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The Complete Guide to Tamenglong Forest Trek – Manipur

Manipur — the Jewel of India — as it is popularly known is truly a land of rich natural beauty and biodiversity.

We are thankful to the Department of Tourism and the Forest Department of Manipur for giving us an opportunity and supporting us to explore the northeastern part of India for the first time.

Manipur takes you by surprise right from the time you land in Imphal, the capital city. The lush green landscape, combined with rich water resources and unspoiled beauty is a trekker’s paradise.

If you’re expecting views of the snow-capped mountains or wide open valleys, this trek is not for you. But if you’re open to exploring new landscapes, love the feeling of trekking through thick amazon-like forests, experience the local culture and witness the hidden treasures of this land of jewels, then Tamenglong Forest Trek is your perfect choice.

The Tamenglong Forest Trek is a trek that takes you deep inside the virgin jungles of Manipur and brings you face-to-face with the most beautiful waterfall we have seen in a while. You trek through the local villages, visit the homes of the locals, get to know their culture and tradition, and camp next to their homes.

Although the trek seems like just a walk in the park, trust us, it is not. We rate the Tamenglong Forest Trek as a moderate-difficult trek. Trekkers must be in their best of fitness as the trek has very long trekking days, through constant steep ascents and descents that test the endurance. We recommend this trek only to the trekkers who are accustomed to walking long distances.

That said, this trek is extremely rewarding in terms of what you take back at the end of it. We haven’t come across another trek that is not in the Himalaya, but which manages to steal the show right from Day 1.

Table of Contents

Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop in comments at the end of the page if you need any help!  You will get all the information required to do the Tamenglong Forest trek on your own.

To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of Table of Contents.

Highlights of Tamenglong Forest Trek

1. The Thick Jungles
Tamenglong Forest Trek-Thick Virgin Forests of Manipur - Dhaval Jajal

The thick virgin jungles of Manipur are a sight for sore eyes. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The untouched forests of Manipur are a major highlight of this trek. We have seldom come across such rich natural biodiversity. This is the fact that hits you right from the time you arrive in Manipur.

These jungles keep you company for all the days of your trek.

They are a treasure trove of experience if you have the eye for it. Watch out for a variety of flora and fauna. Don’t panic when you hear chimpanzee calls instead of your alarms first thing in the mornings!

2. Ancient Tharon Caves
Tamenglong Forest Trek-Tharon Cave is a Highlight - Dhaval Jajal

The Tharon Caves are an ancient sight. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

When you see Tharon Caves you’ll realise the history and secrets they hold.

They are ancient and they exist even before the oldest inhabitants settled in Manipur. They lie deep inside the forest and have many rooms and pathways that go deep into the underground.

It is said that even the Manipuris have not yet explored the caves fully. Imagine how much is left for us to explore!

It is pitch dark inside the caves and it houses hundreds of bats inside. Keep your flashlights on at all times when you’re inside.

3. The larger-than-life Experience of Alangta Waterfall
Tamenglong Forest Trek-Alangta waterfall-Dhaval Jajal

Four staged Alangta waterfall that requires a steep descent of 2000 ft to get to the base. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Alangta waterfall is hands down the best part of the Tamenglong Forest Trek. It is not just a sight, but an experience.

You’ll be awestruck by the larger than life scale of this waterfall. This four-staged waterfall is the hardest to reach. You’ll have to trek the longest of all the days, go through a steep descent of almost 2,000 ft to get to the base of the waterfall.

The satisfaction you get once you are standing face-to-face with the waterfall is beyond words. You’ll never want to leave this place.

But do turn around before it gets dark because you have another 2,000 ft of ascent to get back to your campsite.

4. The Culture of Manipur
Tamenglong Forest Trek-Manipur culture-Dhaval Jajal

Manipur’s culture is a humbling experience. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

If there is an experience that stands out over everything else is the culture of Manipur that is alive in each and every local resident of the villages.

Every home is welcoming and the people are more than happy to invite you to their homes and treat you to a traditional meal and drink.

The people of Manipur are a rich source of information if you’re interested in knowing the history and traditions of the place. So don’t miss out on interacting with the lovely people. You’ll get lots of opportunities as we’ll camp in many of the villages.

