Land Of The Blue Mountain
With the exclusion of a small portion lying in the plains, the entire state is full of ranges running in the north-south direction. The hilly ridges vary from about 3,000 feet to 7,000 feet. The slope of the hills is very steep while the gorges are narrow and so deep that in many cases one cannot fathom their bottom. The plains are mostly located in the eastern part of Mizoram, namely the places known as Champhai (about 7-km in length and 3-km in width) and a portion of Vanlaiphai (about 6-km in length and 3-km in width).
Through this land mass of hills and plains flow the main 13 rivers, which irrigate and render the soil fertile for cultivation. Perched on the high hills, Mizoram is flanked by Bangladesh in the west and Myanmar in the east and south, sharing around 630-kms with these foreign countries. Two sister states of Manipur and Assam border with it on the north, while Tripura lies in the west. The highest peak, the blue mountain known locally as "Phawngpui" (meaning "Vast Meadow") is 2,065m in height.
Occupying an area of 21,087-sq-kms, Mizoram supports a population of over five Lakh who call themselves 'Mizo'. The term 'Mizo' is a compound of two words: 'Mi' means man and 'Zo' means hills. Thus Mizo connotes a "hill man". The term 'Mizo', therefore, gives a racial and distinctive ethnic identity to the people of the state.
climate is not uniform in the entire state. The valleys are warm and humid
while the higher ridges are delightfully cool and pleasant even in the hot
season of the year. Monsoon winds blow across the hills in April or early
May. The rainfall, which generally starts in May, varies from 70 to 170
inches in a year. The temperature fluctuates from 200C to 290C in summer
and 110C to 200C in winter.
The People : Protected By Angels
The Mizos are simple, happy, carefree, contented, generous and freedom-loving people. They lead a life of close comradeship in their habitat of a salubrious climate and dense green forests abounding in diverse flora and fauna. They rank third in the country as far as percentage of literacy is concerned - the state with 87% literacy rate is just behind Chandigarh and Kerala.
The Mizos do not draw any status distinction between men and women who rank equal in their society. Their guiding code of ethics is known as "Tlawmngaihna", which means that everyone should be unselfish, hospitable and helpful towards each other, endowed with a rich culture, they are passionately drawn to dance and songs. They have a rich variety of community dances, which have been handed down for generations. The dances reflect their mirthful nature.
The Mizos also believed that mountains, big trees, huge rocks, swamps and caves were haunted by malevolent spirits and demons which caused suffering to human beings in their own different ways. However, under the British rule, western missionaries brought about evangelization of the people from the 19th century. And enamoured of their newfound faith, the Mizos clung to it with dedication and submission. Consequently, Christian culture now has a great bearing on the social life of the Mizos.
The Mizos have a large variety of annual festivals. Being mainly agriculturists by occupation, their festivals are linked with shifting cultivation, the cutting down of jungle, sowing and harvesting. Three prominent festivals are known as "Chapchar Kut", "Mini Kut" and "Pawl Kut". Chapchar Kut is the greatest festival observed after completion of the cutting down of the jungle in February and March.
Mini Kut is the maize festival celebrated in September after the maize harvest is dedicated to the departed souls. The third festival, Pawl Kut, is observed after the harvest in December. This is festival is devoted to children's welfare. During these festivals, villagers sing, dance and feast in thanksgiving. According into a legend, the origin of festivals goes back to olden times before the Mizos migrated to India from Myanmar. After having faced famine for consecutive years, they prayed to their supreme God, Chhung Pathian, who blessed them with bumper crops. The festivals are, therefore, primarily observed as devotion and in thanksgiving. However, today, the greatest festival is Christmas and New Year's Day.
Places Of Interest : Folklore Comes Alive
The places of interest to visitors may be categorised under four principal heads: Natural lakes, Peaks, Flora and fauna and sites of historical significance. The Palak Lake is situated in an accessible area in the south of the state. It is an abode of aquatic birds with wild duck of different species. Fish and crab are found in the lake measuring 200 metres in length and 150 metres in width in an area of 30 hectares. Bear, tiger, deer, wild pig and other fauna are found in the forest surrounding the lake.
Tamdil Lake in Aizawl district is another abode of aquatic fauna consisting of fish and prawns and wild life in the enclosing jungle. Rangdil lake is surrounded by tropical and evergreen forests. Rangdil is a man made lake some 150 kilometres from aizawl.
There are about 21 peaks in Mizoram varying from 1,179m to 2,157 metres in altitude. The peaks are generally precipitous which have led to the theory that the territory was earlier under water, which receded from west to the east. The fact that Mizoram hills abruptly rise from the plains of Assam gives credence to the theory. The peaks offer much scope to visitors fond of adventure sports like climbing and mountaineering.
Some 13 places of historical interest are associated with legends, local folklore and stories. The deep sense of belonging and togetherness of the mizos has been interwoven with these places. They form an important part of the history and culture of the Mizo race.
Phawngui - The Blue Mountain
"Phawngui" or the Blue Mountain, the highest mountain peak in Mizoram, is considered the abode of gods to whom annual sacrifices are offered. On the peak, there is a level ground about 200 hectares which is surrounded by matted bamboo groves, rare flora species and Orchids and Rhododendrons which have survived owing to the isolation of the mountain. Milu peak is a cave of human skulls of people who lived in the area before the Mizos. They were known as "Tlau".
Pukzing Cave about 25-km wide is the biggest cave said to have been carved out using a hairpin by a sturdy man called "Mualzavata". Lamail Puk is another cave, the site of a war between two villages. Kungawrhi Puk is named after a beautiful girl around whom an interesting story is associated. Thansiama Seno Neihna is a hill whose top is beautiful flat land. Subutta Lung is a memorial stone erected which again has a fascinating Storyu. Philpul grave has two graves to which visitors are attracted because of the legends linked with the site. The memorial of Chhingpui is again a memorial stone connected with love stories of the past.
The Buddha's image near Mualchung village was found near Lunglei town. On either side of the image, there are engravings of dancing girls.
The names of other locations of historical interest are Khawng Run, Thangliana Lung, Suangpuilawn inscriptions, Lungvandawl, Tualchung, Mangkahia Lung, Pangzawl and eastern villages. These places, in their turn, will provide the visitor with a cluster of folklore of the Mizo people.
Flora And Fauna : Feathered Friends
Orchids are abundant in Mizoram. Epiphytic orchids are greater in number than terrestrial ones. Some of the rare species of orchids endemic to Mizoram consist of fine foliage and bright flowers of great interest to garden lovers. There is a drive to protect the wildlife and conserve the threatened and endemic Taxa of orchids and other interesting plants in the Orchidaria of the botanical survey of India at Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya state.
Available records show that a wide range of insects, Molluscs, Crustaceans, a few 1,000 species of insects, about 12 species of Butterflies and Moths , 20 of Beetles, 13 of Molluscs and various types of Snails are found in Mizoram. Seven species of Owls, 10 of Pheasants, 12 of Hawks and Eagles, 11 of Bulbuls belonging to 13 families, nine of Egrets and Herons too exist. The mammals consist of Black and Wild Bear Tiger, Leopard, Hoolock Gibbon, Chinese Pangolin, Clawless Otter, Porcupine and Mongoose.
Director, Tourism Department, Govt. of Mizoram, Aizwal - 1
Mizoram House, 24 Old Ballygunge Road, KolKata - 19
Mizoram House, Circular Road, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi - 110021