15 Popular Festivals Of Imphal for Cultural Enthusiasts

 In Festivals, Imphal, Manipur

Do you love exploring the diverse cultures of different places? Are you fascinated by their traditions, key rituals, and customs? Festivals offer the perfect opportunity to experience and enjoy the unique culture and traditions of a place. 

Are you planning a trip to Imphal or already there and want to know which festivals will be happening during your stay? Imphal is a hub of vibrant festivals, filled with activities, events, local dance, music, food, colourful Imphal festival attire and ceremonies. Imphal festival traditions are worth exploring and learning about, as the city hosts unique Imphal festivals where people from all over unite for Imphal cultural celebrations.

Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, is renowned not only for its stunning natural beauty but also for its bustling festivals. While the city offers many attractions and places to visit, the Imphal Festival Season is the best time to truly explore the heart of Manipur.

Of all the places to visit in Manipur, Imphal stands out as one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities, renowned for its beauty, history, and diverse flora and fauna. Attending Imphal Festivals is the perfect way to experience the best of the Northeast. These festivals bring together all communities, showcasing unity and love for each other. 

Want to know which festivals of Imphal are celebrated with full fun and joy in the vibrant city? Let’s explore these festivals of Imphal and learn about their impact on Imphal through the fascinating Imphal Festival History.

Best Festivals of Imphal

Here is a complete list of festivals of Imphal, including festivals that are common, religious, and based on rituals.

1. Yaoshang


You must have heard about the festival of colours “Holi.” Celebrated around the same time as Holi, Yaoshang adds a unique twist to the festival of colours, making it more vibrant!

Yaoshang is often considered the Holi of the Northeast but with its own unique charm. During the festival, people playfully throw coloured powder at each other, while dancing to the beat of drums. It’s a lively celebration where people of all ages, from children to the elders, immerse themselves in the Imphal traditional festivals.

During the night, men and women gather in circles to perform the Thabal Chongba dance under the moonlight, dressed in colourful costumes. It’s a beautiful and vibrant cultural festival that creates an atmosphere filled with fun and excitement.

  • Date and Duration: Celebrated for 5 days in March
  • Key Tips: Participate in the traditional sports like ‘Pheida’ (wrestling) and ‘Khudol’ (tug of war) held during Yaoshang and explore the local markets during Yaoshang for special cuisine in Imphal Festival.

Suggested Read: Top 7+ Places To Visit In North East India In Monsoon

2. Lai Haraoba


Translated to “Merrymaking of gods” in Meitei language, Lai Haroba is celebrated by the Meitei community of Manipur. This festival is more of a sacred celebration that honours the local forest deities known as Umang Lai, who are believed to protect nature. It features the best Imphal music festival, a unique blend of ritualistic Imphal dance festivals, music, and theatrical performances that honours the spirits of ancestors and the natural world.

Offerings of food, flowers, and prayers are made to appease these spirits and seek their blessings for a prosperous harvest and overall well-being.

  • Date and Duration: Celebrated between February and May lasting from 3 to several days
  • Key Tips: Attend the Maibi Jagoi dances and various rituals are conducted to please the Umang Lai.

3. Kang Festival


Also known as the “Rath Yatra” of Manipur, the Kang festival is celebrated to honour Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra, and his sister Subhadra. The festival offers a visual treat with its grand chariot procession.

The chariot (Rath) carrying Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra, and his sister Subhadra is beautifully decorated. Thousands of devotees gather, chant prayers, and pull the chariot with ropes,showcasing their devotion. Enjoy the festival culture of Imphal, traditional music, and street food offerings along the procession route.

  • Date and Duration: Held annually in July, typically lasting one day
  • Key Tips: Taste traditional Manipuri dishes offered during the festival, such as ‘Eromba’ and ‘Chamthong’, to get a complete cultural experience.

Suggested Read: 21 Best Honeymoon Destinations In Northeast India

4. Kut Festival


The Kut Festivals of Imphal isn’t just a single event but a collection of harvest celebrations observed by the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes. Each tribe contributes its unique traditions, yet all share the spirit of gratitude and joy for a successful harvest season.

Vibrant Imphal dance festivals including melodious folk songs, and colourful traditional attire bring the Kut celebrations to life, offering a lively experience and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes. Each tribe celebrates Kut Festival in their own way but the theme of thanksgiving remains constant.

  • Date and Duration: Kut festivals of Imphal generally happen around November and last from 1 to 3 days
  • Key Tips:  Play traditional games like archery competitions or tug-of-war which are often part of the Kut festivities.

5. Cheiraoba


New Year Celebrations in Imphal for the Meitei community, Cheiraoba is a vibrant festival in which families reunite, communities come together, and everyone celebrates new beginnings.