Quick Itinerary

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Route Map-Dhaval Jajal

Route Map of the Tamenglong Forest trek. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro

Day 1: Reach Daiong from Imphal via Tamenglong

Drive distance: 172 km | Duration: 7-8 hours

On your first day, you’ll start towards Tamenglong from Imphal. The shared taxis leave by 6:30 AM every day. If you miss the taxi, your next and the last option is to take the chopper that leaves at 11:45 AM, subject to clear weather conditions.

It will cost Rs.900 per person in a taxi, one way. If you take the chopper, it will cost you Rs.2,500 per person for a 15-minute ride to Tamenglong. The chopper can take a maximum of 8 people at once.

From Tamenglong, it is another 10 kilometres to Dailong. If you’re taking a taxi, the same taxi will take you to Dailong. On the other hand, if you’ve taken the chopper, you’ll have to hop on a shared taxi from Tamenglong to Dailong.

Day 2: Dailong to Tharon Caves via Tharon Village

Trek distance: 14 km | Duration: 7-8 hours
Altitude loss: 3,458 ft ft to 3,274 ft via 2,887 ft
Trek type: Moderate. Rolling terrain with mainly motorable mud roads and forest trails. You’ll come across small streams on the way, but they dry up in winters. Carry sufficient water.

Day 3: Tharon Caves to Alangta Waterfall; back to Tharon Caves

Trek distance: 13 km | Duration: 7-8 hours
Altitude loss and gain: 3,274 ft to 1,772 ft, and back to 3,274 ft
Trek type: Difficult. A big descent from Tharon Caves to the waterfall and then an equal amount of ascent to reach back to the caves. Carry sufficient water. You may refill your water bottles at the waterfall.

Day 4: Tharon Caves to New Tharon

Trek distance: 9.5 km | Duration: 6 hours
Altitude gain: 3,274 ft to 4,478 ft
Trek type: Moderate. Couple of steep ascents on a rolling terrain, completely through thick forest and rice fields until you reach New Tharon village. Carry 2 litres of water. You will find a couple of water sources en route.

Day 5: New Tharon to Piulong via Buning Meadows

Trek distance: 8 km | Duration: 5-6 hours
Altitude gain: 4,478 ft to 4,554 ft via 4,675 ft
Trek type: Moderate-Difficult. Gradual ascent to Buning meadows and slight descent all the way to Piulong. Very few water sources in monsoons. Carry 2 litres of water.

Day 6: Reach Imphal from Piulong

Drive distance: 123 km | Duration: 6-7 hours

You will exit from Piulong by driving down to Imphal. Plan your travel out of Imphal only after 6.00 PM on this day.

GPX File of Tamenglong Forest Trek

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Know Your Trek

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a surficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Tamenglong Forest Trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Don’t miss the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Here’s how each day looks.

Day 1: Reach Dailong from Imphal via Tamenglong

Your first day is all about travel. It is ideal to reach Imphal and stay the previous day if you’ll be arriving later than 10.00 AM on your first day. We say this because there is only one shared taxi that goes to Tamenglong and that is at 6.30 AM every day. If you miss the taxi, then your last option is to fly to Tamenglong in a chopper that leaves at 11.45 AM, subject to clear weather.

You won’t get any other vehicles to Tamenglong later in the day because it gets dark by 5.00 PM in Manipur. It is tricky to navigate in the pitch dark on muddy trails and there are no street lights on the way.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Barak River-Dhaval Jajal

The Barak River that cuts through Tamenglong. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

On the way to Tamenglong you’ll pass through the Barak river that cuts through silently in the valley.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Streets of Tamenglong-Dhaval Jajal

The busy streets of Tamenglong on the first day of your trek. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The drive is not over yet. From Tamenglong, you may continue your journey in the same taxi if the driver agrees to take you to Dailong. If not, you’ll have to change vehicles and get on the one that goes to Dailong. It is the same if you’ve taken the chopper to Tamenglong.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Paddy fields-Dhaval Jajal

The paddy fields before entering the jungles of Manipur. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

As you leave town, you’ll pass through the paddy fields before driving through the forest.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-start of the forest trail-Dhaval Jajal

