AIZAWL The capital city of Mizoram, Aizawl, stands like a citadel perched
The capital city of Mizoram, Aizawl, stands like a citadel perchedon captivating ridges, about 1,132m above sea level, overlooking the valley of the River Tlawng. To its east is the deep green valley of the majestic River Tuirial and to the north are the jagged peaks of Durtlang. Interestingly, the Tropic of Cancer passes thorough this town.
The city has been righfully dubbed the ‘abode of the highlanders’ owing to its rich tribal heritage. Aizawl also serves as the perfect gateway from where you can explore other parts of this far-flung state such as Thenzawl, which is famous for its handloom industry.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Besides taking a stroll and soaking up the culture and tradition the city has on offer, there’s very little else to do in Aizawl.
The Mizoram State Museum at McDonald Hill in the town centre is definitely worth a visit. The museum is a small treasure house of Mizo history, society and traditions, storing rare historical relics, ancient costumes and traditional souvenirs.
Timings 9.00am–5.00pm Monday–Friday; 9.00am–1.00pm Saturdays Closed Sunday Tel 0389-2340936
For the best views of Aizawl city, drive to Durtlang Hills, which have verdant slopes. Around 16km away from Aizawl are Bung and Paikhai, both beautiful picnic spots.
The adventurous can try paragliding, a relatively new sport here, though Vanlaiphai – about 86km from Aizawl – Thenzawl and Durtlang Hills have already become popular paragliding sites. The 3Dimensional School of Paragliding in Mizoram – the third of its kind in India – in collaboration with the Department of Tourism – holds paragliding festival and events.
WHERE TO STAY
For a charming stay in the lap of nature, the Tourist Lodge (Tel: 0389-2341083, 2349421; Tariff: ₹400–1,000) at Chaltlang is a good choice. It offers 44 single, double rooms, suites and deluxe guesthouses. The stylish Hotel Regency (Tel: 2349334; Tariff: ₹2,000–6,500), located at the heart of the town, offers clean rooms.
A good budget option is Hotel Chief (Tel: 2346418, 2341097; Tariff: ₹539– 3,434). You could ask the staff to prepare local dishes such as boiled vegetables, bamboo shoot and boiled fish with rice. This is also a good place to get a taste of the local wine. Equally good rooms are available at Hotel Ritz (Tel: 2310409–10; Tariff: ₹990–3,990; Email: info@ritzaizawl) in Bara Bazaar; and State Guest House (Tel: 2340132, 2349979; Fax: 2340132) in Bawngkawn.
Try local food from banana flowers and rice, string beans with herbs or boiled fish with rice. At City Center, there are facilities such as restaurants and tourist cottages. For Mizo, Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes, try David’s Kitchen at Chanmari, while Curry Pot near Hotel Arini, has good biryani. If you want to listen to good music while eating your meal, head to Aizawl Masala.
Thenzawl was initially a dense forest with numerous wild animals before it was cultivated and inhabited in 1961. Like Aizawl, the Tropic of Cancer runs through this picturesque village as well. Thenzawl is an important centre of traditional Mizo handloom industry. The looms at Thenzawl produce rich and colorful varieties of textiles. One can also observe the indigenous weaving techniques of the Mizos here and obtain Mizo clothes at comparitively cheaper prices.
Other tourist attractions at this town include Vantawng Waterfall which is located at a distance of 5km south of Thenzawl; Thenzawl Deer Park, which has several deer in their natural environment and Chawngchilhi Cave, an important site replete with legends.
WHERE TO STAY
For a comfortable stay, check Tourist Lodge (Cell: 09485079901; Tariff: ₹500– 1,000) at Thenzawl. There are seven rooms and six cottages on offer here.
Tam Dil or Tam Lake (85km)
Tam Dil or Tam lake, which literally means ‘lake of mustard’, is a three-hour drive from Aizawl. The serenity of this lake is mesmerising.
Mizoram’s largest lake famed for its variety of fish, a prawn farm and boating facilities, Tam Dil is surrounded by lush mountains and virgin forests. It is a popular picnic spot where you can go and relax by the tranquil waters and even opt to take a drive into the nearby jungles or to the resort village of Saitual, which is just 10km away from the lake. Tam Lake is also a popular camping site. You can stay at the cottages (Tel: 2333475, Cell: 09862382938; Tariff: ₹500) here. There are also boating facilities and a café available here.
When to Go September–May
Tourist/ Permit offices
Director, Directorate of Tourism, Aizawl, Mizoram. Tel: 0389-2335690/ 77
Resident Commissioner, Mizoram House, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi . Tel: 011-26153563/ 65, W mizotourism.nic.in
STD code Aizawl 0389
Inner Line Permits
Domestic tourists need to take an Inner Line Permit (₹130) to visit Mizoram, easily obtained from the addresses above
Air Aizawl’s Lengpui Airport (45km/ 1hr) is connected to Kolkata. A cab to town from here will charge about ₹1,300 for a drop
Rail Nearest railhead: Silchar (140km/ 6hrs). Independent Sumo taxi costs about ₹4,000; sharing ₹300–400 per head, to Aizawl
Road NH37 and NH40 from Guwahati to Shillong; from Shillong take NH44 to Silchar via Jowai. From Silchar drive straight down NH54 (ends near Myanmar) to Aizawl via Sonaimukh, Kolasib and Mualvum Bus Private buses (along with Sumo taxis cost ₹11,000; sharing ₹1,100 per head) also serve the Guwahati-Aizawl route regularly