The Anthurium Festival, named after an indigenous flower of the same name, and celebrated to preserve and protect it, is one of the biggest cultural events of Mizoram. The tiny, otherwise inconspicuous village of Reiek plays host to this festival every year. The hour-long drive to Reiek takes visitors through a verdant hilly landscape with the Tlawng river gushing through narrow gorges.

Once you reach the top of the mountain on which the village is situated, you get to see spectacular views of rocky cliffs and the surrounding ancient forests, which are said to have been preserved from the days of the early Mizo chiefs.

Courtesy Mizoram Tourism
A striking view of the Reiek peak at dawn
A striking view of the Reiek peak at dawn

Reiek consists of distinctive traditional huts of different Mizo sub-tribes, the Mizo chieftain’s house and a bachelor dormitory amongst others, offering visitors a peek into the glorious past of these highlanders. A few modern houses have also been constructed nearby, evidence of the changes that have taken place in the Mizo way of life in keeping pace with modern developments. Besides these, the tourism department has also maintained a resort with a cafeteria providing decent food and accommodation facilities.

Tourism in Reiek has gained momentum ever since the three-day Anthurium Festival started here. The festival, held in September, features various cultural activities of the Mizos. Before reaching Reiek, one enters Ailawng, the village of Khuangchera, the great Mizo warrior of the 19th century who was known for his unsurpassed heroic deeds and resistance to an early British army expedition, which cost him his life.

There is also a cave here called Khuangchera Puk, which was named after him, since he explored it despite the superstitions that surrounded it in those days. The cave, 162m long and 10m high, is known to be the longest in Mizoram. It is a popular tourist destination.

WHERE TO STAY

There are many options in Aizawl, but those wanting to stay on in Reiek can try the Tourist Resort (Tel: 0389-2567344, Cell: 09436144947; Tariff: ₹600).

AROUND REIEK

Dampa Tiger Reserve (20km)

Wildlife enthusiasts can head to the Dampa Tiger Reserve in western Mizoram. The reserve straddles the borders of Mizoram, Tripura and Bangladesh. Spread over 572sq km, in an altitudinal zone of 200–800m, the sanctuary consists of Dampa hills, Pathlawi Lunglen hill and Chhawrpial hills amongst others. The word dampa came from a nearby village where all the women had died, leaving behind lonely bachelors, hence the name ‘dam pa’ or ‘lonely men’.

Dampa WLS, the largest in the state, was opened in the year 1976, and declared a Tiger Reserve in 1994. However, only four tigers were identified in the region when it was declared a tiger reserve. In 2012, Aranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation in Guwahati, and WWF India analysed faecal samples using DNA finger-printing, and announced the genetic evidence of tiger presence here. Out of 27 scats collected, nine were of tigers. Work is on to determine the number of tigers. n

THE INFORMATION

When to Go September–May

Tourist Office

Director, Directorate of Tourism, Aizawl, Mizoram, Tel: 0389-2335690, 2335677,

GETTING THERE

State Mizoram

Location At an elevation of 1,548m, in the Mamit District of Mizoram

Distance 29km W of Aizawl

Route from Aizawl Take Aizawl-Reiek Road

Road Reiek (29km/ 45 minutes) can be reached by Aizawl-Reiek Road.

From Aizawl, local taxi (Sumo) may cost about ₹1,500–2,000 for a full day trip to Reiek