Start of the forest trail once the proper roads are left behind. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The mesmerizing jungles of Manipur take you by surprise as you have not seen anything like it before.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Waterfall on the way-Dhaval Jajal

Many of such small waterfalls are lined up throughout the forest. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Make your way through the trail for the next 4.50 kilometers. You’ll come across a few streams and small waterfalls if you visit soon after the monsoon season. These may be dried up during winters.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Forest trail-Dhaval Jajal

Although the journey is completely inside the forest, you will never get bored of the variety. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The jungle keeps you company throughout. Although you’ll be driving completely inside the forest, you will not get bored even for a moment.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Dailong village signboard-Dhaval Jajal

This signboard welcomes you to Dailong village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Dailong village is a Biodiversity Heritage Site. This sign board located next to a Catholic church gives a hint at what’s in store for you the next day. You’ll retire for the day here.

Take a leisurely stroll around the village, speak to the locals and understand the rich history and culture of the place.

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Day 2: Dailong to Tharon Caves via Tharon Village

Trek gradient: Moderate. Rolling terrain with mainly motorable mud roads and forest trails.
Water sources: You’ll come across small streams on the way, but they dry up in winters. Carry sufficient water.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-streets of Dailong Village-Dhaval Jajal

Our exploration team taking a leisurely walk in the streets of Dailong Village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The name Dailong is a shortened version of Taudailuang — Taudai in Manipuri means ‘rock’, and Luang is ‘a place or a range’ — which translates to a land of rocks/boulders.

When you see the village which randomly has big boulders lying all around, you’ll realise that the name stands true to its meaning.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Alangta waterfall-Dhaval Jajal

A typical home in Dailong village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Today’s excitement lies in absorbing the rich cultural heritage of Manipur and taking a long walk mostly on a motorable combination of asphalt and mud roads and a surprising trail that cuts through the thick jungle.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-locals in Dailong village -Dhaval Jajal

Inside the home of a local residing in Dailong village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The locals are welcoming and if you’re curious to know their way of life, just peep into a local’s home and you’ll be fascinated by the way they arrange their homes. They are completely different from how our homes look and feel in the city.

Tamenglong Forest Trek- Dailong Raenggan -Dhaval Jajal

A Raenggan is located at the far end of the village as it is meant for emergencies and to hold important meetings. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

If you have time, visit the village’s Raenggan, which is used as a place of gathering for the locals of the village in case there is an emergency or as a place of community meetings.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Raenggan's circular structure-Dhaval Jajal

Raenggan is a circular structure where the locals sit in a circle with the speaker’s dais in the centre. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Raenggan is a circular place of meeting with a central dais for the speaker, usually the village’s chairman or the head. It is located in every village of Manipur and was built by inhabitants hundreds of years ago. It is fascinating to see the culture being followed even to this day.

Start the trek on the tarmac and follow it for 7 kilometres. Since it is a motorable road, you may come across a few vehicles now and then. They are mostly locals moving between villages.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-forest descent-Dhaval Jajal

The view opens up as you start descending into the forest. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

In about 2.5 hours you’ll take a detour on your left that leads you down into the forest. It is a steep descent for about 1.5 kilometres.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-steep descent-Dhaval Jajal

It is a steep descent, so be watchful of your steps. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Trek through the jungle which gradually becomes deeper and deeper. At one point you’ll suddenly realise that the sunlight doesn’t touch the forest floor anymore.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Forest trail-Dhaval Jajal

Make your own trails through the forest. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

There are sections where you cannot make out the trail. You’ll make your own trail and cut through the forest straight ahead.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Dense forest-Dhaval Jajal

The dense jungle of Dailong village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

These forests are very old and are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Hearing chimpanzees calling out throughout the day is a common feature of trekking in these thick jungles.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Wooden bridges-Dhaval Jajal

Wooden makeshift bridges are common to cross the streams in the jungle. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

You’ll find many wooden logs that act as makeshift bridges to cross multiple streams in the forest. Make your way carefully through them as they may be slippery or weak at some places.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Tharon Village entry -Dhaval Jajal

