If you want to be surrounded by nature's beauty, there's no better place than Manipur. But that is not all to it. The state is enriched equally by unique traditions and culture and a fascinating valiant history. While these three facets find expression across many spots, the tiny village of Andro is the perfect mix of each and is one of the best places to visit in Manipur.
Located in the Imphal East district and nestled in the lush foothills of the Nongmaiching range, Andro finds itself washed in bright shades of green. But far more enchanting is the origin of its name. Believed to have been derived from the local word "handro," meaning "the village of the people who returned," the name Andro itself is a bearer of its unique story. As per lore, the majority community in Andro, Lois, were one of the earlier settlers in Manipur and were driven away by the local ruler. However, as time passed, they returned to reclaim their home, and thus, the name found resonance.
Places To Visit
The serene hamlet that makes for a quiet getaway is also a perfect window to the land's heritage. While there's enough reason to travel slowly and lose yourself in the magic of abundant natural beauty, some attractions stand out as windows to Andro's heritage.
Mutua Museum This museum is Andro's prime attraction and is famed for introducing travellers to handicrafts created by Andro's tribal residents. Most impressive among all are examples of Charai Taba or coil pottery&ndasha distinct style of looping clay into various shapes that tribes in Andro specialise in. Apart from that, you can also get a glimpse of other traditional artefacts, weapons, jewellery, and 29 dolls, each representing the state's tribes. Even the museum's facade is interesting as it has been made to replicate a traditional thatched hut.
Mei Mutaba Another must-visit site is the ancient temple dedicated to Andro's local deity, Panam Ningthou. The complex also houses a sacred fire, which according to the locals, has been burning since it was first lit. The locals have the responsibility of ensuring it never goes off. Also, note that the temple remains shut on Sundays.
Santhei Natural Park Located on the fringes of Andro, the park is steeped in greenery. It is the perfect spot for a day out under the sky. On Sundays, locals flock to its grounds for family picnics.
Where To Stay
While Andro is one of the best places to visit in Manipur, the village has not developed hospitality infrastructure. Therefore, you should stay in Imphal, located only 20 km away, and make a day trip to Andro. To choose a comfortable stay, refer to the official website's list of verified hotels.
What To Shop
Coil Pottery Since coil pottery is known as Andro's heritage craft, coil pottery objects make for great and unique souvenirs. They can be picked up at affordable prices across government establishments.
Sekmai Andro's other speciality is their local rice brew called Sekmai. You can also find bottles of Sekmai stocked across local shops in Imphal.
How To Reach
The easiest way to reach Andro is by first travelling to Imphal by air, as there is no direct rail connectivity to Manipur. From there, hire a private cab to Andro. However, the nearest railway station is Dimapur in Nagaland, approximately 5 hours away. Do note that Inner Line Permit is mandatory for visiting Manipur.
Cover photo credit Shutterstock.com
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