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Aizawl

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Aizawl is the capital of the state of Mizoram in India. It is the largest city within the state, as well as the centre of its important government offices, the state assembly house, and the civil secretariat. The city is located north of the Tropic of Cancer in the northern part of Mizoram and is situated on a ridge 1132 metres (3715 ft) above sea level, with the Tlawng river valley to its west and the Tuirial river valley to its east. In the summer the temperature ranges from 20-30˚C, and in the winter 11-21˚C.

Understand[edit]

Lengpui Airport

This 112-year-old citadel-like city, with its timber houses is set on a ridge at approximately an altitude of 4000 ft above sea level. The city is spread over several mountain ridges with most houses built on 30-40%+ inclines. Aizawl is a religious and cultural center of the Mizos. Aizawl lies just north of Tropic of cancer.

With a population of approximately 300 000, it has cloudless blue skies, dewy mornings and sunlit days. These help to ensure the enjoyment of unforgettable holiday pleasures practically all year round. Even the monsoon months are pleasant and gentle.

Get in[edit]

Aizawl Bazar Zion Street

There are three means of getting into Aizawl: buses, Sumos or aircraft.

Buses run between all the capital cities in the North East states, Guwahati and Silchar being the main routes. Sumos are large cars (10 seats) which also run on the major routes.

Two airlines currently service Lengpui Airport, Jet Airways and Air India with flights from/to Kolkata & Guwahati. You will need to hire a taxi to get to Aizawl.

Get around[edit]

Aizawl lies on a mountain ridge, so roads run more or less parallel to the mountain side along elevation contours. This means if you need to go vertically up or down it may be faster to take a foot path than to go by road. The mountainous landscape also means that the cost of driving a relatively short A-to-B distance can be quite expensive and this is reflected in bus and taxi rates. Nonetheless, foot paths are steep and the city is quite large, so to go any significant distance you will need a car (Aizawl was not really designed as a walking city).

There are numerous buses routes that connect the various localities and most will run through the town centre (Dawrpui - North to South and Civil Hospital South to North). Bus fares vary and best is to ask the conductor though a relatively short trip of 1 km cost around Rs 5 (Jan 2012). One thing to note is that there are no buses that run between the airport and the city.

There are nearly 5000 taxis licensed to ply the roads in Aizawl and are readily available. Rates are extremely high compared to the rest of India. Though there are official published rates, no taxi runs by these rates. The main contention from taxi drivers is that 1 km uphill costs more to run than downhill and with inclines being frequently 30% or more. A relatively short distance of 1 km will cost you around Rs 40. A taxi to or from the airport will cost you around Rs 800 (July 2012) to/from the central areas of Aizawl. However, the price is liable to go up if petrol prices rise or if a landslide blocks the main road (requiring a longer alternate route).

There is a taxi firm called Sure Taxis that offers a radio taxi service and they find, negotiate rates on your behalf and dispatch taxis to your location and they don't charge anything to you. They also offer rental cars (comes with a driver) such as Altos, Boleros and Scorpios. Their numbers are: 0389 232 2833 & 0389 232 1494

Talk[edit]

The lingua franca of Mizoram is Mizo, a language of the Tibeto-Burman group. It will therefore be unrecognizable for most anglophones. Many of the younger people can speak a few words of English, and government or university-affiliates are often fluent. But communication with most of the local people will be difficult without an interpreter. Mizo phrasebooks and pronunciation guides are hard to find, and trying to figure out pronunciations online can be frustrating to say the least. But here is an attempt to give you the pronunciation for a few words:

Hello: 'Chee - bye'

Goodbye: 'Mung - cha'

Thank you: 'Ga - low - may'

Yes/No: 'Oh'/'Ay'

Sir: 'Ka - poo'

Ma'am: 'Ka - pee'

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Mizoram State Museum near the Chief Minister's Bungalow is worth a visit. It has a nominal entry fee of Rs. 5/-. The visit should serve as a primer before you explore Mizoram.

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Visit Hnam Chhantu Pawl. It has local handicraft items for sale at very reasonable rates. This shop is run by an NGO and is located in Electric Veng, Near Grace Hospital And Nursing, Aizawl. Ask for Champai Sumo counters, the shop is close by, on the 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 hnamchhantu@rediffmail.com.
  • The main shopping centres in Aizawl are Bara Bazar, Millenium Centre and Solomon's cave. In these centres, you'll find all kinds of wares available––from garments, cosmetics and shoes to vegetables and poultry. These are the main city shopping centres. For handicraft, Zohanco in Zarkawt has shawls, puan, bags and furnishing materials. For bamboo works such as baskets and khumbeu the finely mizo woven bamboo cap, these are available at MKVI, Sales Emporium, Zarkawt. However, the prices may not be very different from Mumbai or Delhi.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Alcohol is banned in Mizoram so there are no bars of any description. Bar culture and night life are inexistent so there aren't any places to have a casual non-alcholic drink. Moonshine or other alcohol can be obtained, but it will probably not be of great quality.

There are two cafes both part of a Zote Bakery outlet. One is in Dawrpui near the church and another in Electric Veng. You may also find a few Cafes near Hotel Regency. One of them is called Jojo's. Don't expect a wide range of drinks, it's either milky tea or milky coffee out of a Nescafe machine.

Of course, you can enjoy locally produced Zawlaidi Wine. Ask for Zawlaidi shop and buy yourself a bottle. There's on at Lalbuaia Shopping complex, opposite to Hotel Regency. The Amendment of the MLTP Act allows selling of this locally produced wine.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Riak Maw Inn, K. Lalhluna Building, A-25, Zarkawt Main Street, Aizawl, Mizoram - 796007. Clean efficient hotel conveniently located near the offices of Sumos from Silchar and the Millenium Center, close to all facilities. Extremely good value. The owner is most helpful and knowledgeable about Mizo life and culture. Food is available and includes typical Mizo dishes. Phone: 0389-2306976 (international callers add India country code +91) Email: riakmawinn@gmail.com Website [1] [2]

Contact[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • Pick a picnic basket and head out for Tamdil (Tam Lake). This natural lake is reputed for its fish and prawns and is an 85 km drive from Aizawl. The drive gives you an excellent opportunity to see some of the prettiest areas of Mizoram. Go for boat rides (if they are not closed because the boats are in bad shape) relax by the tranquil waters, and, if you can, take a drive into the nearby jungles, which are home to an assortment of fascinating flora and fauna. You can also stay here overnight. The resort village of Saituai is just 10 km away.
  • 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 even stay overnight as it has a cafeteria and a 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 are used for rice cultivation. 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; a top speed of only 40 km per hour is possible. But the raw and yet scenic beauty one enjoys along the winding, turning road which goes through thick forests, makes this a memorable experience.
  • One of the finest encounters 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.
  • 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 a permit from the forest officer staying in West Phaileng to enter the Dampa forest. This can also be obtained 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 animals, like tigers and elephants.
  • Reiek- 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 Rs. 1300-1400. A hired non AC small car (you never need an AC car in Mizoram!) like Wagon R, Indica, Santro etc., will cost you approximately Rs. 1800/-.

Reiek has a model Mizo village. Entry ticket is Rs. 20/- for adults and Rs. 10/- for children. Ask the ticket clerk for someone to show you around, otherwise you won't understand the exhibits––there is no extra charge for such a guide. In December, especially at Christmas time, this place is full of festivities with live music shows atop the mountain, and there is a small stage built especially for the festivities.

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