Entering Tharon village after a long walk. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The last 1.50 kilometres are a steep ascent before you reach Tharon village. You are greeted by the neatly laid wooden fences on either side of the trail.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Tharon Village-Dhaval Jajal

The pretty Tharon village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Tharon village is equally beautiful as compared to Dailong and it gives a fresh perspective. Unlike Dailong, Tharon has a completely earthy trail with no asphalt anywhere. The locals gave a hint that there is a motorable road coming up that connects Tharon to New Tharon village which is about 12 kilometres away.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-A walk in Tharon Village-Dhaval Jajal

A walk along Tharon village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Tamenglong Forest Trek- community gathering space, Tharon village-Dhaval Jajal

A community gathering space at Tharon village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Tamenglong Forest Trek- Trail to Tharon Caves -Dhaval Jajal

The trail to Tharon Caves from the village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

From the village, make your way to Tharon Caves which lie 3 kilometres apart. The caves are the highlight for the day. Remember, you’ll need to take permission from the local authority at Tharon and you’ll be accompanied by a guide when you visit the caves.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Stream beside Tharon caves-Dhaval Jajal

A stream flowing in full force just beside the caves. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

First, you’ll be greeted by the gushing stream that cuts through the caves and flows down to become the Alangta waterfall. The setting of the caves, the jungle and the stream make you feel like you’ve landed on the earth way back in time.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Tharon Caves entry -Dhaval Jajal

Entering the dark caves of Tharon. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The caves are deep, dark and long. They have multiple routes that lead you to many different rooms. The caves were used hundreds of years ago by the indigenous people of Manipur as a place of gathering during marriage ceremonies and any other form of celebrations.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Inside Tharon Caves-Dhaval Jajal

The caves are dark and may become claustrophobic if you don’t have a light handy. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Tip: Keep a headlamp handy before you enter the caves. There are hundreds of bats inside and you may get spooked when they fly right next to your ears. Having a headlamp/torch handy will help you in this deep, dark cave.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Alangta waterfall-Dhaval Jajal

Some routes are too small and you’ll have to crawl your way through. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

As you explore the caves, you’ll come across a couple of routes that you need to crawl your way through to reach the other end. Keep calm and don’t panic if you feel you’re getting stuck. They are just short stretches of about 10-20 metres.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Dhaval Jajal

Camp by the stream to end the day next to Tharon Caves. Picture by Dhaval Jajal

Once you have explored the caves, camp by this pristine location to get the most out of your trek. The campsite is small and has space for just three or so tents. In case you’re in a larger group, explore around and find an appropriate campsite nearby.

Winding up the day as the birds chirp, listening to the sound of flowing water, under the dense foliage of the jungle is the most relaxing experience.

Day 3: Tharon Caves to Alangta Waterfall; back to Tharon Caves

Trek gradient: Difficult. A big descent from Tharon Caves to the waterfall and then an equal amount of ascent to reach back to the caves.
Water sources: Carry sufficient water. You may refill your water bottles at the waterfall.

Today is the most exciting day of the trek. Start the day early as the day is long and tough

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Stream near Tharon caves-Dhaval Jajal

The view awaits as soon as you step out of your tent. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Wake up to this view and start towards Alangta waterfall. The day demands the most out of you, so conserve energy and start easy.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Forest trail to waterfall-Dhaval Jajal

The forest trail to the waterfall. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Trace your steps back to Tharon village for about a kilometre before cutting through the forest on your right. This is a shortcut to reach the waterfall. You don’t have to go all the way to Tharon as it increases the distance significantly.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-small streams on the way-Dhaval Jajal

Small streams like these are your constant companions on this day. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

You’ll come across many streams on the way. So don’t worry if you run out of water. There are plenty of water sources today.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Thick foliage-Dhaval Jajal

The thick foliage as you proceed closer to the waterfall. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

It is a rolling terrain for the initial few kilometres before you start the steep descent to the waterfall for almost 2 kilometres.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Alangta waterfall-Dhaval Jajal

The cement bridge next to the stream indicates you are on the right track. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The cement bridge next to the stream is an indication that you are on the right track. Cross the bridge and follow the trail for another 1.5 kilometres.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-view of the waterfall-Dhaval Jajal

The first view of the waterfall en route. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

You’ll come across a tree on your left that can be climbed easily. The exact location of the tree is marked in the GPX file that is attached under the Quick Itinerary. Download the same for a seamless experience.

