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Published: August 13th 2007
Jampui Hills to Aizawl
Traditional Mizo house
Mizoram is Christian and proud of it! Everywhere you go they tell you that they are Christian, that they were converted by Welsh missionaries about a century ago and that seems to be for them the beginning of civilization... The first question asked is whether you are a Christian and if so from which church? This is important as there are many, many different churches in Mizoram... One of the Mizo tribes has even claimed they are one of the lost tribes of Israel... And quite a few have left for the holy land... Yes this is a very religious place... So much so, that about 5 minutes into any jeep or bus ride, they pull over and pray for guidance and good fortune on the road... If you are new to this procedure like me, you might mistake the stop for a toilet break and dash out of the vehicle to get rid of some excess fluid... This can be rather awkward when you get back into the jeep and realize they were all praying for their and your safety...
As a result of this early Welsh missionary zeal there is not that much left of Mizo culture (at
Jampui Hills to Aizawl
And traditional Mizo village
least on the surface) or of traditional villages... If you want to see Mizo culture you will have to come during one of the festivals where they still dress up in their traditional costumes... Other times they have adapted completely to our western dress and behaviour... They even have a Mizo Idols!
The trip from Jampui Hills to Aizawl, the capital, went through some very remote areas and here you could still get a glimpse of what things might have been like 100 years ago... There were still bamboo villages and people still wearing some of the traditional clothing... But as we neared the capital it became the usual drab concrete houses with tin roofs... The weather didn't help as it rained the entire 3 days we were in Aizawl... The city is nicely located, and I am sure on a clear day the views are amazing... Our views were more of the kind of a little box we call television in our room...
Then the weather cleared up just in time for us to go down south towards the Blue hills, the highest point in Mizoram and another Tim recommendation... Now you could say that what Mizoram
Jampui Hills to Aizawl
Kids on a traditional Mizo car
lacks in everyday culture it makes up for in scenic beauty... The road down to Saiha, winds it way through valleys, over hill tops, passing an abundance of magical waterfalls... Of course all this winding means the going is slow, so the journey down took a very long time... But in the end we made it and stayed in the nicely located tourist lodge of Saiha... We were planning to stay one day in Saiha and then move on to the Blue Hills, but the next day we were offered the opportunity of a free ride with the friendly border fencers of India... These guys are fencing the border between India and Bangladesh and had a few days off... They had a jeep and driver and were going the same way (after I told them how beautiful the Blue Hills were, which I had never seen before...)
The road first took us to Sangau which is just outside the national park, and from there we had to walk to get to forest rest house on one of the hill tops in the national park... It was a nice walk, filled with blood sucking insects and this time of the
View of Aizawl
year (the rainy part) also with those wonderful little animals called leeches!! But I am willing to donate some blood to nature for some good views... We stayed one night up in the hills and than went back to Sangau where there was a tourist lodge with one of the best views in the northeast!! The border fencer went back to fencing and we stayed at the lodge for another 2 days, enjoying the views, the garden, the good food and the relaxed village life around us...
Than it was time to return to Aizawl... What should have been a long but not to difficult journey turned into a bit of a nightmare as we got stuck behind landslides and more landslides and more landslides... In the end we made it back to Saiha, after 15 hours and 70 km's... We stayed the night in the tourist lodge and continued on the next day, which went smoother... We arrived in Aizawl one day later and on a Sunday, which means everything is closed... But it was good weather for a change so we enjoyed the views and recovered from the journey...
After this it is back to Shillong
Aizawl at night
for a few days of well earned rest and then home...
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