Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west; it also borders Myanmar to the east. It covers an area of 22,347 square kilometres (8,628 sq mi).
The Meeteis, who live primarily in the state's valley region, form the primary ethnic group. Their language, Meeteilon (also known as Manipuri), is also the lingua franca in the state, and was recognized as one of the national languages of India in 1992. The Kukis or the Zoumis (people belonging to Zo descendants) and Nagas live in the hills of the state. Manipur is considered a sensitive border state.
Foreigners entering Manipur (including foreign citizens born in Manipur) must possess a Restricted Area Permit, which can be obtained from the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office in the "metros" (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai) or certain other state government offices. Permits are valid for only 10 days, and visitors must travel only on tours arranged by authorised travel agents, in groups of four. Furthermore, they may come to Imphal only by air and are not permitted to travel outside the capital.
UPDATE (24 Nov. 2009): The state government as per directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India on November 9, has relaxed the existing guidelines of the ministry`s circular No. 249 under letter no. 15011/7/95-F.I dated 29/6/1998 is delegated powers to issue Protected Area Permits (PAP):
- To visiting foreign tourists in a group of two or more persons with a recognized travel agent who would act as an escort of the group up to a maximum period of 30 days.
- Foreigners married to Indian nationals belonging to Manipur can visit the state on tourist visa for a maximum period of 90 days.
- IO/OCI card holder hailing from Manipur, visiting foreign nationals engaged in development/welfare project would continue to require prior permission of MHA after examining proposal in consultation with security agencies, MHA may consider issue of PAP to such visits of foreign nationals initially for a period up to 180 days.