Mizoram lies in the southernmost outpost of extreme North-Eastern India, the land of the Blue Mountains. Manipur, Assam and Tripura bind the northern end of this little island of tranquility with neighbouring countries Myanmar and Bangladesh nestling most of the state between them.
Evergreen ranges of Mizoram hills with blooms of exotic flora and dense bamboo jungles rise sharply from the plains of Assam in a north-south direction. These hills and plunging gorges are criss-crossed by gushing rivers and sparkling waterfalls. Highest among its several peaks is the Phawngpui (Blue Mountain).
- 1 Murlen National Park — located at Murlen village, it is a thick forest with a variety of plant species, mammals such as the tiger, leopard and sambar as well as birds such as pheasants and partridges.
- 2 Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park (Phawngpui National Park) — the Phawngpui mountain and nearby forest reserve comprises this park. A large number of bird species are found here as well as several rare animal species such as the tiger, leopard and capped langur.
Mizoram is a kaleidoscopic 'pleasure trove' for the discerning visitor, with its wide array of festivals and dances, handicrafts, flora and fauna, breathtaking natural beauty, and temperate climate. The Mizos are very friendly and hospitable. English is commonly spoken. The joyful enthusiasm and the gregarious spirit of the local populace have been the main reasons for establishing some of the most attractive tourism features in this beautiful state.
Today, Mizoram is a dazzling mix of this cross-cultural vibrancy with 87% literacy (the second-highest in India, a fact in which every Mizo takes genuine pride), gender equality and a vigorous pursuit of its ancient cultural traditions and social mores. Almost everybody in the state is a Christian by religion and yet they haven't allowed their distinct Mizo culture to fade.
You will find women working everywhere in Mizoram. In fact, all shops are run and managed by women. Men tend to be taxi drivers or do harder labour by being car/scoooter mechanics, working in the fields, et al. Women are respected, are safe and enjoy considerable freedom. Smoking and chewing tobacco paan/gutkha is very common in Mizoram. Many women too smoke, eat tobacco paan, gutkha etc. Comfortable and decent western clothing is uniformly worn across the state and Mizo women dress up quite smartly with makeup in small villages and cities alike. Divorces are common and so are re-marriages.
People give priority for self-sufficiency and you find no beggars anywhere in Mizoram. The crime rate is almost nil and most Mizo houses in villages and small towns are unlocked. The only thefts are due to some drug addicts.
Overall the society is quite homogeneous, peace-loving and classless. Corruption, however, has widened the gap between rich and poor and threatens the social fabric.
History often varies from legends. But the story of the Mizos getting out into open from the neither world through a rock opening is now part of the Mizo fable. Chhinlung, however, is taken by some as the Chinese city of Sinlung or Chinlingsang situated close to the Sino-Burmese border. The Mizos have songs and stories about the glory of the ancient Chhinlung civilization handed down from one generation to another.
It is hard to tell how far the story is true. It is nevertheless possible that the Mizos came from Sinlung or Chinlungsan located on the banks of the river Yalung in China.
All cities, towns and villages are located on top of mountains. This is because in earlier times, Mizo tribes used to fight with each other and to make the attacking enemy's job more difficult, it was considered safer to create settlements atop mountains.
The two official languages of the state are English and Mizo.
Mizo is a Tibeto-Burman language and there have been efforts to have it included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It is a tonal, highly analytical language, written using the Latin script.
English is widely used in everyday business. You should not have any problems getting by with English.
Hindi isn't spoken by many people, even in Aizawl.
All Indian citizens (with the exception of ethnic Mizos) have to apply for an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter the state. There are two ILPs which you can apply for: A temporary permit (valid for 15 days) or a regular permit (valid for 6 months). Regular permits require sponsorship from a local or a government agency.
Mizoram has only one airport, Lengpui Airport, which is near Aizawl, and this airport can be reached from Kolkata by air which will take around 1hr and also from Guwahati by air within a short period of 30 min. The road from the airport to the city takes around another 1 h, and the taxi rate will cost ₹600 to reach the city. Look out for people who can share the ride as you may be able to pay half that price.
