Travel Bucket List: India – Mizoram Part 2

Reiek
A mountain and tourist spot, Reiek is located about 29 km southwest of Aizawl at an elevation of 1,465 m. Overlooking Aizawl and offering a view of the surrounding valleys and hills, on a clear day, the plains of Bangladesh can be seen from the top of the hill. Reiek Hill is surrounded by thick lush green temperate trees and bushes. The best time to visit Reiek is in April. Apart from sightseeing, the hill is also a haven for birdwatchers. While climbing up the hill one will come across nests and chirping of the native birds including the Peregrine Falcon which is known to make nests at the rocky edges.

Reik also has a Heritage Village which is a typical Mizo village consisting of the distinctive traditional huts of the different Mizo sub-tribes, a Mizo chieftain’s house, a bachelor’s dormitory and of widows has been created and maintained by the Tourism Department. There is also a cafeteria and a resort providing decent food and accommodation.

Reiek is also the venue for the annual Anthurium festival which takes place each year in September. The Anthurium Festival is a festival promoting the Anthurium grown in Mizoram and the rich Mizo customs and traditions at Reiek Tlang. The festival is organised by the Tourism and the Horticulture Department and has the dual purpose of promoting the cultivation and marketing of the enthralling flower and attracting more tourists to the state and showcasing the rich and rhythmic cultural dances and games of Mizoram as well as fashion shows which are also a regular feature of the festival.

Hmuifang
One of Mizoram’s beautiful destinations, Hmuifang or Hmuifang Tlang is a hill station with a lot to offer. Located 50 km from Aizawl at an elevation of 1619 m, Hmuifang is a hill town at the heart of the state and is known for its adventure and wildlife-related activities. A land of virginal green forests and slopes, Hmuifang is also famous for the Thalfavang Kut, a festival that gives one a peek into the Mizo culture by showcasing various dances such as the Cheraw, the Sawlakai, the Siktuithiang lam and the Chheihlam

The Hmuifang Tourist Resort built on the former land of the erstwhile Mizo chief is located at the scenic peak of the mountain and is maintained by the State Government. The resort has comfortable accommodations offering 6 double rooms and a cafeteria. The patches of grasslands on the peak are also ideal for picnics and outdoor camping. The resort is also the venue of the annual Anthurium Festival and Thalfavang Kut. From here, one can visit the Mizo villages situated on the hillsides, namely Hmuifang village, Sumsuih village, Lamchhip village and Chamring village, to see typical Mizo rural life. The mountain also has beautiful cliffs and offers great views of the surrounding hills with the forests abounding with varieties of flora including rare orchids and wildlife, especially avifauna.

Winters are the best time to visit Hmuifang because of the misty hills and the chilly air but it can be visited any time of the year with temperate temperatures.

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Kolasib
A quaint town away from the commercialised cities, Kolasib is one of the newer districts in Mizoram and lies in the northern part about 78 km north of Aizwal. In the absence of any written or any other form of authentic records, as is the case of many places in Mizoram, nothing is authentically known about the ancient or medieval ages of the history of the place. Written or authentic records were kept only after the state came under the occupation of British colonial rule in the 2nd half of the nineteenth century. It is said that a chief named Kawla was ruling the village now known as Kolasib and so the village was referred to as the Kawla Chief Village which then became Kolasib during British rule and the name stuck.

Kolasib which is part of the Aizwal Mountainous Region of the Eastern Hill Zones has an average literacy rate of 93.50%, higher than the national average of 74.04%. November to March is the best time to visit Kolasib and the climate is quite temperate and not extreme.

The River Tlawng is Kolasib’s best attraction with its beautiful river banks and adjoining forests serving as a countryside getaway. Close to Tamdil Lake, the river is considered to be Mizoram’s longest river and is spread across 185 km and is also known as Katakha or Dhaleswari in the local dialect. There is leisure boating available which can be done by requesting locals who would be willing to ferry around tourists.

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Tamdil or Tam Lake
The largest lake in the state of Mizoram, Tamdil or Tam Lake is a man-made lake developed as an important pisciculture centre and a holiday resort by the state government. The name Tamdil which translates to Lake of Mustard is located about 6 km from Saitual village and 87 km east of Aizwal and is a local favourite. The lake is tucked between evergreen thick forests and are home to wide species of trees, plants and animals as well as has a magnificent landscape, clear, blue waters and a serene environment. A new species of frog called Leptolalax tamdil was described from this lake in 2010.

The origin and etymology of Ṭam Dil are shrouded in myth. Folklore has it that a married couple had a jhum plot in this small valley surrounded by small steep hills. The man, unfortunately, died leaving the wife to care for the crops alone. In the middle of the field was a robust mustard plant, conspicuously bigger than any other plant. One night the widow has a visitation by her husband, who informed her to take special care of the giant mustard plant as it was a harbinger of immense blessing. She did as she was told, and the plant thrived very well and grew bigger and bigger. After some time, the widow remarried but her new husband did not like her to keep anything that would remind her of her former husband and so he pulled the plant up by its roots and threw it away. Out of the hole left in the ground, water flowed out immediately and filled the valley to become a large and beautiful lake. Hence the name of Ṭam Dil, for the Lake of the Mustard.

