Loktak Lake – Manipur, India - Atlas Obscura
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Loktak Lake

Manipur, India

The largest freshwater lake in northeast India is also the only floating national park in the world.  

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Loktak Lake is fed by the Manipur River in northeast India’s Manipur state, situated between Myanmar and Bangladesh. At nearly 111 square miles, Loktak is the region’s largest lake, but what makes it unique is its collection of floating phumdis. 

From afar, phumdis appear to be a series of small, circular islands that dot the enormous shallow lake. However, phumdis are actually floating patches of vegetation, soil, and other organic matter in varying stages of decay. They’re unique to this lake and have been further cultivated by local villagers. 

During the monsoon season when water levels are at the highest, the phumdis float, however during the dry season, they attach to the lake’s bottom with their roots gathering nutrients from the soil. 

The larger, circular phumdis are actually filled with fish, and serve as a major food source and livelihood for the local community. There has been some controversy of late surrounding a dam constructed along the river because it has prevented the draining of rotted vegetation. 

The phumdis and surrounding lake were declared a national park in 1977. It remains the only national park in the world that floats. 

Know Before You Go

The lake can be found in Keibul Lamjao National Park.