Families often climb a hill in the afternoon and hope for success and growth in the New Year. Thabal Chongba dances are performed in the evening to enjoy the lively atmosphere and vibrant festival culture of Imphal.

Experiencing these lively Imphal Traditional Festivals will leave you with a lasting impression of the warmth, hospitality, and rich traditions of the Meitei people.

  • Date and Duration: Cheiraoba is typically observed for one day in late March or early April according to the Gregorian calendar
  • Key Tips: Climb Cheiraoching Hill, believed to symbolise human progress and growth

6. Ningol Chakouba


How wonderful it is to dedicate a festival for the daughters! In a society that traditionally values sons, Ningol Chakouba celebrates the importance of daughters and their unconditional love towards their families.

On Ningol Chakouba day, married women return to their parents’ homes, adorned in beautiful attire, with their families. They are warmly welcomed and honoured with love and respect. Daughters receive gifts as tokens of appreciation from their brothers, fathers, and uncles. This festival strengthens the bond between daughters and their families and is considered one of the most heart-melting Imphal festivals.

  • Date and Duration: Second lunar day of Hiyangei month (usually November) that lasts for a day
  • Key Tips: Enjoy the flavours of some traditional dishes from cuisine in Imphal Festival that you may find at a Ningol Chakouba celebration, such as Nga-Agouba, Nga-Thongba, and Eromba

Suggested Read: Explore Top 6 Hidden Gems Of Guwahati: A Traveller’s Guide

7. Ramadan


Ramzan is a holy month of great significance for the Muslim community in Imphal. It’s a time for spirituality, ibadah (prayer), roza (fasting), and peace. Fasting from dawn to dusk teaches self-control and empathy for those less fortunate. It is the time for increased charity, giving to those in need.

Muslims believe that during Ramadan, the Quran, Islam’s holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Through fasting, prayer, and reciting the Quran, Muslims aim to strengthen their faith and become closer to Allah (God).

  • Date and Duration: Ramadan is an Islamic month during which fasting lasts for 30 days
  • Key Tips: The end of Ramadan brings Eid, time for a joyous celebration, offering delicious feasts

8. Gang Ngai


Translating to “festivals of winter”, Gang Ngai is celebrated by the Zeme, Liangmai, Rongmei tribes. It’s a joyous occasion full of rituals, prayers, music, dance, and feasting.

The festival marks the culmination of the harvest season, the beginning of a new year, and the victory of light over darkness, similar to the festival of lights, Diwali. The significance of the festival includes a time to honour and remember departed loved ones.

  • Date and Duration: Five day celebration typically falls in December or January
  • Key Tips: Experience traditional Kabui Naga dances such as “Lei Haraoba” and “Mao,” and enjoy the music of instruments like the “Tangkul” and “Tosheng.”

9. Chumpha Festival


Chumpha is a post-harvest festival where Tangkhul Nagas express gratitude for a plentiful harvest after a year of hard work. The festival spans seven days, with the last three dedicated to social gatherings with family, friends, and relatives. 

Unlike other festivals of Imphal, Chumpha emphasises the significant role of women, making them integral to the celebrations in Imphal. Chumpha includes traditional prayers expressing gratitude and cultural performances, including whirling dances.

It’s a time for joyful gatherings, traditional rituals, and savouring local flavours, making it one of the most significant cultural events in Imphal.

  • Date and Duration: Celebrated in December for 2 days
  • Key Tips: Immerse yourself in the cultural experience by wearing traditional Imphal festival attire like Kashans for women and Machungs with headgears for men and enjoy the vibrant Tangkhul Naga dances performed during the festival.

Suggested Read: 16 Best Things To Do In Tawang: From Monasteries To Trekking

10. Lui-Ngai-Ni


Lui-Ngai-Ni, translating to “seed sowing festival,” is a vibrant festival celebrated by the Naga tribes. It’s a unique blend of tradition, celebration, and a fresh start, marking the beginning of the agricultural season.

The festival also includes elements of thanksgiving for past harvests and prayers for blessings on the upcoming crops, featuring traditional dances from various Naga tribes highlighting the rich heritage, showcasing a vibrant display of Naga culture.

  • Date and Duration: Celebrated on February 14th or 15th and can extend over a two-day period 
  • Key Tips: Enjoy a delicious feast of traditional delicacies from cuisine in Imphal Festival, like pork dishes, fermented soybeans “sekmai”, and local rice varieties.

11. Mera Houchongba


Mera Houchongba translates to “festival of intermingling” or “festival of amalgamation.” It promotes unity and togetherness among different ethnic groups in Manipur, especially between the Meitei people and the Naga tribes.

The festival showcases Manipuri culture with traditional dances and art forms from various communities. Overall, Mera Houchongba is a strong symbol of unity in Manipur. It bridges ethnic and cultural differences, uniting people in celebrating their shared heritage and commitment to peaceful living together.

