En route to Aizawl you’ll find the road winds through gentle pine-laden slopes, and then along a spectacular ridge that falls away into the Bangladesh plains. Aizawl – in fact, Mizoram in general – is a jewel of a destination. But on a visit there, because of low exposure and connectivity, you have to make things happen for yourself. Browse through the main squares and streets, meet people, mark your own interest.

Every evening, a symphony of church bells rings out across the hills, announcing the 6.00 pm service. The town winds up in time to make it to the service. In the deepening darkness, the surrounding hills then come alive with dancing forest fires.

Swapan Nayak
Performance during a festival, Aizawl
Performance during a festival, Aizawl

And every morning, a hint of green smudged with smoke from jhum fires (for slash-and-burn cultivation) stains the hills.

People are friendly here, but most speak only Mizo. So, language is a problem and you might have to get by with sign language.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

In the city

Chanmari is the hub of young people. School and college kids hang out here. Music is intrinsic to Mizoram and you’ll see youngsters toting guitars, ready to jam, everywhere.

The tiny State Museum has a dusty collection of wildlife specimens and tribal weapons.

Entry Adults 5, Children 2 Timings 10.00am-4.30pm; Mondays & Saturdays half-day, Closed Sundays

Swapan Nayak
Aizawl Town, spread out on a hill
Aizawl Town, spread out on a hill

Picinic and Outings

For a fun picnic and great night views of the city, there’s Berawtlang Tourist Complex (9 km). Bung and Paikhai (16 km) are also popular picnic spots. Falkawn (18 km) is a traditional Mizo village. Visit with a local.

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

Hotel Chief (Tel: 0389-2346418; Tariff: 1,539-3,434) has great sunrise views. Hotel Ritz (Tel: 2310410; Tariff: 825-3,930) and Hotel Royale (Tel: 2311577-78; Tariff: 800-1,600) are other options.

The restaurants attached to the hotels provide Indian and Continental cuisine. The fast-food spot is Zote Bakery. Glenary’s is great for eclairs, cookies etc. and Cafe Deja Vu is popular for its cheesecakes and coffee. Pemarin Corner and Hotel Regency have multicuisine fare. Zamze Grill and Kitchen is a fine dining restaurant.

When to go: The best time to visit Aizawl is between October and March as the weather is the most pleasant Location The state capital is located in the northern part of Mizoram Air Nearest airport: Aizawl Rail Nearest rail: Silchar (Assam)