Our holiday to Mizoram started with an early morning flight to Calcutta and 3 1/2 hours later another flight, from Calcutta to Aizawl, capital of Mizoram.
The word Mizoram is built up of 3 words, Mi (people), Zo(belonging to the people of Lushai hills) and Ram (land) and means land of the hill people in local dialect. It is the second least populous state in the country with an area of 21,087 sq kms with 91 % of the state forested. The population is 95% tribals from various tribes of people who migrated from South East Asia. It was a part of Assam till 1972, when it was declared a Union Territory. On 20 Feb 1987 it became the 23rd state of India.
The economy is highly literate agrarian but suffers from poor crop yield due to the practice of slash and burn type of farming, jhum. This is celebrated as a Chap Char Kut Festival immediately after winter. National Highway 54 runs within the Aizawl city connecting it with Assam.
Though I was travelling within the country, the moment we crossed Calcutta, I felt as if I am in an another country and I realised how we, the people in the north have become slaves of the time. Here everybody was at peace with himself with absolutely no hurry in finishing any chore.
After 10 hours on being in air and land we finally reached our Hotel at 3pm. From Lengpui airport the city of Aizawl is 32 kms but due to bad roads it took us 2 1/2 hours to reach our Hotel. Sadly we couldn’t do much that day as not only were we very tired but the shops close at sunset in Mizoram and the sun sets by 6 pm. After that the whole city comes to a standstill.
Next morning we headed straight to Aizawl Theological College, which is at a height a for a view of the city. Next stop was the Mizo Taj Mahal, built by a local in memory of his wife Rosangpuii Varte, who died in a road accident. We could not go inside as it was closed that day. I am told it is built in Greek Church style.
After lunch in the city we headed to Khawh Pawp, a beautiful waterfall in Aizawl. The water currents here are so strong that they have drilled a hole in the cliff. I was told in the monsoons, when there is lot of water after the rains it looks really beautiful.
Next day we visited Solomon Temple, a beautiful church built by Kohhran Thingahlim (The Holy Church), a non denominational church covering an area of 3025 sq meters at a cost of US 3 M Dollars. It took 20 years to complete and renovation work is still going on when we visited it. It has 4 pillars, each carrying 7 David’s stars indicating 7 angels and 7 Churches in Revelation.
We also visited Reiek Tlang (mountain) which is about 30 kms from Aizawl at an altitude of 1548 meters. The roads are quite bad and it takes almost 2 hours to reach the base from where you start your trek. There are two remote villages there, Reiek and Ailawng.
According to a folk lore, the spirit goddess Khawluahlali ruled over Reiek mountain. When the spirits in her dominion waged a war with the spirits of Chhawrpial mountain in the west, the Chhawrpial spirits threw a huge boulder to crush the spirits of Reiek, who turned themselves into swallows and took the battle to the air. The battle lasted long, and by the end of it there was much blood which drained into the Tlawng river. The river got angry at the desecration of its waters, and it pushed with tremendous force against Reiek mountain, intending to split it into two. But the spirit goddess Khawluahlali requested the river spirit to relent, and so he turned northward. That’s why from Tlawngnuar (a spot), Mizoram’s longest river runs headlong into the base of Reiek mountain before turning northward and continuing its journey to Assam’s Barak Valley.
The local Bara Bazaar also offers an interesting insight in to Mizo culture.
After attending the Chap Char Kut festival we headed home satisfied after a great holiday.
(to be continued with my Blog on Chap Char Kut Festival and others)