Loktak Lake—Life on Floating Leaf


The waterscape of Loktak Lake, Manipur, is dominated by ‘phumdi’. The eco-system is literally made of a kind of water hyacinth that gathers in huge masses to form floating islands. These mobile ‘phumdis’ are usually round and can have any diameter from 4 ft to 100 ft. Looking from the top Loktak appears an assortment of thousands of solid green circles. These ‘phumdis’ can withstand fairly good weight and the fishermen usually anchor reasonably bigger ones to build their huts on it. Thus on the vast waterscape life rolls on in its humane passion—in the limited boundary of floating islands children play, their pet cat mews, the ducklings wait for the master to sail back home. The uncertain patch of blue during twilight is given company by an earthen lamp floating beside lotus petals. That’s how fables are born.