While planning my trip to Mizoram, I being from the Armed forces was not as speculative as anyone else would have been before coming to the southern most tip of the least known North Eastern region of our Country.
I felt welcomed in the Land of Blue Mountains, the moment I landed at the Lengpui Airport which is approximately 40 kms from the Capital Aizawl. I could instantly realise in the short journey that the state has the most variegated hilly terrain in the eastern part of the country. So after the harsh year end winters in Delhi, here I was in the pleasant surroundings to spend the next few day and see through 2016 and welcome 2017.
Within two days I couldn't help but fall in love with the simple ways of life and the people who are humble, fashionable and very straightforward. Culturally the life of a normal Mizo is influenced by the tenants of his/her faith. With almost 88 percent of the population as Christians and with 91.33 percent literacy this state upholds a unique blend of westernized society and mizo cultural traditions. The is a tremendous bond amongst citizens and I felt that concerted efforts are made by even the younger generation in clinging to their traditional Mizo roots , Cultural heritage and colourful customs.
After spending a day in the Capital, I could fathom and understand that though people chew pan, yet no one spits, though roads are narrow, yet even in traffic no one honks or breaks the lane. No one even fights on the roads as they simply take any minor road accident as their destiny and other's unintended mistake . There is unique sense of discipline in the society which binds them. One can also witness the most flashy and advanced bikes as men are really crazy for their machines with enthusiasts racing even past midnight.
The time from 24th December to 05th January is the best time for a visitor and the worst time if one is coming to Aizawl for an official work.
People party in roadside shady cafes which serve predominantly pork and beef dishes with lal chai (red tea). A lot of people prefer to remain drunk during the festivities and it's taken in the stride. The urban concept of coffee shops and restaurants is basically missing in Aizawl. Infact all shops start pulling down their shutters at 5 pm even before it's dark.
I went out for a walk only to be welcomed by deserted streets at 6 pm. People celebrate Christmas at the church and with family and friends and the celebrations are extended well into the new year. One can witness the offices opening only on the 5th Jan. So come prepared of you are visiting Aizawl during the year end.
The breathtaking landscapes of Aizawl and the natural beauty will be pleasure trove for any discerning visitor. With its wide array of culture , traditions, natural beauty and temperate climate Aizawl is definitely a fantastic place to visit. One definitely needs to know decently good english to communicate as other than the Mizo language, English is widely understood but only in Aizawl.
In my endeavor to understand the cultural spectrum of the state I also understood the real impact of womens empowerment and true gender equality. Youngsters, men and women roam freely in their smart western outfits without fear. Aizawl can definitely be called the fashion capital of the east. Its was indeed a great experience to witness the joyful enthusiasm and gregarious spirits of the Mizo community during the festive season of Christmas and New Year.
I continued to stay in Aizawl for a fairly long time and kept travelling to the interiors as well. This state is crazy about football. I had the chance to witness two football matches between Aizawl FC and Mumbai FC and the other between Aizawl FC and East bengal on the 11th May. The crowd was passionate with synchronization of support and cheer. The second Friday of the March is the day of the biggest festival of Mizoram which is called Chapcharkot. This is festival of joy and harvest in Mizoram with huge participation from public and the local YMA(Young Mizo Association) who participate in overwhelming numbers for the bamboo dance in the Assam rifle ground. The entry is free for the public. The synchronization of bamboo dance can leave the audience spell bound. The event is generally followed by performance by a rock band. What amazes me is the enthusiasm in public who willfully wore the traditional mizo attire during the festival days.
The Mizo people are very warm, forthcoming , helpful and honest. The warmth can be felt in any interaction with the populace. The largest family in world also resides in a small village of Mizoram call Baktawng. This village is approx 70 kam from Aizawl and one can visit anyway. It was a treat to watch the cohesiveness in the family. This is a must visit state if North East os on your travel bucket list. Ideal time to visit is definitely March first week. Go with an open mind with penchant to explore, you will have lots to explore and good things to learn and emulate.