Aizawl, a charming hill station, is the capital of Mizoram in North East India. The population of Aizawl consists of different communities of the ethnic Mizos. The 112-year-old town is also the centre of all important government offices, the state assembly house and the civil secretariat.
Aizawl is located above the Tropic of Cancer, set on a ridge 1132 m above sea level, with the Tlawng river valley to its west and the Tuirial river valley to its east. The interesting characteristic of the region is its timber houses and varieties of flowers.
Aizawl has witnessed tribal uprising in 1890 and was besieged then. Robert McCabe, the then Deputy Commissioner of the Lakhimpur district, restored order in the area and forced 15 tribal chiefs to surrender. After this incident, more troops were employed at Aizawl and another uprising was also quelled by McCabe in 1892.
The city then became the headquarters of the 1st Assam Rifles. During March 1966, the Mizo National Front (MNF) members took control of the city in an uprising. The AR headquarters in the city was besieged. The Indian Air Force then carried out air strikes on the town and the MNF had to withdraw to Lunglei.
- People here like to watch and play football. In fact, it is the most popular sport in Mizoram with some footballers playing in national leagues.
- Basketball, badminton and boxing are also popular in Aizawl.
Various Mizo tribes make up the majority of the population. The dominant religion here is Christianity. Though small in number, Hindus and Muslims are also present in the city. Mizo and English are spoken and understood here. Since Aizawl is the capital, the economy is basically sustained by government services.
The Mizoram State Museum is worth a visit. It charges a nominal entry fee.
Aizawl is also a religious and cultural center of the Mizos. Chapchar Kut, Min Kut and Pawl Kut festivals are hosted in the city and celebrated with much enthusiasm. The famous Cheraw (bamboo dance) is a spectacular sight. In this group performance, the dancers display rhythmic foot movements and colourful costumes.
The other major dances of the region are Khuallam, Chheihlam, Chai and Sarlamkai. These dances are generally accompanied by a town feast. During these dance festivals, they also organize flower shows, food festival, music competition and traditional games. The region is popular for items made from cane and bamboo.
The main shopping areas in Aizawl are Bara Bazar, Millenium Centre and Solomon's cave. You can buy garments, cosmetics and shoes. For handicraft, go to Zohanco in Zarkawt area. They have good shawls, bags and furnishing materials. If you like traditional bamboo things like baskets or the finely woven bamboo caps (Khumbeu), these are available at MKVI Sales Emporium, Zarkawt. Check out the State Government Emporium and Hnam Chhantu for traditional items.
Where to stay
Options for accommodation are limited in Aizawl. It is advisable to book rooms in advance. The hotels are affordable and offer basic facilities.
Good budget hotels offer rooms for around Rs 500 per night. A little high-end hotel rooms are available for around Rs 750 to Rs 1000. These rooms have 24 hour hot water supply. There are few luxurious resorts on the scenic hills providing amazing view of the valley. These resorts charge about Rs 3500 and offer internet and recreational facilities.
Where to eat
The restaurants attached to hotels provide Indian and Continental food. In places like Bara Bazaar and Zodin Square you can find local food including delicacies like steamed fish, chicken momos and baked pork momos. At the popular Dhaba Restaurant, you will find good Tandoori food. For authentic Oriental cuisine, go to Beijing Blue - it serves good Korean, Japanese and Chinese dishes.
Best time to visit
November to February is the best time to visit Aizawl. Take light woolens and cottons for summers and heavy woolens for winters.