Aizawl, the capital of the Indian state of Mizoram, is a hidden gem nestled in the picturesque hills of northeastern India. Known for its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and friendly locals, Aizawl is the perfect destination for travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience.
The name Aizawl, meaning “a field of wild cardamom”, was first coined by the great Mizo chiefs Lalsavunga and Thanruma in the early 19th century, as they established villages around the present site of Raj Bhavan. Today, Aizawl serves not only as the capital of Mizoram but also as the hub of its political and cultural activity.
One of the unique aspects of Aizawl culture is the Mizo traditional customs, practices, and festivals. The city has many annual festivals, such as Chapchar Kut, Mim Kut, Pawl Kut, and Christmas. The Chapchar Kut is a festival of spring, celebrated with great enthusiasm by the Mizo people. It is a time for feasting and rejoicing after the hard work of jhum cultivation. Mim Kut is celebrated in August and is a thanksgiving festival for a good harvest. Pawl Kut is celebrated in December and is a festival of the new year.
In addition to its rich culture, Aizawl is also home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in India. The city is surrounded by lush green hills and valleys and is a popular spot for trekking and hiking. Visitors can also take a cable car ride to the top of the city for panoramic views of the surroundings.
For adventure seekers, Aizawl is an ideal destination. The city is home to a number of adventure sports like paragliding, rock climbing, and kayaking. The nearby Phawngpui Peak, also known as the “Blue Mountain,” offers great opportunities for trekking and rock climbing.
Here are some of the must-see tourist attractions in Aizawl:
Mizoram State Museum
The Mizoram State Museum is an interesting place to visit in Aizawl. Situated on McDonald Hill, which forms the central part of the town, the museum throws light on the life of the Mizo tribe and has an array of collections on weapons, utensils, textiles, and other traditional objects. The state museum is certainly an educative tour that you can look forward to while visiting the city.
Solomon’s Temple, located in the Kidron Valley of Chawlhmun on the western outskirts of Aizawl, was constructed and run by the Kohhran Thianghlim (Holy Church) religious group. It took 20 years to build and is the largest church in Mizoram. The church was constructed with imported white marble, making it the first and only temple in Mizoram with a marble structure.
Bara Bazaar is a well-known flea market in the city of Aizawl. You can shop for a variety of bright colorful traditional garments, multi-hued woven shawls, stoles, handmade wicker baskets, wooden artifacts, and many more interesting things. Although Aizawl does not have any high-end shopping malls, it is quite a unique experience shopping in this open mart.
Luangmual Handicrafts Centre
The Luangmual Handicraft Centre is an interesting place to visit. The centre specializes in handicraft objects found in the region. One of its specialties is the popular ‘Khumbeu’, the ceremonial hat made from waterproof wild Hnanthial leaves that are grown in hilly terrain. This handicraft centre is located 7 km away from the main city centre.
Mini Zoological Garden
The zoological garden in Aizawl is located on a hill known as Bethlehem Vengthlang. The sanctuary shelters several species of mammals and birds, unique to the hilly region. The Sun Bears are known to be a major attraction in the zoo that lures tourists to this place. Mini Zoological Garden is a place that people of all age groups would enjoy visiting.
Durtlang Hills are a rocky mount that provides a breathtaking view of the entire city of Aizawl. Situated on the northern side of the city, the hilltop is often trekked by tourists and locals who want to catch a panoramic view of the city. Once you reach the highest point of the hill, you are sure to find the view worth trudging the rocky trail.
Berawtlang Tourist Complex
Berawtlang Tourist Complex is yet another important tourist spot and is 7 km away from the capital. The complex is an entertainment centre that hosts a number of cultural activities. The Berawtlang Tourist Complex is a popular avenue that conducts several ceremonial functions and fairs. During the peak season, the building also provides accommodations to the local people. So, the next time you are in the city, make your bookings in advance so that you don’t miss out on a single moment of the entire ritual practices carried out.
Mizoram Science Centre
Mizoram Science Centre (MSC) is situated in Berawtlang, Zemabawk, Aizawl, covering an area of 23.057 square kilometers in the eastern part of the city. The center features permanent exhibits such as the Forest Gallery, Fun Science Gallery, and an extension of the Fun Science Gallery. Additionally, the MSC offers a library, Children’s Activity Corner, Science Park, 3D Theatre, an auditorium, a workshop and a recently established Digital Planetarium and Innovation Hub.
Bung and Paikhai
Paikhai is located 16 km away from the main town and is an ideal picnic spot. You can find many tourists and local people who come to Paikhai to spend a private gathering with friends and loved ones. Bung is located close to Paikhai and is another beautiful and isolated green patch in the hills. So, pack that picnic basket and head out to either of the places
It is worth mentioning that Mizos’ traffic manners have been praised frequently online. There have been many viral photos and videos of people calmly waiting in their lanes without honking or passing because this behavior is uncommon in other parts of India. This orderly behavior has earned Aizawl the nickname “Silent City” of India.
Shopping In Aizawl
In addition to sightseeing, exploring the local markets and purchasing unique regional items is a great way to spend your time in Aizawl. Although the city may not have many shopping destinations, traditional items such as wicker baskets, hand-woven clothing, fine shawls, and bamboo souvenirs are must-buys. Some popular marketplaces in Aizawl include New Market, Ritz Market, Bazar Bungkawn, Thakthing Bazaar, and Solomon’s Cave. The top spot for shopping in Aizawl, however, is considered to be Bara Bazaar. To learn more about shopping in Aizawl, continue reading.
Aizawl’s cuisine is a unique blend of Indian and Southeast Asian flavors. Some popular dishes to try include bamboo shoot curry, smoked fish, and local specialties like Mizo paan. Visitors can also indulge in a variety of local fruits and berries, such as oranges, pineapples, and raspberries. Aizawl may not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a trip to India, but it offers a unique and unforgettable experience. With its rich culture, scenic beauty, and delicious cuisine, Aizawl is a hidden gem that should not be missed.
Best Time To Visit Aizawl
The best time to visit Aizawl depends on your interests and priorities. If you’re looking to avoid the rain and enjoy clear skies, the best time to visit Aizawl is between October and May. If you’re interested in experiencing the local culture, the best time to visit Aizawl would be during the Chapchar Kut festival in March. And for nature lovers, the best time to visit Aizawl for trekking would be between October and May.
How to reach Aizawl:
- By Air: The Lengpui airport, located just 43km from Aizawl, provides frequent flight connections to and from a variety of major cities and towns across India.
- By Rail: The closest railway station is Silchar in Assam, located 180km away. However, for better connectivity to major cities in India, it is recommended to use Guwahati railway station as it offers more frequent services.