India’s North East is a land of stunning beauty, vibrant culture, exotic cuisine and friendly people. Many parts of the region’s eight states are unspoiled, still pristine. Mizoram is one of them. Replete with impeccable scenic beauty, Mizoram is simply magical.
Sharing international border with Bangladesh to the West and Myanmar to the East and straddled between Manipur and Tripura, Mizoram is a land of rolling hills, valleys, rivers and lakes.
The state has 21 major hill ranges or peaks of varying heights. The highest peak in Mizoram is Phawngpui, also called the Blue Mountain. The mountains are covered by a thin layer of clouds which give a blue appearance from a distance.
Overlooking the Chhimtuipui River in the Lawngtlai district, it is close to the state's border with Myanmar. Phawngpui Peak stands at 2,210 metres and is the highest peak of the Lushai Hills.
There is a chain of semi-circular cliffs on the western side of Phawngpui Peak. Locals believe that these cliffs, called Thlazuagn Kham, are haunted by spirits.
At the top of the mountain, there is a level ground of about 200 hectares which has bamboo groves. The top offers a magnificent view of the hills and the undulating valleys.
The Phawngpui peak itself is much revered by the people as it is considered to be the abode of the goddess of the Mizo tribes.
Phawngpui is derived from Mizoram's Lai dialect. Phong means meadow and pui means great. So, the name means great meadow.
Phawngpui was a major centre of folk religion and has a rich tradition of folk stories.
A folklore says that local deity King Sangau’s son married Princess Cherian who also belonged to a royal family. At the wedding, Sangau gifted Cherian two hoolock gibbons (tailless apes) while Cherian gifted him a pine tree. That’s why the main entrance to the mountain is called Farpak which means pine.
The town at the base of the mountain is called Sangau after the deity king.
Interestingly, the locals believe that they are one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel that are believed to have been exiled from the Kingdom of Israel after it was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 721 BC.
The Mizo tribes inhabit the area and according to locals, the mountain was the abode of several spiritual races.
As the region has a wide variety of beautiful and rare flora and fauna, Phawngpui was included in the Phawngpui National Park in 1992. The steep slopes are covered with bamboo, orchids and rhododendrons.
Covering an area of about 50 sq km, the park is home to tigers and leopards apart from some rare animals like the mountain goat, slow loris, leopard cat, goral, serow, barking deer, Asiatic black bear, stumped tail macaque and capped langur. The very rare clouded leopard has been sighted in the Farpak area since 1997. There are also several varieties of butterflies.
Bird lovers can spot a host of rare species such as peregrine falcon, sunbirds, Blyth’s tragopan, black eagle, dark-rumped swift, grey sibia, mountain bamboo partridge, golden-throated barbet, Oriental pied hornbill, purple cochoa, striped laughing thrust, pheasants, larks and pipits.
With its pristine beauty and rich flora and fauna, Phawngpui is a tourism destination of choice for trekkers, nature lovers and biodiversity enthusiasts.