  • Date and Duration: One-day celebration falling in September or October
  • Key Tips: Enjoy Manipuri martial arts demonstrations, drum beats, and the unique “Lai Haraoba” dance performances.

Suggested Read: Top 14 Places To Visit In Papum Pare For A Memorable Trip

12. Kwak Jatra


Kwak Jatra, translating to “crow freeing festival”, is a unique and historic festival celebrated by the Meitei community of Manipur. A significant ritual involving freeing a crow represents the defeat of the demon king Ravana.

Observing the festival’s rituals and customs is believed to bring prosperity and blessings to the region. Kwak Jatra combines cultural customs and historical origins, showing off the rich heritage and lasting traditions of the Meitei community in Manipur.

  • Date and Duration: One-day celebration falling on June 16th
  • Key Tips: Kwak Jatra celebrates the return of the Koubru deity after a period of penance. Understanding this background can enrich your experience.

13. Heikru Hidongba


Heikru Hidongba is a socio-religious ceremony observed annually by the Meitei community in Manipur. It’s a fascinating blend of tradition, religious offerings, and a boat race, making it a vibrant and engaging festival. 

A unique aspect of the festival is the offering of Heikru fruit (also known as Amalaki or gooseberry) to the deities, symbolising good health, prosperity, and a plentiful harvest.

Heikru Hidongba is dedicated to worshipping Heikru (fire deity) and Emoinu (goddess of wealth). Pujas (ritual worship) are performed to seek blessings for prosperity and well-being.

  • Date and Duration: One-day celebration falling in September
  • Key Tips: The highlight of the festival is the exciting boat race between two decorated longboats. Be sure to arrive early to secure a good spot to watch this energetic competition.

Suggested Read: 5 Hidden Gems Of Tezpur: Exploring The Unseen Marvels

14. Baruni Festival


Baruni Festival revolves around worshipping Cheithel Iremba, the deity linked to rain and agriculture. People pray for a fruitful harvest and sufficient rainfall.

It’s a time of renewal and optimism for farmers, expressing gratitude for past harvests and looking forward to a prosperous season. The Baruni Festival is an important occasion for the people of Manipur. It’s a time to strengthen their faith, celebrate the value of agriculture, and express optimism for a prosperous future.

  • Date and Duration: One-day festival falling in August or September
  • Key Tips: Participate in a core Imphal festival traditions involving climbing up Nongmaijing Mountain for a cleansing bath in the Chinggoy stream

15. Christmas


Christmas is a vibrant and joyous occasion, especially celebrated by the state’s Christian communities, particularly among the Naga and Kuki groups.

On Christmas Eve (24th December), special prayer services are held in churches throughout Imphal. The Tangkhul Baptist Church is particularly renowned for its Christmas services. 

Christmas Day (25th December ) is marked by special feasts and gatherings with family and friends. Homes and churches are adorned with Christmas trees, stars, and festive lights, creating a warm and celebratory atmosphere.

  • Date and Duration: 24th December (Christmas Eve) and 25th December (Christmas)
  • Key Tips: Participate in special religious services held around midnight, typically on Christmas Eve. It involves joining in prayers and singing hymns.

Suggested Read: 10 Best Things To Do In Nagaland: Dive Into Every Experience!


In conclusion, Imphal Festival Season provides a wonderful way to celebrate the cultural heritage and traditions of a region. They bring together diverse communities, strengthen family and friendship bonds, and offer a lively glimpse into the beliefs and customs of the people of Imphal. Whether you’re starting something new or aiming to make your daughters feel special, the festivals of Imphal provide unique opportunities for these cherished moments. If you want to experience unique and distinctive festivals, be sure to visit Imphal and don’t miss out!

What are the most famous festivals celebrated in Imphal?

The most famous festivals of Imphal include Yaoshang (Holi), Lai Haraoba, and Kang (Rath Yatra), each offering vibrant cultural experiences and traditional rituals.

When do the festivals in Imphal usually take place?

The festivals of Imphal typically take place throughout the year, with specific dates varying based on the lunar calendar or seasonal harvests. For example, Yaoshang is celebrated in spring, Lai Haraoba is observed around May-June, and Kang usually occurs in July.

How do people celebrate the festivals of Imphal?

People celebrate festivals of Imphal by performing traditional dances, attending prayers at temples, preparing special foods, wearing colourful clothing, and coming together as a community to share in cultural traditions and festivities.

Can tourists participate in the festivals of Imphal?

Yes, tourists are often welcome to participate in the festivals of Imphal. Local residents warmly welcome visitors to take part in cultural customs, dances, and cultural events in Imphal, providing a special chance to enjoy the region’s traditions and hospitality.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment