Why Travelling To Mizoram Is A Must and How To Truly Experience Mizo Culture

Here is the thing, Mizoram is not the most popular travel destination in the Northeast. Not many tourists ventures into that territory and we need to do something about it. The state government's attempt at trying to familiarise the state with outsiders doesn't seem to have worked out that much. There are hundreds of paid and unpaid articles online telling people why they should visit the state, yet Mizoram just doesn't seem to attract tourists as much as it deserves. But why is this? Here in the Mizos, we think there are multiple factors behind this persisting problem, but we think wrong marketing strategy and misidentification of tourism potential in the state are the main culprit. And today, we will be sharing with you why and how should you travel to Mizoram and experience the authentic unadulterated Mizo culture. 

First of all, let us discuss why you need to travel to Mizoram. 

1. Mizoram is breathtaking! 

photo by Chhantea Ralte Colney 

There can be many different opinions among different people about Mizoram, but one thing that most people who have travelled to Mizoram would normally agree upon is its geographical beauty. Mizoram is beautiful. Located  on the tropic of Cancer while being extremely hilly yet not as high as those gigantic mountains of the Himalayas, Mizoram has this unique tropical yet highladish climate and topography that is quite rare in India. Here the vegetation is a mix of highland pine forest and lowland bamboo forest. The atmospheric density of the region gives its mountains a unique bluish tint earning it the nickname "Land of  Blue Mountains". The rivers and streams are narrow, rugged and unforgiving. All these characteristics make Mizoram a beautiful place, quite distinct from its hilly neighbours - dryer Manipur and wetter Meghalaya. Although there aren't as many unique places of natural beauty in Mizoram, every part of Mizoram, from its city, towns, villages to woods are postcard-worthy. 
You need to visit this state ASAP!
We are not kidding you, like these photos were taken from a bathroom window in Aizawl! 

2. Mizoram has an isolated Culture 

The Culture of Northeast India, in general, is said to be isolated from Mainland India, but do you know which state in the Northeast is culturally further isolated from the rest of Northeast India? Yup, it's Mizoram. Though each state has a unique culture, Mizoram takes the uniqueness in culture to the next level. The Mzo culture is often seen as beautiful and weird at the same time even by people from its neighbouring states. Well, the reason behind this unique culture is its isolation. For much of history, Mizoram was cut off from the rest of Northeast India, so it had the opportunity to develop its own culture and traditions very distinct from its neighbours. Even after the arrival of the British, the region was shielded off from other Indians through the ILP law, hence Mizos hardly interacted with other people groups of the Northeast even throughout the 20th century. The semi-homogenous nature of its society further escalated this isolation. This isolation has given rise to unique cultural phenomena, like the Mizo code of ethics called "Tlawmngaihna", the seamless blending of Christianity with Mizo traditional practices that gave rise to a unique form of Christian tradition called Mizo Christianity, strong regional identity, ignorance and disinterest in Hindi or any other languages beside Mizo languages.

Have you seen any grave-digger as excited as them? Well, this is a show of extreme Mizo altruism/politeness called Tlawmngaihna. They actually are not grave diggers, but some local lads volunteering to dig graves. There are no undertakers or mortuary industry in Mizoram, the community takes care of death-related events free of cost.  Yes, Mizoram is weird, but in a beautiful way 

While most Northeastern states as distinct as they are from mainland India, somewhat have the desi flare in them, Mizoram has little to none of that, in fact, the rest of India has more in common with countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand and Burma than it has with Mizoram. It is not an exaggeration when people say - landing in Mizoram feels like landing in another country, it does in fact feel like one. Is there anything better than travelling to another country without leaving your country? 

3. It is peaceful and safe

Although underground groups from neighbouring states do occasionally cross over the border into Mizoram,   insurgency in Mizoram is practically extinct. Mizoram is extremely safe for women as well. I don't think we need to elaborate much about safety in Mizoram as it is quite evident for most people who travel to the state. 

Now let us talk about how to travel there and truly experience the culture

As much as Mizoram is a land of natural beauty, we like to call and term Mizoram a people-heavy state, in that its biggest attraction is the people and their unique culture. Most travel agencies including the Tourism Department of Mizoram often time fail to see this. Almost everything in Mizoram can be offered by other easily accessible states with a much lower price tag, but there is one thing that only Mizoram can offer to anyone travelling into the state, and that is its culture. But just going there and staying in some secluded Aizawl hotel is not going to make you experience that. To experience Mizo culture you need to be a Mizo, but you can't simply just call yourself a Mizo and become one now, can you? But there is a workaround to this. First what you have to do is - 

1. Get yourself adopted by a Mizo family 

A typical Mizo farmer family 

We know it's strange, we are not talking about legal adoption, we are simply telling you to make a Mizo friend. Most preferably an English speaking Mizo friend. If you don't have one, search for Mizos on Facebook, there are thousands of them, try to befriend them. If you are serious and are trustworthy, most people would be happy to have you as a friend. Once you become a close friend of a Mizo person, you basically become an unofficial family member and they will welcome you with open arms. Ask them to sponsor you an ILP to Mizoram, you know the entry permit every non-Mizo is required to obtain. You can stay at a hotel and keep in touch with them or stay at their home if they have the facility and are open to the idea, eat with them and socialize with the family. Once you have socialized with a Mizo family, you are halfway done understanding and experiencing the Mizo culture. But, remember, be respectful, maintain caution, don't scam anyone and don't get scammed yourself. Rember, you are a tourist, locals need to benefit from you, don't be a burden, during your stay, pay up your portions, even if they don't ask you for it. 

2. Ask your friend to take you to Mizo social events

By social events, you might be thinking about concerts, partying etc. Well, we are not talking about that, what we are actually suggesting is becoming a  participating member of a Mizo community during your short stay. Ask your friend to take you to 'hnatlang' - community social work, 'Khawhar in len' - where people go to console families in mourning, if you are a woman, ask your female friend to take you to 'buhfai tham khawn' - Collecting a handful of rice for the church or for the needy ( You will carry a basket and go door to door collecting rice) participate in the preparation of tea and snack in a typical Mizo public ceremony ( Mizo Weddings, hnatlang, funeral), go stand in queue for LPG gas, carry one or your family if you have the strength, if you are in the city wait and watch over your adopted family's water tank/syntax as water supply comes in once every week if you are in a village, help your adopted family collect water from a spring.  Suggest or even better- sponsor a Chaweikhawm( Family get together dinner). If you are a male, ask your friend to take you to a 'nula rim' session- courting girls/chicks. Go dig a grave and be tlawmngai,  you can even get a little brave and sneak into one of Aizawl's illegal drinking districts and get yourself wasted. Even if you are not in Aizawl don't worry, every village/town has one. But we wouldn't recommend doing this one, as it is illegal and frowned upon by the community, it can get you into trouble. Visit your adopted family neighbours and get to know them. Sounds tiring? Yup, that's Mizo social life for you. This is all part of experiencing the Mizo culture. .And most Mizos would be more than delighted to have you experience these activities. 

3. Don't go by travel books, ask your friend to take you around Mizoram

Locals always know the best spots, ask your friend to take you around Mizoram and visit some of the more famous places of interest as well as some more secluded ones. But be sure to sponsor it, don't be a burden. Remember, you are a tourist, your visit needs to benefit the locals. 

4. Experience Mizo Christianity

Mizo Christianity is a highly underrated sub-culture. It is a Christian tradition distinct from western Christianity and has its own tradition, worship style and theology. Don't limit yourself, when your adopted family are about to go to church, tag along. embrace the church service/mass. Don't get distracted by people dancing inside the church, that is part and parcel of Mizo Christian tradition, be respectful, open your mind and your soul to the worship, you don't really have to be a Christian to experience and enjoy the spirituality of Mizo Christianity. Who knows? You might even find your spiritual calling in Mizo Christianity. 

5. Lastly, learn a Mizo song to remind yourself of the adventure

You don't need a fancy souvenir to remember your journey to Mizoram. Mizoram is known as the songbird of Northeast India. People love music and music is an integral part of their culture. Ask your host or other adopted family member to teach you a Mizo song. Practice and perfect it during your stay. This will not only add a new song to your list but also help you bond with the people around you, and every time you sing that song, you will remember the beautiful times you once had in Mizoram and the beautiful people you've bonded with. Such memories will stay forever with you and may occasionally bring you happy tears. 

"Friendship and memories" 
Photo: David Chhiato 

If you do this, we guarantee you that you will have one of the most memorable vacations in Mizoram. Happy journey! :) 

- Ruata Lungchuang

If you found this article about Mizoram interesting check out our stories about Mizoram by licking Here
The Mizos

The Mizos is a one-man team news blog, that brings you news and stories from Mizoram, Northeast India and the rest of the World.


  1. Beautiful people, worked there for a long time.

Previous Post Next Post