Loktak Lake – The floating islands of India

The northeast of India is a beautiful region with mysterious forests, pristine lakes, and peaceful monasteries. This breathtaking lake is located 53 kilometres from Imphal. Loktak Lake, a sparkling diamond among pearls, is one of the most important of these destinations. The word Loktak, ‘lok’ means ‘stream’ and ‘tak’ means ‘the end.’ Its the largest freshwater lake in northeast India, located in the state of Manipur.

Loktak Lake

The floating Islands of India

Loktak Lake’s delicate ecosystem spans approximately 240 square kilometres and appears to be dotted with numerous small islands from above. It’s important to note that the islands are phumdis, which are floating heterogeneous masses of vegetation, decomposing organic matter, and soil.

Phumdis are large, spongy, saucer-shaped hunks of vegetation and soil, with the majority of the mass lying below the waterline. These natural Phumdis are truly amazing in terms of size and population; they are numerous and shifting. Yes, they change their size and migrate across the lake at different times of the year.

The only floating national park in the world

Loktak lake

The largest of the phumdis covers an area of 40 km2 (15 sq mi) and is located on the lake’s southeastern shore. Keibul Lamjao National Park is the world’s only floating national park, located on this phumdi. The park is the last natural habitat for the endangered Sangai (state animal), Rucervus eldii eldii, or Manipur brown-antlered deer (Cervus eldi eldi), one of Eld’s deer’s three subspecies. Loktak Day is celebrated on the 15th of October each year on the outskirts of Loktak Lake.

The fact that Keibul Lamjao National Park, the world’s only floating national park, is located near Loktak Lake adds to the allure of this belt. The endangered Manipur brow-antlered deer, known as the Sangai, also lives here. This majestic beast is the state’s official animal, and its hooves are ideal for walking on the native phumdis.

Boosting a growing economy

The Loktak Lake region has exotic beauty, which has allowed the local tourism industry to thrive. However, the Lake’s role extends far beyond this, and it plays an important role in other aspects of Manipur’s economy as well. It serves as a source of irrigation and drinking water, as well as a source of water for hydropower generation. The Loktak Lake also supports the livelihoods of the local fishermen.

Things to do at Loktak Lake

The lake and its surroundings are ideal for exploring on foot, bike, or boat. There are also plenty of shared taxis zipping around the streets. Some ideas for passing the time include:

  • Visit Karang, a small island. A local “passenger” boat costs 10 Rs per person, and there are several vantage points from which to see the lake and the phumdis (small floating islands of vegetation and organic matter).
  • Rent a boat and go swimming, or simply enjoy a boat ride. Because of the shallow lake depth, the water temperature is nearly perfect, and a boat ride is a great way to appreciate how large the lake is.
  • Visit Keibul Lamjao National Park, the world’s only floating national park. Return to Moirang and ask for Keibul Lamjao to locate a shared taxi. Entry is 200 Rs for foreigners and 30 Rs for locals, with a camera fee of 250 Rs (50 Rs for locals). However, the gatekeeper was lax, so if you put your camera in a bag, you should be able to avoid the camera fee.

Things to do near Loktak Lake

Loktak lake

Visit the INA Memorial at Moirang

The INA Museum, located in Moirang, is a dedication to work done during British rule in India. It was created to commemorate the passing of those who gave their lives for their country. This exhibition hall displays wartime relics and photographs. The helpless upkeep turns out to be a mistake for all those who venture outright to see these.

Explore the Red Hills (Maibam Lokpaching)

Red Hill Lokpaching has a documented uniqueness that draws in a large number of people regularly. Being here would most likely transport us back to a time when the British mercilessly administered our country, despite our growing sense of solidarity at the time. It is solidarity to an extraordinary extent that broke them apart, and we soon became a free India in 1947.

How to Reach Loktak Lake

Loktak Lake is about 48 kilometres from Imphal. To get to Loktak, take a taxi or cab from Imphal to Moirang, which is 30 kilometres away and costs INR 50 per person. Taxis can be found near Jiribam on the Imphal market road. Thanga, a cluster of small villages located on the peninsula of Loktak Lake, is accessible from Moirang. Taxis cost INR 10 per person. The lake is easily accessible from here. You can easily book a cab from Imphal Airport to comfortably travel to the lake. 

It’s safe to say that visiting Loktak Lake is essential for anyone travelling to the Northeast. Don’t worry about how to get back to the Imphal International Airport or railway station after your trip. The easiest way is to download a safe and trusted car booking app so that on your way back, the only thing on your mind is all the memories you’re going to carry throughout your life!

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Swati Deol

About the author

Shabari, a modern-day wanderer, seeks out the hidden stories within the world's serene landscapes and vibrant cultures. She views each person as a living, breathing tale, a unique signature in the grand narrative of existence. With an insatiable curiosity for local customs and traditions, Shabari explores the rich drapery of humanity wherever her journey leads. Her passion is to unravel the secrets of tranquil temples, scale majestic mountains, and share the ancient wisdom they hold. Join Shabari on her quest for solace amidst the world's quiet corners and let her writing transport you to the heart of these captivating adventures.

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