The first view of the waterfall mesmerizes you from the tree.

Tamenglong Forest Trek- Bamboo forest -Dhaval Jajal

Bamboo forest on the way to Alangta waterfall. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Soon after the tree the trail starts to descend rapidly. You go through bamboo, wild banana plantation and a variety of flora throughout the forest.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Alangta in the backdrop-Dhaval Jajal

Alangta waterfall in the backdrop. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The sound of the waterfall starts getting louder as you move towards it, and its different angles start opening up through the clearings in the forest.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Tricky descents-Dhaval Jajal

Tricky descents in the forest before Alangta waterfall. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The descent gets tricky as you move closer to the waterfall. Be careful as there are high changes of slips and falls, especially soon after the monsoon season.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-the ladder to reach Alangta waterfall-Dhaval Jajal

The ladder to reach Alangta waterfall. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

In about a kilometre the trail forks ahead of you. If you want better views of the waterfall, but a trickier descent take the trail on the right. If not, stick to the one on the left. Eventually both the trails reach the waterfall.

You’ll have to climb the makeshift ladder to get closer to the waterfall. Exercise caution here as the ladder may not be as strong due to the natural wear and tear.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Alangta waterfall-Dhaval Jajal

The four-staged Alangta waterfall is massive. Trekkers having lunch with the DIY kit. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

The four-staged massive Alangta waterfall is finally in front of you. You’ll be awestruck by the size and beauty of this secluded waterfall.

If climbing to the top of a Himalayan mountain gives you a sense of achievement, reaching Alangta waterfall is no less of an adventure!

Take a dip in the refreshing water, but stay safe by always staying near the shore as the stream has strong currents that may pull you in if not careful. Also the stones in the water are extremely slippery due to the formation of algae.

Spend a good amount of time here, keeping in mind that you’ll have to retrace your steps back to Tharon caves before the sun goes down by 5.00 PM.

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Day 4: Tharon Caves to New Tharon

Trek gradient: Moderate. Couple of steep ascents on a rolling terrain, completely through thick forest and rice fields until you reach New Tharon village.
Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. You will find a couple of water sources en route.

Start the trek by taking the trail opposite to Tharon village. Today’s trek is shorter compared to the previous days, but has steep ascents and descents.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Wooden bridge on the way to New Tharon-Dhaval Jajal

The wooden bridge on the way to New Tharon. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Soon, you’ll pass this wooden bridge that cuts across the stream. You’ll leave the forest behind and traverse through large rice fields.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Rice fields of Tharon-Dhaval Jajal

The rice fields of Tharon. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

What follows next is a 2.50-kilometre steep ascent through the open grasslands.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Meadow views-Dhaval Jajal

The meadows are visible in between forests. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Today’s scenery is a refreshing change compared to the previous days as you’ll get to trek in the forest clearing, with pretty views for most part of the day.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Dense forests-Dhaval Jajal

A play of dense forests and open clearings. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Once the ascent levels out into a gradual slope, you’ll enter the thick foliages again. Crossing multiple makeshift wooden bridges over many streams is common throughout the day.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-No trail section-Dhaval Jajal

Some sections have no trail. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

In the forest you’ll often come across sections that cover the trail completely. Make your way through the thick foliage carefully.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Wild Banana plantations-Dhaval Jajal

Wild Banana plantations and ferns cover the trail completely. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

After about 9.50 kilometres of trekking, you’ll reach New Tharon village. A small hut right out of the forest signifies your destination.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-wooden huts-Dhaval Jajal

Wooden huts on the way to New Tharon. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

New Tharon village was formed about 10 years ago by the residents of Tharon. Since it is fairly new, you’ll see the raw construction of the houses. This is about as close you get to see the traditional Manipuri village as possible.

The village has no electricity. No phone connectivity or any kind of modern amenities. This is a land rich in history carried on by the people of Manipur.

Retire for the day here and converse with the locals to know more about the village and its people.

