Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain in the eastern part of India. The hills are steep and are separated by rivers which flow either to the north or the south creating deep gorges between the hill ranges. The average height of the hills is about 900 metres. As many as 21 major hill ranges or peaks of different heights run through the length and breadth of the state with the highest peak 'Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) towering 2,065 metres above the sea level. The hills are extremely rugged and steep leaving some plains scattered occasionally here and there.
Although many rivers and streamlets drain the hill ranges the most important and useful rivers are the Tlawng (also known as Dhaleswari or Katakhal), Tut (Gutur), Tuirial (Sonai) and Tuivawl which flow through the northern territory and eventually join river Barak in Cachar. The Koldoyne (Chhimtuipui) which originates in Myanmar, is an important river in the south Mizoram. It has four tributaries and the river is in patches. The Western part is drained by Karnaphuli (Khawthlang tuipui) and its tributaries. A number of important towns including Chittagong in Bangladesh is situated at the mouth of the river. Before Independence, access to other parts of the country was possible only through the river routes via Cachar in the north, and via Chittagong in the South.
Lakes are scattered all over the state. But the most important of them are Palak, Tamdil, Rungdil; and Rengdil. The Palak lake is situated in Chhimtuipui District in southern Mizoram and covers an area of 30 Ha. It is believed the lake was created as a result of an earthquake or a flood. The local people believe a village which was submerged still remains intact deep under the waters. The Tamdil lake is a natural lake situated 110/85 kms from Aizawl. Legend has it there was once a huge mustard plant in this place. When the plant was cut off, jets of water sprayed from the plant created a pool of water, and thus the name Tamdil which means of 'Lake of Mustard Plant' was born. Today the lake is an important tourist attraction and a holiday resort.
The inhabitants of Mizoram are known by the generic name of Mizo, which literally means people (mi) of the hills (zo). There are a number of separate tribes under the general ethnic broad group of Mizo. Mizos included the following tribes - Ralte, Paite, Dulien, Poi, Sukte, Pankhup, Jahao, Fanai (Molienpui), Molbem, Taute, Lakher, Dalang, Mar, Khuangli, Falam (Tashous), Leillul and Tangur. The three main sub groups are Lushais, Pawis and Lakhers. The fabric of social life in the Mizo society has undergone tremendous changes over years. Before the British moved into the hills, for all practical purposes the village and the clan formed units of Mizo society. The Mizo code of ethics or Dharma moved around 'Tlawmngaihna", an untranslatable term meaning on the part of everyone to be hospitable, kind, unselfish and helpful to others. They came under the influence of the British Missionaries in the 9th century, and now most of the Mizos are Christians. The Missionaries introduced the Roman script for the Mizo language and formal education. The cumulative result is high percentage 95 % (as per National Sample Survey 1997-98) which is considered to be highest in India. Mizos are fast giving up their old customs and adopting the new mode of life which is greatly influenced by the western culture. Many of their present customs are mixtures of their old tradition and western pattern of life. Music is a passion for the Mizos and the young boys and girls take to the western music avidly and with commendable skill. The fascinating hills and lakes of Mizo-land literally pulsate and resound with the rhythms of the sonorous songs of the youths and the twang of guitars everywhere.
The original garment of the Mizos is known as puan. They were used by men and women more or less in the same fashion. These traditional hand woven apparels are of different shades and designs without exquisite play of colour combination and intricate weaving patterns has been evolved. Some of the common clothing or puan are :
It is by far the most colourful costume and is used by every Mizo lady.
A distinctive blouse of the ladies
This traditional puan is won round the waist originally it was a men's puan but now it is worn by men and women alike.
Originally this was a small hand woven cloth of handspun cotton and indigo dye.
It is a beautiful embroidered silk puan of the Mara's. It is used by both men and women.
Although several languages were spoken in the Lushai Hills, the main language was Lushai. Other languages of the Kuki-Chin groups spoken by the different tribes were Zahao, Lakher, Hmar, Paite, Lai and Ralte. Many of the smaller tribes used their own language amongst themselves but used Lushai for conversation with persons of other tribes or with outsiders. Lushai language was a spoken language and did not have any written literature.
Mizoram has a pleasant climate. It is generally cool in summer and not very cold in winter. During winter, the temperature varies from 11 C to 21 C and in the summer it varies between 20 C to 29 C. The entire area is under the direct influence of the monsoon. It rains heavily from May to September and the average rainfall in Aizawl is 208 cm. The four months between November and February are winter in Mizoram which is followed by the spring. The storms come in the middle of April to herald the beginning of the summer. The mercury starts rising and the hills come under the cover of a haze. The three months from June to August are known as the rainy season. Winter in Mizoram is wonderfully blue, and in the enchanting view of wide stretches of a vast lake of cloud. Mizoram has great natural beauty and endless variety of landscape and is very rich in flora and fauna. Almost all kinds of tropical trees and plants thrive in Mizoram. The hills are marvelously green. The best season to visit Mizoram is September and October when the temperature moves between 19 to 24 degree C.
How to reach
Aizawl is the nearest airport. It is connected to Kolkata, (1 hr ) and Imphal (30 min). Indian Airlines (Alliance Air) flights Kolkata - Aizawl - Kolkata ( daily service ) and Kolkata - Aizawl - Imphal - Aizawl - Kolkata (Monday, Wednesday, Friday ), Guwahati - Aizawl (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday).
Nearest railhead is Silchar which is in Assam ( 184 km away). From Guwahati, travel to Silchar by Barak Valley Express, Cachar Express or the Tripura Passenger. The journey takes about 19 hrs.
NH - 54 connects Aizawl with the rest of the country through Silchar. Buses and taxis are available from Silchar to Aizawl ( 6-8 hrs ). Night services are also available. Aizawl is also accessible by road from Shillong and Guwahati.