Mizoram - The Land of Hills
Mizoram, popularly known as 'the land of hills,' is a beautiful state located in the northeast of India. Mizoram is a fusion of the old North and South Lushai Mountains. The land of Mizoram has unique natural beauty, a variety of landscapes, rich flora and fauna, clusters of pines, and peculiar villages with bamboo houses.
Mizoram means 'land of mountains,' and the local language here is 'Mizo.' The Mizo Mountains, which dominate the topography of the state, are more than 2000 meters high and located near the border of Myanmar. Aizawl, the state capital, is 1220 meters above sea level.
The Tropic of Cancer passes through the middle of Mizoram, and hence the weather remains pleasant throughout the year. 'The Blue Mountains' highest mountain of Mizoram with steep hills and deep valleys, is more than 2165 meters high. Aizawl is the capital of Mizoram.
Between 1750 and 1850, the people of the Mizo tribe came from the nearby Chin Hills, settled here and subjugated the local people. Later, similar tribes united and formed their own society. The Mizo developed an autocratic political system based on 300 hereditary heads. The Mizo tribes remained unaffected by any foreign political influence, but only until the British annexed Assam under the Yandabo Treaty in 1826.
After the British rule in 1891, the Lushai mountainous region of North under Assam and half the southern part remained under West Bengal for a few years. In 1898, the two were merged to form a district called 'Lushai Hills district,' which came under the administration of the Chief Commissioner of Assam. Mizoram became a Union Territory in 1972 when the North-Eastern Areas Reorganization Act came into force. It was granted the honor of full state on February 20, 1987, after an official agreement between the Government of India and the Mizo National Front in 1986.
Geologically, the Mizo Hills are part of the Arakan Mountains, which is a north-south range of well-formed parallel ridges formed by tertiary sandstone, limestone, and slate-stone. The hillside divided by narrow river valleys is 2,157 meters high. In the south, the Kaladan River and its tributaries flow southward into Myanmar, while the Dhaleswari (Tlavang) and Sonai (Tuirel) rivers flow northward into Assam. There are eight districts of Mizoram, which are as follows:
The climate of Mizoram remains pleasant. The temperature here is relaxed and varies from 20°C to 29°C in summer. While in winter, it is not extremely cold, and the temperature hovers between 11°C to 21°C. Torrential drops of rain dominate the state's climate, and the area receives heavy rainfall from May to September. There is very little rain in the winter. The amount of rain in Aizawl city is about 82 inches or 208 cm. The annual average temperature of Aizawl is 20°C. Lunglei, another special place in the state, received a rainfall of 139 inches or 350 cm.
Mizoram has a population of 11.2 lakhs. Out of which 552,339 males and 538,675 are females. Maximum people of the state belong to different lineages and communities that are ethnically or linguistically related to each other. These lineages or tribes are collectively called 'Mizo.' Apart from Mizoram, these people have also settled in other places like Bangladesh, Myanmar, and other northeastern states of India.
Hills of Mizoram
The hills of Mizoram are covered with dense evergreen forests, in which valuable timber trees such as Champak, Iron, Wood, and Gurjun are found. The forest of Mizoram covers the area around 21,087 sq km, which is about 91% of the state. These forests are home to many animals including elephants, tigers, bears, deer, and bison.
One of the fastest-growing economies among the states of India, Mizoram, has a per capita income of Rs 50,021. Being the third most literate state, Mizoram is going to become the most 'IT' literate state in the country. The literacy rate of Mizoram is 91.58 percent, of which the male and female literacy rate is 93.35 percent and 89.27 percent, respectively.
Agriculture is the main economic activity of the state. Three-fourths of the population of Mizoram are indulged in agriculture and allied activities. Both terrace farming and shifting cultivation (Jhum Farming) is done here. Mizoram is famous for its fiberless ginger. On the other hand, paddy, maize, mustard, sugarcane, sesame, and potato are the major crops of this region. Small-scale irrigation projects have also been developed to increase crop yields.
The land of Mizoram is found to be suitable for the production of horticultural crops. The main horticultural crops are fruits including orange, banana, grapes, atkoda (Citrus macroptera), pineapple, and papaya. People start cultivating palm oil, herbs, and aromatic plants on a large scale. People are also engaged in the silk industry and produce mulberry, coral, and Tussar silk.