You can also try for a shared (TATA) Sumo which charges 100/- per seat and takes 10 passegers - 2 ahead, 4 in middle and 4 at the back. But make sure that you act very fast and book a seat as there could be just one or two Sumos.
Mizoram is connected through its rail head in Bairabi in Kolasib District.
You can get around depending upon your budget.
Different types of car are available for rentals. From SUVs to Small Cars. TATA Sumos are available from one town to another at a reasonable rate on seat basis. There are many booking counters around Lower Zarkawt, Dawrpui (near Millenium Centre) and in Upper Zarkawt in Aizwal where one can book a seat with choice of seat no. A trip to Champai costs nearly ₹400/- per head. Any such SUMO takes 10 passengers - 2 ahead, 4 in middle and 4 at the back.
Exclusively hired vehicles are available at ₹15/- per km + ₹800 for each night halt and upwards.
The white and yellow Maruti taxis mainly ply the cities and towns and around the countryside. You need to haggle for the price to get a good deal.
Mizoram has a state transport corporation that connects the whole of Mizoram. The cities and towns are also serviced by minibus and by sumo. The rides are very bumpy and the buses are not so spacious. If you can shell some extra money and hire a cab, do so because it will be really painful the next day.
Being a mountainous, hilly state, Mizoram is full of beautiful, serene, pristine sights.
Located approximately 85km away from Aizawl, Tamdil is reputed for its marine wildlife. Along the way, you can truly appreciate some of the prettiest areas of the state.
The Mizoram State Museum is an ethnographic museum dedicated to the Mizos. There are sections dedicated to textiles, history, art, zoology, and to name a few. To truly appreciate and understand the Mizos, this is the main place to go to. Photography is forbidden without prior permission from the staff, and a guide is available on request.
Surrounded by a vast stretch of thick bamboo forests close to Thenzawl hill station is Mizoram's highest waterfall Vantawng (750 ft high). Located 152 km from Aizawl, this popular water body is worth a visit. You can evn stay overnight as it has cafeteria and cottage for hire.
Drive along the fertile plains of Champhai, about 200 km from Aizawl, to enjoy the stunning vista of emerald rice fields bordered by the smoky hills of Myanmar. Champai has the biggest stretch of plains in Mizoram which is used for rice cultivation.
This bustling commercial hub on the Indo-Myanmar borderline also attracts nature lovers by the droves. You can book accommodation in a government lodge. All the huts have scenic view of beautiful hills in Myanmar. It is worth enjoying the clear sky at night. You will realize that there are more stars in the sky than you thought.
The road from Aizwal to Champai is not very good in some places and it takes about 8 hours one way by a shared SUMO. A privately hired car may take about 6-7 hrs. Top speed of only 40 km per hr is possible. But the raw and yet scenic beauty one enjoys along the winding, turning road which goes through thick forests, is a memorable experience.
One of the finest encounter with Mizoram's splendid vistas is Phawngpui, its highest peak, extremely popular with trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. The Blue Mountain, as it is often referred to, is 300 km from Aizawl and close to the Myanmar border. Fragrant herbs and rare species of orchids and rhododendrons are found here.
Saiha is an angler's paradise on the Chhimtuipui, Mizoram's biggest river, 378 km from Aizawl. An overnight stay can be arranged at the tourist lodge at Saiha. Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) is 30 km away.
This district town in South Mizoram is a popular hill station, with fascinating vignettes of Mizoram's legendary natural beauty.
This is a very beautiful lake situated in Myanmar and is very near to the Indo-Myanmar border. Rih means heart. Dil means lake. This lake is heart-shaped. You can reach this place from Champhai. You need to catch an auto from Govt lodge to reach Champhai bazaar. Then, you need to reserve a seat in a shared SUV which leaves for Zokhawthar ( roughly meaning a 'new Mizo village') . Zokhawthar is situated at the Indo-Burma border. Get a permit (about ₹10) from the Burmese outpost to enter Burma.
