Hidden away at the foothills of the Nongmaiching range, Andro village is the perfect thing to quench the never-ending wanderlust for quite some time. Ever wanted to experience the rural life in all its glory?
Well, Andro Village is going to offer you the perfect village getaway complete with traditional rural houses and roads.
The name Andro is supposed to be originated from the hundred ‘handro’ which in local terms roughly means ‘the village of the people who returned’. Legend has it that even though the early dwellers were some of the earliest people to have settled in Manipur, they were driven away by the tyranny of a local ruler. A few centuries later they returned and reclaimed their home which came to be known as Andro Village.
The eternal fire dedicated to the deity Panam Ningthou which was lit by the King Poireiton of the Khuman clan. The locals believe the introduction of the fire to be the turning point in their history as after the fire was introduced around 1st century AD the hunters and gatherers of the region all began to settle down.
When And How to Go
The ideal time to visit Andro is just after the monsoons, the autumn season. The greenery of the place would be in full blossom at this time as during summers or winters the vegetation, being mostly seasonal, wither away.
Andro is situated about 26 kms to the east of Imphal. Cabs and share cabs are easily available to go to Andro. Motorbikes on rent is also a viable option if you are the one who would like to take in every inch of the scenic beauty en route.
The Simple Village Life
The main occupation of the people of the village is pottery at the entrance of the village one can see that clay and earthen pots are laid out in the sun to dry. One can also see the adjoining houses filled with men and women making those pots and putting it out in the sun.
The specialty of these pots are the extra shines applied on them after they have dried which is made from the bark of a local tree. Signs and symbols of the rich pottery culture of the place is portrayed in almost every household where men and women would be busy making pottery. Agriculture is the second most important form of livelihood for the locals. The entire agricultural system is based on the terrace farming system and is irrigation based. You can enjoy the finer things of life as you stroll through the lanes of Andro looking on at people making bamboo cane baskets, clothes and all forms of sustainable goods. There are a number of picnic spots in and around the village which would allow you to take in the essence of the village life at your own pace.
The fields around the village are a vibrant shade of colours as all the fields are full of freshly grown crops and fruits and vegetables like paddy, pineapple etc. which render the fields a treat to look at. The village is home to a number of tribes like the Kuki, Meitei etc. who all have different cultures, different lifestyles and yet they coexist together peacefully.
One can see the differences with bare eyes as every tribe has a unique way of building houses, making pots and so on. One can stand afar and take in this wonderful amalgamation of culture as it combines to give rise to a fountain of cultural diversity which awes the tourists.
The Major Tourist Attractions
- The Santhei Natural Park and Dam
- Chakpa Panam Ningthou Meithouirel Shanglen or Mei Mutaba
- Mutua Museum
1. The Santhei Natural Park and Dam
The Santhei Natural Park is one of the prime tourist attractions of the region as the picturesque natural park is dotted with small trees for shade and is thus an excellent venue for organizing a picnic. The park has facilitates for cooking food there and having a proper picnic in the truest sense of the term in the heart of nature. The reservoir and dam, built by the villagers at the foothills offer a picturesque view of the scene all around. The villagers set an example by maintaining the dam and the park in pristine conditions because of their economic importance.
2. Chakpa Panam Ningthou Meithouirel Shanglen or Mei Mutaba
Remember the eternal fire we spoke about previously? That fire is situated at the very centre of this temple which renders a mythical value to this temple. There is a shroud of enigma surrounding this temple as photography isn’t allowed inside nor is sunlight. The folks take turns to tend to the fire and keep it burning.
3. Mutua Museum
This is an altogether different experience that any that you have encountered so far. The museum is run by a family and due to its remoteness doesn’t usually draw too many visitors. The entry fee for the museum is Rs. 5 which the family collects for maintenance. The museum is an assortment of traditional thatched huts which house all kinds of equipment, tools etc. The houses were built following the building style of the major Manipuri tribes like Tangkui, Meitei, Kuki etc. and each building held the traditional and cultural artifacts of the respective tribes. There is an old tree trunk right at the centre of the museum which is accompanied by traditional tribal monolithic figures. The main items kept in the houses include pottery, traditional clothes, musical instruments, paintings, carvings and so on.
Each house has beautiful wood carvings which depict the culture of the respective houses. The museum is a beautiful initiative to showcase the conglomeration of the various tribal cultures of the region.
Andro is famous for its homemade brews, so don’t forget to indulge on Sekmai which is prepared by distilling rice, adding a local creeper Yangli to it for a sweet aromatic taste.
And almost everything found in Andro is indigenous. So if you ever want to reconnect with the glorious past that India had or if you want to have some time away from your usual bustle, Andro is your perfect go-to spot.