Day 5: New Tharon to Piulong via Buning Meadows

Trek gradient: Moderate-Difficult. Gradual ascent to Buning meadows and slight descent all the way to Piulong.
Water sources: Very few water sources in monsoons. Carry 2 litres of water.

Your last day of trek is again through the forest and grasslands. It takes you through rolling terrain which involves steep ascents, descents and no trails at some places.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Sunrise at New Tharon-Dhaval Jajal

An early morning at New Tharon. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

As we have said earlier, the sun rises by 5.00 AM in Manipur. As the sun rises, you’ll wake up to the call of chimpanzees that may startle you at first!

Tamenglong Forest Trek-sunny day in New Tharon-Dhaval Jajal

The sun is bright and shining by the time you leave New Tharon. Picture by Dhaval Jajal

The sun shines bright by the time you start from New Tharon. Notice the thick jungles all around you.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Wooden huts of New Tharon-Dhaval Jajal

Bid adieu to the huts of New Tharon. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Take in the scenery as you get ready to make a move towards Piulong, your last village for the day.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Grasslands to thick forest-Dhaval Jajal

The terrain transitions from grasslands to thick forest in a matter of minutes. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Proceed towards the forest cover to the north of New Tharon. Buckle up for what’s ahead of you. It is going to be a roller coaster ride.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-wooden bridge-Dhaval Jajal

A wooden bridge through the forest. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Just like the other days, today is an out and out jungle trek. Carefully cross these wooden bridges as you go over many streams.

For the next six kilometres you go through the forest, follow the trails where there is barely any path, ascend and descend through steep sections.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Approaching Buning meadows-Dhaval Jajal

Approaching Buning meadows. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

When the trees start thinning out and the trail starts becoming gradual, you are almost approaching the Buning meadows.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Approaching Buning meadows-Dhaval Jajal

Buning meadows are a sight for sore eyes. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Buning meadows appear suddenly out of the forest. Such grasslands are a sight for sore eyes, especially when you’ve been trekking inside the forest for such a long time.

Feel free to take a walk on these rolling meadows and rest for a while before entering Piulong village.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Pond in Piulong village-Dhaval Jajal

A pond with hundreds of fish in Piulong village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Once at Piulong, go around the village and notice how picture-perfect the setting is. There is a small pond with hundreds of fish, there are ducks that roam around freely. Also, there are goats and sheep that graze around happily.

Tamenglong Forest Trek-Piulong Village-Dhaval Jajal

The picturesque Piulong village. Picture by Dr Dhaval Jajal

After a long trek, your legs are tired and your body calls for a halt. Go ahead, camp in this picturesque setting.

The next day you’ll take a shared taxi from Piulong to Imphal.

Day 6: Reach Imphal from Piulong

You will exit from Piulong by driving down to Imphal. Plan your travel out of Imphal only after 6.00 PM on this day.

You’ll need to arrange your transportation beforehand as vehicles are not as frequent as from the major cities of Manipur. Ideally, it is best to talk to the same organiser with whom you travelled from Imphal on the first day of your trek.

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How Difficult is Tamenglong Forest Trek?

Honestly, Tamenglong Forest Trek, which has long trekking days, and climbs and drops to almost 2,000 ft on almost a daily basis, is difficult. It is rated as ‘moderate-difficult’ for the same reason.

A moderate-difficult rating refers to longer trekking days with steep descents and ascents (example: descent to Alangta waterfall). This makes it a notch more difficult than the moderate treks like Chhattisgarh Jungle Trek and Satpura Tiger Reserve trek.

The trek has easy exits but the roads are in a bad condition and there are some technical sections wherever the roads are slippery, where there are steep ascents and descents and where there are no proper trails.

That’s doable in a well-paced itinerary, like the one we follow for the Tamenglong Forest Trek at Indiahikes. The key is to pace it out..

Be careful during the steep descent to the Alangta waterfall. It is long and tricky if you are descending during the rains. Wearing good quality trekking shoes with a great grip really helps here. (For details read: How To Choose The Best Trekking Shoes In India)

Is Tamenglong Forest Trek Safe?