The potential surface irrigation area in Mizoram is about 70,000 hectares. Out of this, 45,000 hectares area is underflow, and 25,000 hectares can be achieved by completion of 70 pucca minor irrigation projects, as well as six lift irrigation projects for raising double and triple crops in a year.
The whole of Mizoram was notified as a backward area and classified under the 'no industry sector.' After the announcement of the Industrial Policy of the Government of Mizoram in 1989, some modern small scale industries have been established here in the last decade. Mizoram announced a new industrial policy in the year 2000 to further develop the industries. This includes electronic and information technology, bamboo, and timber-based products, processing of food and fruits, small and cottage industries such as textiles, handlooms, and handicrafts.
All such large, medium, and small scale industries have been allowed to set up joint ventures in the industrial policy to attract investment from outside the state. To promote the establishment of Export Oriented Industrial Units (EOUs), there are plans to set up an 'Apparel Training and Design Center' and units for cutting and polishing of gems. Handloom and handicrafts have been accorded high priority in cottage industries, and both these areas are flourishing to meet the demand of consumers in Mizoram and its neighboring states of Meghalaya and Nagaland.
Mizoram will no longer be a remote corner state due to the opening of the borders of Myanmar and Bangladesh to trade and the 'Look East Policy' of the Government of India. As a result, the pace of industrialization in Mizoram will accelerate.
Small scale industries include sericulture, handloom and handicraft industries, sawmills and furniture factories, oil refining, grain milling, and ginger processing. Out of 3,087 small scale industries in the state, 287 are located in Aizawl district.
Telecommunication service is available in all district headquarters as well as in the state's capital. STD facility is available in the state. Mizoram is also one of the three SSA (Secondary Switching Areas) under which the telephone exchange is connected to reliable transmission media, optical fiber only as well as Digital Microwave (M/W), MCPC and Intermediate Digital Repeater (IDR) systems. India Telephone Card (ITC), Interset, and ISDS facilities are also available in the state.
The Chief Minister is the head of the government of Mizoram, like other states of India. He is the head of the Council of Ministers who are responsible for the elected legislature. The Legislative Assembly of Mizoram has 40 members. They are selected by the people of the state every five years. The High Court of Mizoram is located in Guwahati. The state capital Aizawl has a bench of the High Court of Mizoram.
The current Chief Minister of the Mizoram is Zoramthanga, serving since 2018.
Lakes and Rivers in Mizoram
Rivers in Mizoram
The longest river in the state is Chimtuipui, popularly known as Kaladan, Kolodyne, or Chhimtuipui. Originates in the Chin State, a state in western Myanmar (formerly Burma), Kaladan river flows through the districts of Lawngtlai and Saiha in the southern end of the state. Later this stream falls into the Rakhine province of Myanmar and finally falls into the Bay of Bengal near Akyab, Myanmar's important port. Despite having many types of rivers and streams in the mountainous regions of the state, the most prominent and useful rivers of Mizoram are as follows:
- Tut River
- Tlawng River
- Tuivai River
- Tuirial River (Sonai River)
These rivers flow from the northern part of the state and join the Barak River, which is an important river in the Cachar district. The Chhimtuipui River, originating in Myanmar, is a major river in the southern part of the state. The western part of the state is irrigated by the Khathalang Tuipui River and its branches. Many leading cities and communities, such as the Chittagong of Bangladesh, lie at the mouth of the river. Prior to independence, other areas of India could only be reached by the river or its tributaries via the Chittagong in the south or Cachar in the north. Later this route was also closed after the partition of the subcontinent and the formation of Bangladesh.
Lakes in Mizoram
Pala Lake is the largest lake in the Saiha district of the state. Another popular lake in the state is TamDil Lake, which is a natural reservoir. It is located 64 km away from the city Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. Mizoram state is an earthquake-prone state and falls under seismic zone V.
The formal education system of Mizoram includes technical courses from primary education to university. According to the 2011 census, the state's literacy rate, which is 91.58 percent, is the third-highest literacy rate in India. However, Mizoram is striving to come first in the field of education.
There are around 3900 schools in the state which are privately, partially or wholly managed by the government. The Ministry of Education operates colleges, universities, and other educational institutions. The state university, named Mizoram University, has several departments and two professional institutes. Some of the famous higher education institutions in the state include ICFAI University, National Institute of Technology Mizoram, and Regional Institute of Paramedical and Nursing Aizawl.
