Manipuri dance is the perfect representation of Manipuri culture. The dance is often devoted to religious themes, while the Raas Lila (love story of Radha and Krishna) dominating it. The 29 tribes of Manipur have different dances to offer - Lai Haroba (feast of dances, representing celebrations of Gods), Pung Cholem (Mridang dance), Mao Naga dance, the priestess dance of Malbe Jagoi, Thangal Surang dance etc. The vibrant culture of the Manipuris is reflected in their dance and drama.
Khamba Thoibi dance: A dance of dedication to the sylvan deity, Khamba Thoibi dance is a duet of male and female partners. This dance is a part and parcel of Moirang Lai-Haraoba. It is believed that the legendary hero - Khamba and heroin - Thoibi danced together before the Lord Thangjing, a celebrated deity of Moirang, a village in the South-West of Manipur which is known for its rich cultural traditions, for peace and prosperity of the land. This dance is a depiction of the dance performed by Khamba and Thoibi.
Maibi Dance: A way of reviving life as in the past, this dance is performed during the festival of Lai-Haraoba which is an annual ritual festival of the Meiteis (inhabitants of the valley of Manipur). The Maibis, the priestesses considered to be spritural mediums, depict the entire concept of cosmogony of the Meitei people and describe their way of life through their dances.
Pung Cholom: Pung or Manipuri Mridanga is the soul of Manipuri Sankirtana music and Classical Manipuri Dance. It assumes an important ritual character, an indispensable part of all social and devotional ceremonies in Manipur. Pung Cholom is performed as an invocatory number preceding the Sankirtana and Ras Lila. It is highly refined classical dance number characterised by the modulation of sound from soft whisper to a thunderous climax.
Ras Lila (Manipuri Dance): This is world famous Manipuri style of classical dance, very much distinct from other Indian dance forms. The Ras Lila depicts the fond love of Radha for Lord Krishna as well as the sheer devotion of the Gopies toward the Lord. It is generally performed in an enclosure in front of the temple throughout night. Ras performances are seasonal and varied and performed at the temple of Shree Shree Govindajee in Imphal on the nights of Basanta Purnima, Sarada Purnima and Kartik Purnima and at local temples later. As to the composition, the performance is a combination of solo, duet and group dances. The dances are graceful and so are the costumes.
Nupa Pala: Nupa Pala which is otherwise known as Kartal Cholom or Cymbal Dance is a characteristic of the Manipuri style of dance and music. The initial movements of this dance are soft and serene, gradually gathering momentum. It is a group performance of male partners, using cymbals and wearing snow white ball-shaped large turbans, who sing and dance to the accompaniment of Mridanga, an ancient classical drum "Pung" as it is called in Manipuri
HANDICRAFTS AND SHOPPING
The treasured culture and tradition of the Manipuris are displayed in their handloom clothes and handicrafts. The Manipuri handloom and handicraft are world famous for its craftsmanship as well as ingenuity, colourful and usefulness.
The people are artistic and creative in their thinking and outlook. Every house possesses a loom, and Manipuris weave with a passion and style, unparalleled by any other state. Manipuri bed covers of Moirangfee and flower designs, silk and cotton sarees, scarves, blankets and shawls, in distinctive shades and weaves, make for an alluring collection. A wide array of artistic handicrafts from bamboo, papier mache, decorative ivory, dolls and jewellery make for prized souvenirs.
Manipur's main shopping attractions are the traditional Manipuri hand-woven textiles. The Manipuri dance doll with its graceful stances is a lovely memento to buy for family and friends. These exclusive handloom and handicraft items are sold at Khwairamband market, the largest exclusive women's market in the country.
Ideal places to buy such handicrafts are Paona Bazar, with fixed price shops, Manipur Handlooms Sales Emporium, Handloom House and Tribal Emporium and Sangai Handloom, near the Gandhi memorial.
Manipur has a rich and diverse range of natural landscapes, languages, cultures and heritage sites which are highly attractive for eco and adventure tourism.
The Manipur Mountaineering Institute (MMI) the Training Centre of Manipur Mountaineering & Trekking Association is located at Lamdan of Churachandpur District 35 km. from Imphal. Till now MMTA have conducted more than 62 Adventure Courses.
Organizing adventure eco-tourism in the state at different intervals is an endeavour to build the capacity of the local people and give an opportunity to adapt and create more innovative ideas to suit the natural environment.