Floating feeling

The floating huts of Loktak lake in Manipur’s Bishnupur district are more than picturesque. Simple structures made of natural materials, they float on what the locals call phumdi (a mass of matted vegetation, organic debris and soil) at the edge of the lake. These huts have served as traditional homes for the local fishing community. The indigenous way of life is changing, with income from fishing dropping and fisherfolk struggling to make a living. Enter tourism. The locals decided to convert their huts into homestays and offer a unique staying experience for the many tourists and backpackers who visit Loktak lake. The Tata Trusts have supported these new entrepreneurs with solar energy solutions for the floating beauties.

floating huts of Loktak lake in Manipur
The tourism initiative has ensured a sustainable source of income for the local residents
tourism initiatives in india
Small country boats are the only means of transport to reach the huts.
tata trusts manipur loktak lake ecotourism

Before the solar project got underway, homestay owners used kerosene lamps for lighting purposes. The off-grid solar lighting system is ideal for residents who have made the islands their homes and remain cut off from land.

tata trusts tourism inititative
tata trusts tourism inititative

A 40Wp solar system is installed on the roof of the floating hut. The Centre for microFinance, an associate organisation of the Tata Trusts, provides technical support and services for the initiative.

tata trusts tourism inititative
Solar panels

Solar panels installed on the rooftops of the floating huts provide power to the floating huts. The supply is sufficient for the local weaving centre where Lolini Devi Laishram (below) crafts a traditional attire called Rani Phee.

Rani phee