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A view of  the airport at Aizawl
Where the Clouds Roll Along
... the hill paradise of Mizoram

Text and photographs: Sanjay Singh Badnor

The sky above me is as blue as those proverbial forget-me-nots. Snowy, cotton candy-tuft like clouds drift along at an unusually low height... I am sitting on a bright sunny October day in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. An hour-long flight from Calcutta brought me to Silchar in Assam. From Silchar I travelled by road to Aizawl -- 180 kms away.

A little Mizo boyOn our way across Assam we stopped at Vairengte, a border village of Mizoram and headed for Travellers Inn for a hot cup tea. Back on the highway some 20 minutes later it seemed our Maruti Omni van was the only vehicle travelling through the lush, undulating countryside, forested with teak, bamboo and banana. Here and there a wild bahunia tree with its white blooms added colour to the bright green all around us. An occasional jackal scurried across our path.

Soon it was dark. Yes, pitch dark at 5 pm. In Mizoram, the eastern-most region of the country, the time is almost an hour and a half ahead of Bombay, though they follow Indian Standard Time.

A Mizo coupleWe hit Kolasib at 7 pm. I spied a catchy signboard -- Vijay Gorkha Hotel (Fooding Only). We decided to have our evening 'fooding' here. By the time we reached Aizawl three hours later, the fatigue of driving uphill had overwhelmed me. When I checked in at the swanky Ritz Aizawl, I was too pooped to explore my environs. But the blue sky and clouds peekabooing in my window the next morning was a wonderful welcome to this beautiful state.

Mizoram, according to the locals, is a young land. It is said the Mizos, who are of Mongolian origin, passed through China and Burma while migrating to Lushai some 200 years ago. The British arrived in the Lushai hills as late as 1891 and assumed administrative control. In fact, the development of Mizoram dates roughly from this period.

A rock show in MizoramVast tracts of dense forest cover its sparsely populated hilly terrain. Mizoram, originally known as Lushai Hills, is sandwiched between Burma in the east and the south and Bangladesh in the west. It was a district in Assam till it became a Union territory in 1972 and a state in 1987. The word Mizo literally means hill man or highlander and hence Mizoram means the land of the hill people.

Early the next morning I set out to photograph Aizawl town, swathed in brilliant morning light.


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