Not far from imphal lies the dream-like floating world of Loktak lake. With its floating islands of weed and human known as phumdi and its serpentine waterways, this unique habitat is home to many avian species as well as a community of fisherfolk. The southern reaches of the lake from the keibul Lamjao National park, the refuge of the endangered Manipurideer. Virtually an inland sea with an enormous 312 sq km spread in the monsoon, Loktak is large even in the driest period. Take in the life stretching blue waters, labyrinthine boat routes, fascinating water plants, the fishermen who live in neat huts on its shores. Loktak is a unqui and endangered habitat, and deserves all the attention it can get. Loktak lake is 48km from imphal.
They cast their nets on it, rear fish farms in it using nets as floating walls, harvest it for the water chestnut known as Heikak, and even build their houses on the islands of floating weed that dart around the lake
There are buses and cycle rickshaws to cover the last 3 km. to Sendra. The lake is rich in minnows and carp. And water chesnuts. Fisherman cruise in and out of the hummus floats on graceful flat-bedded boats and net the fish and singhara (water chestnut). Their main occupation is fishing.
Its vast expanse of water with both resident and migratory birds offers scope for shooting, fishing and boating. The importance of Loktak Lake is the little Islands Thanga and Karang in the centre of the lake, labyrinth of boat routes amidst the floating marshes. This is a saucer shaped fresh water lake attracting many species of birds. Part of it forms a rare ecosystem.
It joins the mainland by a low causeway. Giant mats of reeds and weeds dot Loktak lake. The reeds, which are covered with soil, support large populations of Manipur’s world famous brow-antlered deer. The hog deer, wild cats, boar, panthers and an interesting population of migratory birds that arrive in November and December inhabit the sanctuary.