The population of Mizoram is a combination of different groups, commonly called Mizo. The title Mizo denotes for the residents of the mountains. The tribes of the region, many of whom previously hunted humans, include Kuki, Pavi, and Lakher. They are placed in the class of Tibeto-Burmese people and use many Tibeto-Burmese dialects. Some tribes are so isolated, and their dialect is not understood even by people living in the neighboring valley. The density of population is 52 persons per sq km. The density decreases from north to south, as the humidity and temperature increase towards the south, which is an inappropriate habitat. The density also reduces from west to east. There are 22 cities and 699 villages in this region, out of which 663 have reached electricity. Around 95 percent of the population belongs to the scheduled tribe.
The situation in Mizoram is such that it has become a sandwich between the Indian states of Tripura, Assam, and Manipur besides Myanmar, Bangladesh. With steep hills, lush green valleys, beautiful gorges, gentle lakes, and countless wildlife, peace like Mizoram is nowhere to be found.
The state is not easy to access due to inadequate transport facilities. Narrow hills surround 90 percent of the state, so it is not easy to build roads for the administration. About 8,500 km in the state has a road network that is connected to the national highway. The state capital Aizawl has Lengpui Airport, which is connected to Kolkata Airport. It is also connected to the Silchar Airport of Assam, which is 200 km away from Aizawl.
The capital of Mizoram has its own airport in Aizawl. Important cities of the country like Kolkata, Imphal are connected by air to Aizawl.
The road network in Mizoram is quite comfortable. National Highway 54 connects Aizawl to the whole of India via Silchar. Aizawl can also be reached from major cities in the Northeast of India. It has good connectivity to Shillong (450 km) and Guwahati (506 km).
Silchar is the most comfortable railway station. Silchar is connected to other parts of the country.
Shopping in Mizoram
Like the entire region of India's Northeast, Mizoram has a rich tradition of handicraft, which makes shopping in Mizoram unbeatable. The unique and adorable crafts of Mizoram are worth buying. The beauty of those creations cannot be imagined without seeing them.
Mizos are excellent weavers. This tradition has penetrated deeply into tribal consciousness. They rely on a particular pattern for art and design, which has become part of their heritage.
Apart from this, bamboo production is also abundant in Mizoram. Naturally, the Mizo artist specializes in making objects from bamboo. Baskets, utensils, hats, vases, and furniture are the famous bamboo items made here. There is no dearth of shopping places in Mizoram. RITZ Market, Burma Lane, Thakthing Bazar, New Market, and Solomon Cave are some best places to shop in Mizoram. While shopping in Mizoram, keep an eye on:
- Handwoven fabric
- Bamboo products
- Cane products
Fairs and Festivals
People of Mizoram are mostly dependent on agriculture, so the main festivals of the state are also related to agriculture. People celebrate every festival with great joy and gaiety. Different festivals have different ways to celebrate.
- Chapchar Kut: Chapchar Kut is a harvesting festival celebrated in the month of March in Mizoram, with great joy. Cheraw and bamboo dance are performed on this occasion.
- Mim Kut: One of the main festivals, Mim Kut is a highly religious and post-harvesting festival celebrated with great fervor and gaiety. It is mainly enjoyed through dancing, singing, and feasting. Apart from Mizoram, the festival is also celebrated in Nagaland and some parts of northeast India, honored by Kuki Nagas. It falls in the months of August and September.
- Pawl Kut: A beautiful festival celebrated in the month of December for two days post-harvest. The literary meaning of Pawl is ‘Straw,’ which signifies that it is a straw harvest festival. In other words, it is a thanksgiving festivity for giving them a plentiful harvest.
- Thalfavang Kut: The Thalfavang Kut festival is prominently celebrated in the months of November. The festival is celebrated every year to encourage tourism to visit the state and enjoy the festivities of Mizo culture. The festival is commemorated before harvesting, so it is observed as the completion of farming and expecting the bountiful harvest.
Best time to Visit Mizoram
The winter season is deemed to be the best for visiting Mizoram, the land of Hills. The weather during winters in outstanding and temperature in winters varies from 11°C to 30°C. So, best to visit Mizoram is during the months of November to March.
