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Manipur-New favorite destination for backpackers

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Backpackers on a shoe-string budget who want to live with nature and see rare flora and fauna not found anywhere in the world and those who have an emotional attachment or want to learn more about the battles between the Japanese and Allied forces during World War-II have been flocking to Manipur in northeast India like never before.

Daily routines flights are running from Imphal to Guwahati or backpackers can be reached through Guwahati and Silchar through the mountainous NHs 2 and 37. There are cheap hotels for backpackers or three-star luxury hotels for those with expense accounts or rich travellers.

people who want to watch the brow-antlered deer, which is found only in Manipur, can go to the Loktak lake near the Keibul Lamjao national park, its natural habitat, and is located about 60 km from Imphal. Huts are being constructed at the Sendra hillock on the shore of the lake by the tourism department, but most tourists prefer the private hovels constructed on the floating bio-mass in the lake or in the thatched inns that have been constructed in the recent past.

water sports and canoe riding are also available in the Loktak lake, the largest fresh water lake in the eastern India. Thousands of fishermen and their families stays there in the floating huts constructed on the bio-mass. There are no washrooms and the tourists are supposed to answer the call of nature or take a bath while on the country canoes, like the fishermen.

Apart from the deer, tourists can watch hundreds of varieties of migratory birds coming from several countries.

Many backpackers said that they had experienced one-of-a-kind pleasure of mingling with nature once in the lifetime.

Other tourists go to the Ukhrul district to study the Shiroy lily which cannot be grown anywhere except high up on the Shiroy mountain. Attempts to transplant the Shiroy lily in the foothills of the mountain has not been so good. Despite warnings, domestic and foreign tourists secretly carry away some saplings in the hope of growing them in their homes.

It was at Moirang in Manipur where the flag of India’s independence was first hoisted by the INA forces where the Indian National Army museum is located, displaying the many objects the soldiers had used, including their personal effects.

The INA and the Japanese forces had stayed for four months in Manipur after which they went to Kohima for more battles.

Thangjam Dhabali, president of the Manipur Tourism Forum, said that during the battles in Manipur and what is now Nagaland, then a part of Assam, 53,000 Japanese and 15,000 Allied soldiers were killed. The number of civilians killed cannot be ascertained. Because of their identical Mongoloid features, civilians were mistaken for Japanese soldiers and were probably attacked on sight.

“There is an understanding with the Japanese government to construct a war memorial in Manipur,” Dhabali said.

Till now, relatives of the dead soldiers and Japanese government would come to Imphal to take away the skeletal remains for performing the last rites. A proposal to construct an ultra-modern hospital in memory of the dead soldiers is also there, but this is stuck in bureaucratic red tape.(IANS)

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Most Underrated Dive Beaches Around The World

If you’re ready to get off the beaten track and explore some of the world’s most underrated dive sites you’re going to need to make sure you have all the essential equipment

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Enjoy your diving trip to any one of these amazing and underestimated diving spots and have a vacation to remember! Flickr

If you love scuba diving you’ve probably already visited some of the planet’s most popular dive spots. Bali, the Maldives and the Red Sea are just three of the best known places that keen divers flock to every year. However, there are lots of other dive beaches around the world that are well worth seeing but which are shockingly underrated. Here are some of the best kept secrets for adventurous divers out there who want to get off the beaten track.

Thailand – Koh Lipe

While Koh Lanta, a few hours further north is a well-known diving hotspot, Koh Lipe is a surprisingly beautiful place to explore the underwater world. The picturesque beaches here have stunning turquoise water and some spectacular marine life. Seahorses, shrimps, ghost pipefish and stone fish are common residents here while the soft corals under the water’s surface make Koh Lipe a dream for drift divers.

Dive Beaches
Koh Lipe. Flickr

Canada – Newfoundland

While Canada isn’t well known for its warm and inviting waters, the beaches of Newfoundland are an amazing place to dive as long as you’re prepared for the chill! This north-east region of Canada may have cold temperatures but when you put on a dry suit and head underwater you’re sure to be impressed by the sea life here. Iceberg Alley is one of the best places to explore as you can see enormous ice chunks floating past. If you’re a fan of enormous marine creatures, minke and humpback whales can often be spotted in the summer months, while the sites just off St Johns are perfect for wreck divers. You can still see ship equipment and sailors’ belongings under the water thanks to the preserving properties of the cold water so head to Conception Bay to see no less than four shipwrecks under the water.

Malaysia- Perhentian Islands

While you may have experienced diving off Borneo, if you head 30 minutes away  to the north east coast of Malaysia you’ll find two islands that are the perfect spot for divers. Pulai Kecil and Pulau Besar are the Perhentian Islands and they are the perfect place for laid-back divers. You  can choose from deep much dives or shallow reef dives as well as several wreck sites. There’s also plenty of fish to see including scorpionfish, stingrays, snappers and black tip reef sharks.

Dive
Perhentian Islands. Flickr

South Africa – Coral Gardens, Cape Town

If you’ve ever headed to South Africa for a spot of diving you were probably cage diving with Great  Whites. However there are lots of other diving activities here that don’t involve getting up close and personal with all those terrifying teeth. Head to Coral Gardens off the Cape Peninsula and see amazing colors of coral as well as an enormous diversity of sea creatures. There’s an amazing kelp garden to explore as well as spectacular giant granite boulders and even better, if you’re a novice scuba diver you’ll still be able to get the most out of your trip since the deepest part of the site is just 18 meters.

Indonesia – Sulawesi

While most people who travel to Indonesia head to Bali, Sulawesi in the north is a perfect place for divers to explore. Once known as Celebes, this island has a distinctive squid shape and boasts some amazing diving opportunities. The crystal clear waters and spectacular sea life makes this one of the best places to get under the water. Not only that, but it’s also a wonderful place to find out more about the local culture, with the burial rites of the southern highlands being especially fascinating. You’ll certainly not regret arranging a diving trip to this out of the way location.

Dive
Sulawesi. Flickr

If you’re ready to get off the beaten track and explore some of the world’s most underrated dive sites you’re going to need to make sure you have all the essential equipment that you need. If you view this link you’ll find all the information you need to know about choosing the best diving gear to suit your requirements. The helpful advice that you’ll find will make your trip even better.

Enjoy your diving trip to any one of these amazing and underestimated diving spots and have a vacation to remember!