The most beautiful places to visit in Mizoram
We know you love Himachal Pradesh. Problem is, so does everyone else. On your next mountain getaway, head to far-flung Mizoram instead, for some under-the-radar experiences and sights
A getaway loosely means a chance to escape our daily lives, if only for a few days. But there are some places that take this idea even further, where ‘getting away’ actually means ‘as far from over-hyped touristy destinations, as possible’. If you’re searching for an unexplored vacation spot, where no one will find you, Mizoram, with its far-flung solitude and breathtaking views, is a good place to start.
Long overshadowed by its neighbours (we're looking at you, Sikkim), Mizoram is unfamiliar to many Indians. Any curiosity Indian travellers may show can be rebuffed by the difficulty of getting there — few direct flights from leading metros and no direct rail access. Besides, foreign travellers need a special permit to visit this southernmost outpost in northeast India. Standing aloof from the adjacent plains of Assam and other neighboring states, Mizoram shares more than two-thirds of its boundary with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Aizawl City is the biggest city in Mizoram. There are many districts and the people are very fashionable. It really is one of the most beautiful places in the north east. The best thing is that the people there are wonderful. ???? @hriatpuia_the_17th . . . . . #photography #cityphotography#picsart#picsartedit#dslr#dslrphotography#aizawl#aizawlcity#landscape#city#northeastindia#mizoram#mizophotography#colorful#tourism#indiantourism#mizoramtourism#sunset #kitemanja
Home to nearly two million people, many of whom remain cut off from the rest of India, this largely inaccessible and overlooked state is sandwiched between the mighty Himalayan foothills and the plateau of Meghalaya in the far north-eastern corner of India. Created out of Assam in February 1987, the state was once a pinch point of grand political ambitions. It saw a remote, rarely reported war for independence from India, on and off, since the early sixties. The gruesome war that left thousands of locals and armed personnel dead is over. But Mizoram is still no tourist destination. For all the cordite and crackle of guns over the decades, though, it is a compelling place with captivating beauty.
For eyes accustomed to busy streets, high rises and the fast life, adjusting to the extremes of Mizoram takes time; but over time, the power and variety of its landscape and its unpretentious charm become clear.
Landing through thick cloud and splattering rain at a small hilly airstrip is an unsettling experience. But as the wind rattles the steps of Lengpui airport, near Mizoram’s capital, Aizawl, chilly raindrops turn the surrounding greens a shade darker; seeing the baggage conveyor belt in the distance is another welcome sight. Aizawl might be one of the very few state capitals, where such is the volume of traffic that you can pick up your luggage at the airport, only minutes after you’ve landed. A 37-km drive through a densely green landscape that blurs hypnotically under peerless blue skies from Lengpui airport (the only one in the state) takes you to Aizawl. Soon enough, you realize, heavy showers and bad weather are as much a part of life here as blue skies and sun.
If you long for a quiet, carefree, but still exotic holiday, here it is. Although don’t expect gleaming hotels or reliable transport. What you can expect is the chance to get to know a forgotten people, their history, culture, myths, and hopes. If rural Mizoram is cramped with hills that roll across for kilometres, covered mostly with lush forests dominated by thick bamboo groves, vineyards, and green paddy fields, Aizawl feels modern, more accessible.
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The most developed city of Mizoram, Aizawl, is blessed with a rich, profound history. Set on a ridge, approximately 4,000 feet high, it is over a century old. It offers captivating views of the lush emerald Tlwang river valley in the west and the Turial river valley in the east. But the stunning vistas of nature apart, it houses Zarkwat, a museum in the heart of the city, which portrays the culture of Mizoram through a rich collection of traditional costumes, artifacts, and historical relics. A popular temple complex, Solomon, located in the Chawlhhmun locality of the city, is also worth a stopover. The white-washed church is the biggest one in Mizoram. Aizawl is dotted with modest timber houses, but the most striking buildings in the rickety city are its churches. Missionaries from the US and Europe have been hugely successful in turning even the most ardent Mizos into devout Christians.
Mizo women and the underground spice market. This by far, has been one of the most interesting personal discoveries. Reached here, in the pursuit of protection from heavy rain, only to find out a whole new world of untouched gorgeousness, hiding within a basement. Mizo women are so beautiful and their style is the best I have seen. Individualistic, strong, fuss free and vanity with no apologies indeed. #mizowomen #aizawl #northeastindia #spicemarket #senseofbelonging #basementfashion #inspiration
It is slow to shout about its charms, but a visit to the animated Bara Bazar, will leave you wondering why Aizawl is not rammed with coach-loads of tourists. At the city’s main shopping centre, you don’t just get to see the unedited version of local life, you live it. Here, chatty women vendors, armed with Chinese mobile phones and American Bibles, sit on the floor rebalancing the fresh veggies and fruits from their farms and garden in the shade of their umbrellas. As you cross shops selling traditional garments, bags, footwear — as well as the other goods sourced from Thailand and imports from China, brought via Myanmar — men and women, of varying age, soak up pints of traditional alcohol. And it’s a refreshing sight.
Also known as ‘the fruit bowl of Mizoram’ for its vineyards, Champai, 150 km from Aizawl is another interesting attraction. The bustling commercial hub is strategically located along the Indo-Myanmar border.
But if you’re set on covering the real Mizoram, you could consider moving out of the confines of these semi-urban spaces and go where very few Indians have ever set foot. You can trek the flower-bedecked hills and abrupt ravines of Hmuifang, discover the splendour of Mizoram’s highest waterfall Vantawang amid a vast stretch of bamboo forest, or drive on a very steep (sometimes muddy) road and hear the birds sing and the monkeys jeer as you boat at the desolate Tamdil Lake. Zoologists and botanists don’t call it a biodiversity hotspot for nothing. Sharing forests, clearings and riverbeds with monkeys and wild dogs are porcupines, buffalos, leopards and at least 40 different varieties of snakes.
How to get there
By air: 32 km from Aizawl, Lengpui airport is connected by daily flights with Kolkata and Guwahati and three flights a week with Imphal.
By rail: Silchar in Assam, 184 km from Aizawl, is the nearest railway station.
By road: national highway 54 connects Aizawl with the rest of the country through Silchar. Aizawl is well-connected to prime north-eastern cities like Shillong (450 km), Guwahati (506 km), Imphal (374 km) and Kohima (497 km).
Places to visit
Aizawl, Champai, Tamdil Lake and Vantawang
Best time to visit
Between October and March