Have you ever set out on a journey certain where you want to go, yet come back having travelled to unexpected and remarkable places? Our recent school trip to Imphal (Manipur) portrayed no less a different picture. We set out to stimulate a deeper learning for natural sciences and came back with a whole new learning experience ourselves.
I couldn’t have imagined the serenity and spaciousness that one experiences in nature before I took a walk in Keibul Lamjao National Park. The biological reserve of the Sangai was our first stop on the third day. We arrived at 10 in the morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of the much endangered and famed deer of Manipur. After driving a bit into the reserve, we came upon two observation decks that were built overlooking the grassland.
The grassland stretched for miles, winding up only when it touched the sky at the horizon. Like thin brushstrokes on canvas, slim green grass stems sprung from the marshy ground, topped with light brown husky ends. The towering trees marking the near edges of the grassland, looked grand with dark green leaves. Light blue streams flowed calmly, retaining the silence of the scene. We were lucky to have the chance to locate the Sangai which stood camouflaged.
We hiked down a meandering road which was lined with strong and artistically patterned trees. At the bottom, we took a short boat ride in the twining blue water and learned a great deal about the brow antlered deer from the local boatmen.
Having trekked through the only floating park in the world, we decided to head to view Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in North-east India. Light indigo mountains lay at the rim of this lake and the sky appeared grayish-white before the sun set for the day. The water body turned out to be larger and quite unlike that I had imagined. Tiny green islets floated effortlessly, some supporting small dwellings. We took delight in another boat ride to and from one of these islets where we met friendly people and arrangements. As we neared the shore, the sun slowly set, first behind the clouds and then the mountains.
The trip, on the whole, proved to be a successful and memorable one. It included enlightening collaboration with students from D.M College of Sciences, valued sharing of knowledge with other high school students. They presented an open-minded attitude and were wholly receptive to upcoming research and new forms of learning. We had some rejuvenating moments with nature and exciting strolls through the local market. We found the people humble and ready to lend a hand. They supported and exhibited their traditions most splendidly.
The rich samples that we collected showed the biodiversity of the place and a keen mentality of the people to live with nature. This journey indeed brought me closer to the people and place I today cherish having visited.
Foldscope in the North East
Urja who was part of Foldscope expedition shares her experience with Microcosmos. Read her account here.
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