Famous Food of Mizoram
The food of Mizoram can be viewed as a fusion of North Indian and Chinese ingredients. The combination of these two makes the food more delicious and tempting. Well, people in the state mostly are non-vegetarian but also consume an adequate amount of vegetables. The mouth-watering cuisine of Mizoram is usually served on banana leaves, as it is the culture of the state. Being a part of the northeast, rice is a favorite staple food of the state. Even they eat rice with fish, meat, and vegetables. People of Mizoram like to have food cooked in mustard oil but in a very less quantity.
Some of the lip-smacking delicacies of Mizoram are:
Bai is one of the most popular dishes in Mizoram. It is prepared using locally available herbs and spices, which makes it awesome and different from others. This Mizoram dish is prepared by green bamboo shoots, cauliflower pieces, chopped potatoes, and rice.
Koat Pitha is a deep-fried dish, which is made via using rice flour and banana. Mizos also add fish to it, as it is considered one of their staples. Koat Pitha is one of the most delicious dishes of the state and crispy from the surface but soft from inside. This dish is served with tea as snacks. It has a light sweet flavor.
Panch Phoran Tarka
Panch Phoran Tarka is a famous cuisine of Mizoram. It can be made in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian style. In vegetarianism, it is made from brinjal, pumpkin, and potato. It is a tempting food of the state, which is loved by every age-group.
Bamboo Shoot Fry
It is a vegetarian dish made by small deep-fried green pieces of bamboo. It is quite spicy and marvelous in taste.
This dish, made from pork, is the most popular dish of Mizoram. In this, small pieces of pork are fried and served with local herbs and spices. Mizo Vawksa is popularly known as Vawksa Rep.
Apart from all these dishes, Zu or local tea and Labrusca grape wine are the famous and delectable beverages of the state, which is worth a try.
Places to Visit
The northeastern part of India is famous for its rich culture, traditions, and wonders, which attracts tourists every time with its specialties. Also known as the Seven Sisters, these seven states have different characteristics, due to which these states make their own place in the history and culture of India. The state of Mizoram is one of them and a beautiful place for tourism. Mizoram is home to many spectacular and worth seeing sites, which will make your journey even more exciting and enjoyable.
The state of Mizoram, once known as the Union Territory, joined the North-Eastern states of India in 1986. If you want to enjoy the beauty of nature, or if you are a nature enthusiast, then a trip to Mizoram is perfect for you. Nestled in the blue mountains and rolling hills, this small beautiful natural state has a hilly terrain, lush green valleys, winding rivers. Let’s take a look at the incredible places of Mizoram to visit:
Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, is also the largest city of Mizoram and one of the most prominent places to visit in the state. Aizawl is a place known for the premier museum of Mizoram. It has magnificent tourist sites such as Hmuifang, TamDil Lake, and Reiek.
Among the places to see in Mizoram, Vantawng Falls is the highest waterfall in the state of Mizoram and the 13th highest waterfall in India. Vantawng Falls is a major attraction of Mizoram and is located about 137 km from Aizawl.
The Reiek is a mountain, which is situated at an altitude of 1600 meters. This place welcomes couples to romance and spends some quality time. The hilly areas are an ideal place for those seeking a serene environment away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Located at a distance of about 29 km from the state capital Aizawl, Reiek is visited by a large number of tourists in a year.
Serchhip is one of the major sightseeing places in Mizoram. Among the places to visit in Serchhip, Chhingpuii Thlan and Hriatrengna Lung are very famous. There are many villages in Serchhip where you can take a glimpse of typical village life.
The town of Lunglei is one of the major tourist destinations of Mizoram. The word Lunglei denotes ‘bridge of rock.’ Lunglei is located near the city of Aizawl. In Lunglei, there is such a beautiful view of nature as everything is decorated by hand. You can enjoy trekking in Lunglei. Lunglei is very famous due to its beautiful rocks.
The city of Champhai has a magnificent glimpse to explore and is a place decorated with beautiful hills. Places to visit in Champhai includes Tiau River, Rih Dil Lake, and Murlen National Park.
Mizoram, the land of Mountains is home to many other tourist destinations. Mamit, Siaha, Kolasib are some other tourist attractions in the smallest state of the country.
The tourists from across the country arrive here to enjoy nature and spend quality time. The real specimen of the art and culture of Mizoram is revealed only after visiting here. Mizoram is also known as the "Songbird of India." The beauty of Mizoram will mesmerize and make you feel peaceful and relaxed.