The place is a local favourite for relaxation and allows one to be away from the crowd, in the lap of nature. One can also boat in the lake, walk around its shores or just spread a carpet, lie down and read a book.

Mamit
Emerging from the regrouping of villages, Mamit lies about 88 km northwest of Aizwal at an average elevation of 718 m. The Mamit District was etched out from the erstwhile Aizawl District in 1998. The dominant tribe within the district is Mizo followed by Chakma and Reang. Mamit is famous for the production of oranges and is known as the Orange Garden of Mizoram. The fourth largest district in Mizoram, Mamit is known for its exquisite scenic locales. The Dampa Tiger Reserve is a popular tourist attraction as is the longest cave network of Mizoram in Pukzing.

Saitlaw is a small town situated around 11 km away to the west of Mamit, in the northeastern part of the state and is surrounded by the Rengdil village to the west and the Bualpui village to the north. West Phaileng is a village situated a few km away from Mamit at an altitude of around 1,290 feet above sea level. The Dampa Sanctuary is in very close proximity to this town which is flanked by dense forest and teak plantations. Kanghmun is a village in the southeastern part of Mamit district at a height of 2,841 feet above sea level. It is known for its cultural values and traditions of the Mamit district. Home to the biggest cave in the state, the 25 m wide Pukzing Cave is in the village of Pukzing at a distance of 12 km north of one of the most famous villages in Mamit, Phuldungsei. Lungkulh is famous for its artificial lake that boasts activities like fishing and boating. It is a brick structure that resembles a mound or a knoll and makes for a beautiful picturesque location.

Vantawng Falls
The highest waterfall in the state and the 13th highest in the country, Vantawng Waterfalls is one of the most mesmerizing waterfalls in Northeast India. One of Mizoram’s best attractions, Vantawng Falls is located about 100 km south of Aizwal and about 39 km north of Serchhip. Tucked between the verdant valleys with thick greenery around, the fall seems like a river of white milk from a distance.

Vantawng Khawhthla or Vantawng Falls is the highest and most spectacular of the waterfalls and cascades in the fast-flowing Vanva River near Thenzawl and is named after Vantawnga, who was said to be an excellent swimmer. So good a swimmer was Vantawnga that he could hover in the cascading water like a fish, but unfortunately, during one of such performances, a drifting log fell from above and killed him. The height of the fall is recorded as 324 feet and it is difficult to get close to it because of the sheer forested hillsides surrounding it, hence a viewing tower has been constructed. September to January are the best months to visit the Vantawng Falls because the weather is cold and the falls are visible flowing at their full might through the verdant Mizo Hills. The winters are cold in the Mizo mountains, so protection is required.

Serchhip
Headquarters of the Serchhip district and about 107 km south of Aizwal, Serchhip lies in the central part of Mizoram. The district has the highest literacy in India. The origin of Serchhip’s name comes from the citrus trees found on top of the first hill of the then-Serchhip village. The word meaning of Ser-chhip is ‘citrus-on-top’. In addition to the former Serchhip village, the Town Area now included New Serchhip and Chhiahtlang villages.

Serchhip is at an average elevation of 888 m and lies between the two very important rivers of Mat and Tuikum. River Tuikum is a public drinking water for Serchhip and River Mat is an irrigation water for Zawlpui, the rice bowl of Serchhip.

The first settlement within the Serchhip area can be traced back to Lallula, a Mizo chief, who set up a settlement at Kawlri. Lallula massacred Thlânrâwn Pawi at Zopui. After this incident, afraid of revenge from Thlânrâwn, he fled towards Artahkawn to Lunglei Zobawk. And from there, he migrated towards the north and reached Serchhip Kawlri. The second settlement at Serchhip was founded by Bengkhuaia, son of Lalpuithanga, Chief of Bâwngchâwm, a great Mizo chief. From Kawlri he made a raid on Assam valley in 1871 and captured Mary Winchester, the daughter of James Winchester, which led to the First Lushai Expedition in 1872.

The district consists of many towns and villages lying around Serchhip. Thenzawl is the second biggest town after Serchhip and is one of the few flat areas with a beautiful grassy landscape. Close to Thenzawl is the spectacular Vantawng Falls.

Zoluti Hriatrengna Lung or Memory Stone is dedicated to Mary Winchester who was known as Zoluti by the Mizo people. The spot where Zoluti was handed back to British officials on 21 January 1872 is Aw-A Mual at Kawlri Tlang near Serchhip Kawnpui. Here, there is a stone erected on 5 January 1994 in memory of Zoluti, daughter of Dr Winchester, a manager in one of the Assam Tea Gardens.

Chhingpuii Thlan which means the Tomb of the Unmarried Woman is a stone erected in memory of Chhingpuii about 4 km north of Chhingchhip. This stone is named after a beautiful woman Chhingpuii who married Kaptuanga but was kidnapped and killed during the second civil war. It is after this that Kaptuanga was devastated and committed suicide.

Paragliding has become popular in Serchhip and can be practised at Chuanhnuai which lies between Serchhip and Keitum Village. It has now become so popular that a Paragliding Festival was organised attracting paragliders from other states as well. This is the only paragliding location available in Mizoram. Paragliders take off from Chuanhnuai and land in a very beautiful valley called Zawlpui leilet.

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