Yes. Trekking to Tamenglong Forest Trek  is safe even though it lies deep inside the jungles of Manipur and close to the Nagaland border and it is patrolled by the people of Nagaland Separatist Insurgency Camp near Piulong. But that’s safe because the trail is remote, away from civilization. Most of the time it’s just your group trekking on your own in nature.

Being mentally prepared for the trek is as important as being physically prepared to stay safe. For this, it is crucial to have a clear mental picture of the trek. 

Exit points on the Tamenglong Forest Trek

Medical Emergencies can strike on any trek. The key to dealing with them lies in knowing your exit points. Know how to get out and reach the nearest hospital quickly.

On Tamenglong Forest Trek, your best bet is to reach Dailong, Tharon or Piulong depending on how deep you are in the trek. You can be evacuated to Imphal from any of these villages.

Closest Hospital to Tamenglong Forest Trek

In case of a medical emergency, the closest hospital is in Senapati. If you need serious medical attention, head to Imphal for better facilities.

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Best Time to do the Trek

The best time to do Tamenglong Forest Trek is from October to the end of February. It is because the forests are lush green soon after the monsoon season. The greenery stays until the start of winter and the greenery starts turning golden brown towards summer.

It is impossible to trek in the monsoon season as the trails become slushy and extremely difficult to navigate.

During summer too, the terrain turns dry and all the water sources are depleted. It is best to avoid trekking in any other season other than autumn and winter in Manipur.

Weather and Temperature on the Tamenglong Forest Trek

On Tamenglong Forest Trek, the weather or temperature doesn’t fluctuate much between campsites. But yes, there is a considerable change between the day time and night time temperatures.

That, combined with soft, evening showers on certain days make trekking to Tamenglong Forest a pleasant experience.

With that setting in mind, let’s dive into the details of weather and temperature.

From October to the end of November:

October to the end of November are pleasant months of the trek. Day temperatures hover around 18 – 22° C when sunny. Expect cloud cover or rain to decrease this range by  2 or 3° C.

However rains are never ruled out in the jungles. You can always expect an afternoon shower or a day on the trek with full rain. It is all easily managed on the trek with appropriate rain gear.

From December to the end of February:

The jungles of Manipur start getting colder by the end November. It sees temperatures dipping to less than 10° C. This is when the flowers disappear and the forests and meadows also turn golden.

How to Plan Your Travel

To reach Tamenglong Forest Trek you need to travel around 172  km towards west from Imphal, going to Dailong. The base camp of the trek is Dailong, a small village situated in Tamenglong district.

For ease of understanding, we have broken down the journey based on the transport and the route you take:

From Imphal Airport to Dailong

From Imphal, you have two ways to reach Dailong:

1. Chopper to Tamenglong and a taxi to Dailong

If you reach imphal before 10.30 AM on Day 1, take the chopper service immediately from the airport to Tamenglong. It leaves at 11.45 AM and costs you Rs.2,500 for a 15-minute ride.

From Tamenglong, take a shared taxi or a shared auto rickshaw that goes to Dailong. It should not cost you more than Rs.200.

2. Shared taxi to Tamenglong and on to Dailong

Take a shared taxi from Imphal airport and ask if you can be dropped off at Dailong directly. It will cost you Rs.800 to Tamenglong, and another Rs.200 to Dailong.

If the driver refuses to take you to Dailong, get down at Tamenglong and take another shared taxi/auto rickshaw to Dailong.

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What to Take on Your Trek

Things to get for the Tamenglong Forest Trek

Tamenglong Forest Trek is a regular trek inside the jungles of Manipur. The trekking gear you need to carry for this trek is a bit similar to our high altitude treks. So pay careful attention to this entire section.

– A list of everything you need for the trek
– A list of medicines for your trek

First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.

1. Trekking Shoes:

Tamenglong Forest Trek requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle uneven terrain.

Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.

2. Backpack:

For a trek like Tamenglong Forest, you need a 30-40 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. 

Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.

3. Clothes:

Wearing layers is the mantra in the jungles. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes, you take off or put on layers as required. 

4. Base Layer:
1 T-Shirt:

Wear one T-shirt and carry one. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt or bitten by insects.

Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.

Buying Tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.

Protip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them. 

1 Outer Layer:

A padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water-resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.

Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do.

Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.

Two Trek Pants:

Two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry two just in case it rains. Trek pants with zippered cut-offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings/rain.

Buying Tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.

Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trekking pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.

Mandatory Accessories:

These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Tamenglong Forest Trek without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.

 1. Sun Cap:

A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
PROTIP: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks, prevent sun burns in every possible way. Also, they are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.

2. Socks (2 Pairs):

Carry 2 pairs of sports socks to give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry. As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well. 

3. Headlamp:

Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Tamenglong Forest Trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.

Buying Tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you. 

4. Trekking Pole (A Pair):

Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Tamenglong Forest Trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India, we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.

5. Rainwear:

On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.

Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.

6. Rain Cover for your Backpack:

Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built-in rain covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic. 

PROTIP: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.

Other Mandatory Requirements:

1. A Toilet Kit:

Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.

Protip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.

Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Tamenglong Forest.

For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose of your sanitary waste.

2. Cutlery:

Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.

Protip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest. Watch this video on why steel cutlery is better than plastic.

3. Two 1-Litre Bottles or a 2-Litre Hydration Pack:

Tamenglong Forest Trek has long walking days. You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.

4. Plastic Covers:

Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.

5. Personal Medical Kit:

Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times.  

1. Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
2. Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
3. Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
4. Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
5. ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking.  Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
6. Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.

Our Trek Leaders carry a medical kit with them which also consists of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.

PROTIP: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your Trek Leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.

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How to get Fit for Your Trek

Cardiovascular Endurance

This trek requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start jogging at a slow pace and then keep increasing your pace day by day. In order to be prepared for strenuous trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

–> Target completing 5 km in 40 minutes when you begin.
–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins.
–> If you are 45 years old and above and are more comfortable with long distance walking than jogging, then before you go on the trek, you should be able to walk at least 10 km at a stretch. Target completing this in 90 minutes.

If jogging is fine for you, your target should be completing 5 km in 45 minutes initially, and 5 km in less than 40 minutes before you go on the trek.

–> If you are somebody who prefers cycling over running, your target must be to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.

Working out indoors

If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long is the Tamenglong Forest Trek?

The Tamenglong Forest Trek is 35 km long and you gain and lose approx. 2,000 ft  on the trek. The safest way to do this trek is to cover this distance in four as it allows enough time for your body to get used to the distance and elevation.  It’s easier and makes trekking more enjoyable.

Most walks are on the forest trail.

2. Where is Tamenglong Forest Trek?

The Tamenglong Forest Trek is situated in the Tamenglong district of Manipur. It is slightly towards the west of Imphal. The trek starts from Dailong, which is 10 km from Tamenglong.

3. How many waterfalls do we see on the trek?

You come across one waterfall called Alangta waterfall located deep inside the jungles of Manipur.

4. Do I get to see any animals on the Tamenglong Forest Trek?

No. You won’t encounter any wild animals on the trek. There are snakes and other reptiles, but they stay away from the trails on which humans traverse.

You’ll hear the call of chimpanzees very often throughout the trek. Consider yourself lucky if you get to see them on the trek. They are usually shy and won’t come close to humans.

5. Is it safe to trek in Manipur?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to trek in Manipur. Although the trek takes you close to the Nagaland border, it is guarded by the soldiers of Nagaland Separatist Insurgency Camp who keep you safe from external elements or threats.

6. How to get to Tamenglong Forest Trek?

To enter the forests of Tamenglong, you first need to reach Imphal. You will have to do this by taking a flight to Imphal.

Once in Imphal, make your way to Dailong by either taking a chopper, or by getting a shared cab.

7. Do I Need an RT-PCR Test before my trek?

As per the state government rules in Manipur, it is mandatory for you to get yourself an RT-PCR test done and carry a COVID negative certificate if you are not fully vaccinated. So ensure you get it done not later than 72 hours before you enter Manipur.

In case you are fully vaccinated, we just need your vaccination certificate.

We want our trekkers to ensure they are not carrying any infections to the villages inside the forest, where medical care is practically non-existent.

Trek Contribution

Trek explored, documented and photos clicked by Dr Dhaval Jajal

Trek penned down by Gautam Singh

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