Manipur is one fascinating hilly state in North eastern fringes of India that is a favorite with tourists. From the beautiful hills and valleys to enchanting caves and national parks, you will find plenty of things to enjoy and explore in Manipur. In some rustic areas of the state, the tribes live while adhering to their ancient ways of life. They stick to their age old customs, and rituals. It can be fascinating to observe how they remain unaffected by influx of modernity over the decades. The ancient village Andro is one prime example.
Andro: where time sits still
Andro village, located about 25 km from capital city Imphal has a charm of its own that lures thousands of visitors. The natural splendor, serenity and traditions maintained by the villagers are nothing less than enthralling. The village is located in the picturesque Nongmaiching Hills. The villagers belong to the Loi community. They are warm and hospitable by nature.
Things to see
If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings franchisee, chances are there Andro will remind you of the hobbits! The villagers resort to harvest for living mostly and they are very particular about maintaining the ancient customs and ways of life. They are also skilled in pottery.
The Mutua Cultural Heritage Complex set up in 1993 here also attracts a lot of tourists. It showcases interesting and diverse tribal artifacts. The model houses of tribes, stone monuments and wood carvings make the complex worth a visit. You can also watch tribal dolls, traditional ornaments and pottery here.
The villagers at Andro are inherently proud of Mei Mutaba. This is an ancient temple where sacred fire which was supposedly lit 1000 years ago is maintained by the locals. The temple houses the village’s governing deity Panam Ningthou. The responsibility to keep the sacred fire burning is on the entire village and every household keeps it burning by turn.
While visiting this ancient village where time seems to stand still, do not miss out the local beverages! The Loi communities prepare indigenous brew like Sekmai and Andro. The women of this community are skilled in pottery. Interestingly, they do not use any pottery wheel to make clay crafts. They make use of a unique shaped wooden bat.
While the villagers are careful about preserving the unspoiled beauty of the place, they have also woken up to the benefits of tourism in recent years. After a water reservoir has been built at the foothills and the Santhei Natural Park has been set up, the tourist footfall has gone up significantly. It has become a picnic spot and villagers ensure it is kept clean. An orchid farm is also being set up to boost tourism prospects.