Battle of Imphal

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Battlefield Guides

Yai on a Shenam Saddle Tour with three brothers from the UK (March 2015). Yai on a Shenam Saddle Tour with three brothers from the UK (March 2015).

Hemant Singh Katoch

Hemant founded the Battle of Imphal Tours. From mid-2012 to the end of 2014, he researched, conceptualised, designed and conducted these series of Second World War battlefield tours around Imphal and Kohima, the first of their kind in India. At the time, he was motivated by the overarching aim of promoting and raising awareness about the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Imphal in 2014. He conceived of the original idea to commemorate this key anniversary and propagated this in private and publicly. As a then-member of the Manipur Tourism Forum, he helped organise the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Imphal from March to June 2014. He also conducted over 80 battlefield tours around Imphal and Kohima to mark the event.

Hemant's book on his work was published by Routledge in early 2016. It is titled "The Battlefields of Imphal: The Second World War and North East India". Please see here for more information about the book.

Hemant was an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Centre for North East Studies, Jamia Millia University, for the year 2013. He was also associated with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) - of which he is a Donor member - for his work in Manipur. In the past he has worked for several years for a Swiss foundation in Geneva and has had stints with the United Nations in East Timor and with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Congo. He is of the firm belief that Manipur’s experience of the Second World War is truly extraordinary and that a lot more needs to be done to bring it to the world’s attention. He is now a member of the UK-based Guild of Battlefield Guides.

Hemant has been based in Delhi since the end of 2014. He travels to Imphal and Kohima to conduct battlefield tours, on request.


Yaiphaba Kangjam (‘Yai’)

Yai is passionate about Manipur and its rich history, and he has extensively researched the Battle of Imphal. It never ceases to fascinate him that the environs of his home-town, Imphal, were the setting for one of the greatest battles of all time during the Second World War. The more he learns, however, the more he realises how much more there is to discover – not just about Imphal, but also about its twin battle at Kohima in 1944 and indeed the entire Burma Campaign.

Besides Second World War-themed tours, Yai also organises more contemporary tours around Manipur through his personal venture Imphal Walks ( He holds a Master in Tourism Management degree. His master's thesis was on "Battlefield Tourism", with special reference to Manipur. Yai speaks a little Burmese and is trying to further improve his proficiency of the language.

Yai came on board Battle of Imphal Tours in 2014. He has since played a key role in organising and conducting these tours, and he works closely with Hemant in this regard.  

Yai is based in Imphal.