Mizoram  lies in the southernmost outpost of North Eastern India, the land of the Blue Mountains. Manipur, Assam and Tripura bind the northern end of this little island of tranquility with neighboring 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).
Mizoram is a destination with much to offer, with its wide array of festivals and dances, handicrafts, flora and fauna, breathtaking natural beauty, and temperate climate. The Mizo are very friendly and hospitable. English is commonly spoken. The joyful enthusiasm and the gregarious spirit of the local populace has been the main reason for establishing some of the most attractive tourism features in this beautiful state. Discover Information About Beautiful Mizoram Sightseeing Plan .
Today, Mizoram is a mix of this cross-cultural vibrancy with 92 % 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 haven't allowed their distinct Mizo culture to fade.
You will find women working everywhere in Mizoram. In fact a lot of shops are run and managed by women. Men tend to do more laborious work and jobs like taxi drivers, car/scooter mechanics, working in the fields etc. Women are respected for the most part and maintain equal standing with men. Smoking and chewing tobacco is very common in Mizoram. Many women too smoke, chew tobacco, betel leaf with areca nut and consume various tobacco products. Comfortable and decent western clothing is uniformly worn across the state and Mizo women dress up quite smartly with a makeup even in small villages.
Divorces are common but so are re-marriages. There is strong community and family support so there are few beggars to be seen in Mizoram. The crime rate is comparatively low and most Mizo houses in villages and small towns are unlocked. The society has traditionally been quite classless. However with steady economic growth, income stratification is beginning to occur which is affecting traditional social norms.
History often varies from legends. But the story of the Mizos getting out into open from the nether 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 habitats atop a mountain. About 400 years back, a similar strategy was used by Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Maharashtra when he built/acquired over 300 hill forts to fight successfully against Mughals and other tyrant powers in the region.
The main language in Mizoram is Mizo, but English is widely understood as it is taught in the schools. Though people here understand English, they may not necessarily respond in English and may respond in a few key words. This is not to be taken as a hostile gesture or indifference, it is just their inability to communicate in English. Many taxi/hire car drivers will understand Hindi to some extent.
A temporary permit can also be obtained on arrival at the Lengpui Airport in Aizawl, which is only valid for 15 days.
By law, foreign nationals are required to register themselves at the office of the Superintendent of the Police (CID/SB) of Mizoram within 24 hours of arrival.
Citizens of China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as any citizen of Chinese/Pakistani/Afghan origin, require prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs before entering the state.
Mizoram's only airport, Lengpui Airport, is near Aizawl, and can be reached from Kolkata by air which will take around 1hr and also from Guwahati by air in 30 min. The road from the airport to the city takes another 1 h, and the taxi rate is 1000 rupees. 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 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, which is basically at the most northern part of the state. It is best for a tourist to rule out a travel by train, as the track ends there at Bairabi.
You can get around depending upon your budget.
Different types of car are available for rental, from SUVs to small cars. Exclusively hired vehicles are available at Rs. 15/- per km + Rs. 800 for each night halt and upwards. There are several rental agencies available otherwise who can arrange this; alternatively enquire at your hotel.
The white and yellow Maruti taxis mainly ply the cities and towns and around the country sides. You need to haggle for the price to get a good deal. If you're traveling around inside the town/city it is possible to share a taxi on a "contri" basis. Flag down a taxi going in your direction and jump in. You will need to contribute an amount of about 1/5 of the normal fare. It's also now possible to dial a taxi in Aizawl.
Mizoram has a state transport corporation that connects the whole of Mizoram. The cities and towns are also serviced by minibus and also 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.
Tata Sumos which run between all the towns and cities, are available from one town to another at a reasonable rate on a 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 Champhai cost nearly Rs. 400/- per head. A Sumo will seat 10 passengers - 2 in front, 4 in the middle and 4 at the back.
Mizoram is full of beautiful and pristine places. Mizoram Tourism department has failed to promote this state. One gets from little to no help on reserving government accommodation. There are very few tour operators in Aizawl. Serow Tours is the best amongst them. It is dedicated to promote tourism in Mizoram.
Unlike other popular tourist hot spots in India, Mizoram does not have famous places/spots which you can talk about after your visit. One should rather enjoy the weather, the raw nature around, the thick and unending forests, winding roads and overall scenic beauty which can not always be described in catchy phrases and photographs. Just chill in the lovely nature, fresh naturally air conditioned weather, understand the local culture and way of living, soak in the peace and tranquility and unwind for a while.
This 112-year-old citadel-like city, with its timber houses and profusion of flowers is set on a ridge at approximately an altitude of 4000 ft above sea level. 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, and carries a promise of unforgettable holiday pleasures practically all year round. Even the monsoon months are pleasant and gentle.
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.
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 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.
Siaha is an angler's paradise on the Chhimtuipui (locals call it Beino), Mizoram's biggest river, 378 km from Aizawl. An overnight stay can be arranged at the tourist lodge at Siaha. 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 rupees) 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 boat ride in the lake, which costs Rs 400/- for full perimeter ride for 10 people and Rs. 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 animals, like tigers and 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 Rs. 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 Rs. 1800/-
It 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. 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 Rs. 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 the 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 the 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 (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 Upper Reoublic, Aizawl. It is a very famous store, so you can ask local people and they will guide you. Alternately, you can reach the store at [email protected]
The main shopping centers in Aizawl is Bara Bazar, Millenium Centre and Solomon's cave. Here, all kinds of wear from garments, cosmetics, shoes, vegetables and 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.
Cane and bamboo handicraft items are most prominent souvenirs of Mizoram. These are simple yet mesmerizing product designs made using cane and bamboo which make them highly durable. Baskets, utensils, hats, flower vases, furniture and other decorative items are made also out of bamboo and cane. The state government emporium storea a large number of these items at affordable rates.
Woven goods are popular crafts in Mizoram and the artisans of the state are experts in this art form. They are proficient in changing the simple raw material in beautiful designs and patterns and produce lovely fabric. The intricate traditional designs are woven by the Mizo women on their looms. The Mizos weave beautiful traditional Shawls with lovely patterns.
The Mizo people love boiled food and non-vegetarian food. Try bai (boiled vegetables in water with of salt, chingal [now replaced with cooking soda], and sa-um). Try out also chhangban (mizo chhang), which is boiled or cooked dough of the glutinous rice. Sawhchiar is another common dish, made of rice cooked with pork or chicken.
The food is generally cheap /reasonable. Even roadside restaurants are quite hygienic. You can see the food cooked in front of you. This could be because all these places are run and managed by women.
Mizoram is no longer a dry state. One can find wine shop everywhere in the state. However, with the lifting of total prohibition in 2010, you can now get Mizoram's very own Grapewine 'Zawlaidi' which has alcohol content of 14% for Rs. 170/- per bottle. There are no nightclubs or pubs and almost all shops close by 6:00 p.m.
Mizoram is among the safest states, if not the safest, in 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.
Unlike the rest of India, Mizoram has an excellent road safety system, and visitors can expect to cross roads safely without any hesitation. There is little honking and impatience on the roads, and most drivers will stop to make way for you.
Mizos in general are very friendly, hospitable and welcoming to a fault. Visitors can easily approach the locals for any help they may require, and similarly, the locals will do anything they can to make a visitor feel welcomed.