Once you enter Burma, you can walk up to the lake which is around 1.5 km from the outpost or you can hire a bike which will be driven by a Burmese. You need to start your journey early in the morning, not because the place is far but because unless the shared SUV gets all the passengers, it will not leave for Zokhawthar, and there are only a few such shared SUVs running between Champhai and Zokhawthar. It is better you hire a cab in Champhai. It is also possible to take your vehicle ( if you have exclusively hired it) inside for a fee. Ask the driver to do the needful.
There is restaurant by the lake side and about six cottages for stay, which are owned by the restaurant. You can take a boatride in the lake, which costs ₹400/- for full perimeter ride for 10 people and ₹200/- for half round. Indian currency is accepted.
Dampa Wildlife Sanctuary
Dampa is a tiger reserve located in West Phaileng district and is 127 km from Aizawl. It is better to book the government lodge well in advance. You need the permit from forest officer staying in West Phaileng to enter Dampa forest. This can be done also from forest department in Aizawl. You should be careful while visiting the forest on a rainy day as it is infested with leeches. This Sanctuary has different types of Birds and Animal, like Tiger, Elephants.
This is a very nice place near Aizawl and is a must-see. If you hire a full taxi (Maruti 800/ Alto), it would cost you about ₹1300-₹1400. A hired non AC small car ( you never need an AC Car in Mizoram!) like Wagon R, Indica, Santro etc., it will cost you ₹1800/-
It has a model Mizo Village. Entry ticket is ₹20/- for adults and ₹10/- for children. Ask the ticket clerk for someone to show you around otherwise you won't understand the exhibits. No extra charge for such a guide.
There are four well furnished govt. cottages (with hot water) there for night stay, which should be an exotic experience. It costs just ₹400/- per day and needs to be booked in advance. There is also a cafeteria where you can have meals provided you give at least 2 hours notice. The cook is from Guwahati and makes excellent food.
There is a small trek up the mountain from the model Mozo village, which one must do. It takes you up to top of the mountain with a cliff to give you wide, breathtaking view. One must spend some time there. The climb is also quite pleasant and passes through thick forest. You can carry some picnic snacks and drinking water to the top. But make sure you don't litter the place and bring back the waste to dustbins near cafeteria, to maintain the natural, pristine beauty of the place.
In December especially in Christmas time, this place is full of festivities with live music shows atop the mountain, and there is a small stage built up there).
If you are an early bird, get up early in the morning and see the lakes of cloud all around the cities and towns as most of them are built on the mountain tops.
Visit Hnam Chhantu Pawl that sells local handicraft items at very reasonable rates. This is a shop run by an NGO and is located in Electric Veng, Near Grace Hospital And Nursing, Aizawl. Ask for Champai Sumo counters, the shop is closeby, on second floor of a building. It is a very famous store, so you can ask local people and they will guide you. Alternately, you can reach the store at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The main shopping centers in Aizawl is Bara Bazar, Millenium Centre and Solomon's cave. Here all kinds of wears from garments, cosmetics, shoes to vegetable, poultry are available. These are the main city shopping center. For handicrafts, Zohanco in Zarkawt has shawls, puan, bags and furnishing materials. For bamboo works such as baskets, khumbeu the finely mizo woven bamboo cap are available at MKVI, Sales Emporium, Zarkawt. However the prices may not be very different from Mumbai or Delhi.
The Mizo people love boiled and non-vegetarian food. Rice is the staple food of the state and is used in literally every single dish.
- Bai: Boiled vegetables in salted water and cooking soda.
- Chhangban: A type of rice bread.
- Sawhchiar: A common rice dish served with beef, pork or chicken.
Mizoram is a dry state. However, with the lifting of total prohibition in 2010, you can now get Mizoram's very own grape wine, Zawlaidi, which has alcohol content of 14%, for ₹170/- per bottle. There are no nightclubs or pubs and almost all shops close by 6PM.
Mizoram is one of the safest states in Northeast India in terms of crime, personal safety and insurgency. Most people, including single female travelers, will not face any problems walking along the streets alone at night.
Mizoram is sandwiched between Bangladesh and Myanmar, so it could be possible for you to visit the border towns for foreign goods from both countries. Be careful not to bring in alcohol, as it is prohibited in Mizoram.