Imagine standing on a piece of land that floats on water. No, not for some fictitious narration or a movie scene, but in real life – this is something that’s actually possible in Manipur.The Keibul Lamjao National Park is situated in Manipur, a North-Eastern state of India. The place is situated approximately 33 miles from Imphal, the capital city of the state of Manipur. The National Park is a part of the Loktak Lake, a freshwater lake which spreads across an area of over 300 square miles. The lake consists of floating islands which are also known as Phumdi.
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The term phumdis refers to a collection of a heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matter at various stages of decomposition. Resembling miniature islands, these phumdis are found in various forms, floating on the lake. Covering an area of 300 square metres, the lake is a lifeline for many people. It serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply in the region, other than being the source of income for many fishermen who largely depend on it. Children of the fishermen can even be seen playing and running around on these phumdis.The largest of these floating islands is approximately 15 square miles and mainly constitutes the Keibul Lamjao National Park. The park which was a sanctuary earlier was declared as a National Park in 1977. The most celebrated inhabitant of the Floating National Park is the famed and endangered Eld’s deer, also known as Dancing Deer or Brown-Antlered Deer. It is the world’s only floating national park and is home to the endangered Manipuri brow-antlered deer, Sangai. Loktak is a birder’s paradise. The most commonly sighted birds in the region include black kite, northern hill myna, East Himalayan pied kingfisher, lesser skylark, lesser eastern jungle crow, Burmese pied myna, and more. The Floating National Park is actually a huge Swamp and one can travel around on the waterway by boat. There are canoes and also gaily decorated houseboats which take you around the lake.
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