Lunglei, beautiful hill city in Mizoram
A few years back I had to visit Aizawl, capital of Mizoram State, North-eastern India and Lunglei, second largest town of the State. I went with a friend of mine. We took a flight from Kolkata to Silchar and started our journey by road towards Aizawl.
As soon as we left plains, the road transformed into a meandering mountain road with mountains on one side and deep gorges on the other side. Tall, wild bamboo groves were shooting up straight towards the sky all along the gorges. Those lush green deep forests up to the horizon were hauntingly beautiful with the fading soft light of approaching evening. The road did not have much traffic. Most of the time, our car was the only vehicle on that winding mountain road.
We reached Aizawl at night. It was a town perched on hills. We were going to meet a few local persons for the journey towards Lunglei next day.
Next day, we hired a jeep and set off towards Lunglei. It was a 235 km drive from Aizawl. It was one of the most mesmerizing and scary journey for us. The road was narrow and bumpy. It went through wild natural terrain on both sides, sometimes the road was like a bridge going through deep gorges on both sides. Sometimes we were passing through small hamlets or large villages or dense forests on both sides of the road.
Finally the memorable journey ended as we reached Lunglei. Tourist lodge was booked for us. Dumping the luggage in our rooms, when we came out in the open parking area of the lodge we found a delightful sight all around us. The town itself is on rolling hills and when these lush green hills touch the horizon, the color becomes almost blue against the backdrop of the sky.
Lunglei hills playing with the clouds
The whole town was visible from the high perch of the tourist lodge.
Hill city Lunglei Mizoram
History says that, Lunglei was the Capital of South Lushai Hill Districts for 10 years from 1888 and Aizawl was for the North Hill Districts. The two became united in 1898. Lunglei is the second-largest town in Mizoram. Lunglei remained an important town until the partition of India as it had direct access to Chittagong, a big city in Bangladesh which made Lunglei the commercial and education hub at that time.
Lunglei, the second capital of Mizoram is not connected by air or train. Lengpui is the nearest airport and the nearest railway station is Silchar. It is usually to be reached by the only road, National Highway No. 54 via Serchhip and Thenzawl. Today Lunglei is accessible by road from Aizawl.
Over the years, Lunglei has turned to be a prominent Mizo district. Population of Lunglei is more than 1 lakh. Lunglei is bounded by the Mami and Aizawl districts on the north and Bangladesh on the west. With Lawngtlai district on the south, the Saiha district on the southeast, Myanmar on the east and the Champhai district on the northeast, Lunglei has a lot of forest land. The locals of Lunglei have agriculture as their major occupation and have their livelihood by growing and selling the cash crops.
Lunglei, the nature lovers' dream
Lunglei is the headquarters of Lunglei district in Southern Mizoram. It is an ideal town for nature lovers for exploring the surrounding areas which are rich in flora and fauna.
It has grown around the river Nghashih, a tributary of the River Tlwang.
The name ‘Lunglei’ means “A Bridge made of Rock” because there exists a huge rock in the middle of the river, which can be used as a bridge.
Lunglei’s climate is pleasant all year round, but can be harsh at times. The rainfall here is among the highest received in the entire country.
Lunglei is a town spread over beautiful valleys and the mountainous regions of Mizoram. It is also one of the most densely populated towns in Mizoram. The people here have traditions and customs which do not exist in the rest of the region. Buddhist followers are the majority here and the town is also home to a lot of immigrants from the neighboring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh because of its many resources and lifestyle options.
Perched at an altitude of 1222 metres, Lunglei is loftier than Aizawl. An engraved image of Buddha found near Mualcheng village, about 50 kms from the town remains an enigma till date since no other Buddhist relic has been found elsewhere in the state.
Its cool and pleasant climate, scenic beauty and peaceful atmosphere makes it a beautiful hill station in Mizoram. Unfortunately, the town does not have any decent hotels. The only accommodation available is at the tourist lodge.
Lunglei is home of a spectacular and exotic variety of flora and fauna. Zobawk, Dampa wildlife Sanctuary, Tawi wildlife Sanctuary, Ngengpui wildlife Sanctuary and Rengdil bird Sanctuary are major attractions for the nature and wildlife lovers visiting the place every year.
Some of the notable tourist spots of the district of Lunglei are,
- Zobawk Sports Academy: built to encourage the sporting activities of the whole region.
- Kawmzawl Park: is a hilltop park, a relaxing place for the visitors.
- Khawnglung Wildlife Sanctuary: This is located in the district of Lunglei and is located around 170km from the capital city Aizawl. Covering an area of 41 sqkm this place is famous for its lovely forests and the wildlife. The animals found here are the barking deer, sambar deer, leopard, wild boar and the hoolock gibbon.
- Saza Wildlife Sanctuary: This is in the district of Lunglei to the west of Mizoram. This 15 sqkm expanse of land also has the best kind of species of flora and fauna. This sanctuary has the rhesus monkey, leopard, barking deer and many varieties of birds.
- Thorangtlang Wildlife Sanctuary: This is situated in the Lunglei District at Thorangtlang. It can be reached while coming from Aizawl through the village of Thenzawl. It is situated around 240km from Aizawl. Covering an area of 50 sqkm this is actually a passage between India and Bangladesh for the elephants. The sanctuary has wildlife like the elephant, leopard, tiger, gaur or the Indian Bison, sambar, wild dog, sloth bear, barking deer, leaf monkey, hoolock gibbon, rhesus macaque, giant squirrel, slow lorris, jungle cat, porcupine and many kinds of birds. October to March is the best time to visit this sanctuary.
- Saikuti Hall where most of the concerts and celebrations are held. A unique museum has also been established in the hall where local painters demonstrate their skill and exhibit their works.
- Thuamluaia Mual is the second football stadium with Artificial turf in Mizoram.
For those who want to add a bit of adventure to their sojourn in Mizoram, Lunglei has a plethora of picnic spots to explore their inherent sporting skills and sportsman spirit. Adventure lovers come here and take part in the trekking and hiking activities. It is also a place where bird watching is popular.
Lunglei district offers the tourists virgin natural splendor coupled with the rich cultural traditions of the region.
Lunglei spread over green hills
Unique hand-crafted attractive local dresses
Distinctive styles and colors of local dresses are attractive to the tourists for local shopping. The men wear specially made woolen caps which are the basic element of a man’s dress in these parts. Many small scale industries produce special and exquisite clothes that are hand-loomed and woven textiles. These are very famous and are worth buying as the pieces and designs are hand-crafted and may be considered as some of the rare pieces in the world.
White clouds sleeping on the lap of the hills
We stayed in Lunglei for four days. We took a trip around, had meetings with Government officials, visited Saikuti Hall and the museum. But, the most spectacular was to watch the changing scenario of surrounding rolling hills throughout the day. White clouds were sleeping on the lap of those hills. Sometimes they were moving and sometimes they were simply in their siesta.
Lunglei in thick clouds
The clouds were cuddled by the rolling hills all through the day.
Lunglei on deep green rolling hills
The beautiful city of Lunglei has much scenic beauty to boast about. Virgin forests, rolling hills, rich flora and fauna coupled with eye catching picnic spots, sport spots and colorful culture and traditions continue to attract visitors from all around the globe.
The imprint of Lunglei spread over lush green rolling hills remains with me to this day.