Chandel is one of the nine districts of Manipur. It lies in the Indo-Myanmar border and is an entry-point to the neighbouring country. Chandel town is the district headquarters of the Chandel district while there are four sub-divisions too, namely, Moreh, Chakpikarong Chandel and Machi.
Myanmar lies on the south of Chandel district, Ukhrul to the east, Churachandpur to the west and south and Thoubal to the north. Chandel was initially named Tengnoupal when the district was formed in 1974. But in the year 1983, it was renamed to Chandel. Chandel is one of the least populated districts of Manipur.
The government of India, primarily the Ministry of Panchayati Raj has named the district among the most backward districts of the country and thus receives funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme ever year.
Under the Trans-Asian Super Highway project, Chandel can become an important town of the north east. Once the highway is operational, Chandel will become the gateway to many Asian countries.
The district of Chandel has been blessed by Mother Nature, and you will come across different species of flora and fauna in this place. There are many orchids and ornamental plants which are unique to this place.
Some of these rare species of plans include the Anisomeles indica, Anotis foetida and the Crasscephalum crepidiodes. Apart from this there are many medicinal herbs which find their way into the local herbal medicine.
Candel district is also home to some of the rare animal species with the only ape found in India, the Hoolok Gibbon being found in this district. You will also come across the Slow Loris, the Stumped Tailed Macaque, the Pig Tailed Macaque etc. in this district.
Nocturnal carnivores such as the Clouded leopard and the Golden Cat can also be seen here in this district. Even elephants from the neighbouring country of Myanmar migrate to this place to escape extreme weather conditions.
This bio diversity of the district acts as the biggest crowd puller attracting thousands of tourists to this place. Nature lovers from different corners of the world come to this remote district in Manipur to get lost amidst Mother Nature’s beautiful lap.
One of the most important towns in the district is Moreh that is the gateway to Myanmar and thus is an important town. Moreh also serves as the international trade centre of Manipur.
Moreh is located 70 kilometres from Chandel town. Tengnoupal is another place of interest in Chandel as it is the highest point of the Indo-Myanmar road. Located just 20 kilometres from Chandel, you can see much of the Manipur valley from the high point.
Chandel is also one of those unique districts of northeast where many tribes live together in harmony. About 20 tribal communities have been living in Chandel for generations. Some of the prominent tribes are Mayon, Anal, Maring, Kukis, Paite, Chothe and Thadou. Apart from the indigenous tribes of the district, many communities from outside have also come and resided in Chandel. The Meiteis and the Meitei Pangals have a considerable population in the districy. Many other non-Manipuri communities have also been living here for generations such as the Nepalis, Bengalis, Tamils Punjabis and the Biharis.
There are many languages spoken in Chandel and Thadou is one of the prominent languages spoken here. Aimol is another language widely spoken in the district. Aimol is primarily a Sino-Tibetan language. Anal is also commonly spoken by the Anal tribe here. Thanks to the cultural heterogeneity, Chandel is a colourful town and district. Chandel is also known as Lamka.
The ideal time to visit Chandel is at the beginning of winter.