Tamenglong District Even men can pass through the cave and come out the other side where a beautiful stream is running nearby. The spot has become a beautiful picnic spot. The picnickers cook their food and eat and enjoy off the day.
There are still many other beautiful spots in Tamenglong district. A series of write-ups will follow in the coming days for the tourism lovers and the rulers to take up necessary actions in building up our land and attract peoples from other parts of the world to visit our beautiful land – Manipur.
Author is ex-MLA/Minister