Soon after my Trip to Imphal, I had to visit Aizawl, the state capital of Mizoram. As with most north-eastern states of India, Mizoram is relatively unknown to tourists, and breathtakingly beautiful!
I was in Aizawl in the summer of 2013. August, I think. Having had to go there for a day for work, I had some time to myself in the evening and of course, early morning, which I utilized in walking around the city.
The airport for Aizawl is at Lengpui, about 30 kms from the city. The airport itself is unique; it is 1 of the only 3 airports in India with table-top runways, (i.e. the runway is on top of a plateau). There are many hilly streams flowing below the runway. As the aircraft approaches the airport and it is announced that the flight is about to land, you wonder where the airport is. Even when it is very close to touchdown, you can see hills around you. The runway appears suddenly and the aircraft touches down. Such a unique experience for me!
From the airport, it takes about an hour to reach the city by cab. The road is mostly good. As you climb towards the city, the temperature falls and the view is wonderful.
After reaching Aizawl, I had a quick lunch at nice restaurant named David’s Kitchen and after some work, in the evening I decided to go for a walk around the town, camera in hand.
The first thing which stuck me was the easygoing nature of the people. I witnessed a car bump into another car, making quite a bad dent in the bumper, onto what looked like a brand new car. The owner came out to check the damage but did not even raise his voice! For someone who stays in a Metropolis and witnesses road rage every day, this was an unbelievable sight!
I, obviously, stuck out like a sore thumb with my camera but no one was bothered in the least with this stranger clicking away with abandon. As with most hill towns, Aizawl has a problem of narrow roads and heavy traffic causing snarl-ups. But the general discipline of the city is something we plain-dwellers should try to imbibe.
As with Imphal, the shops started downing shutters at around 6 p.m. and by 6:30 the roads were more or less empty. But unlike Imphal, here, we could roam around the streets without a fear. I wanted to capture the city at night and one of the local colleagues suggested that we take an auto rickshaw to Bawngkawn. After getting a few shots from a difficult position, I was finally satisfied and we called it a day.
Next day, I woke up very early and not sure what to do with my time, I went down to the reception area and started chatting with the guy manning the counter. We talked about the issues plaguing the city and why the young people are leaving for cities like Delhi and Bangalore for better career opportunities.
When I expressed my desire to take photographs of the city, he suggested that I hire a car and go to a place nearby, which would provide a great view of the city. He called a cab driver (who happened to be a friend), bargained a fair price for me and then instructed the driver on the places he should take me to!
So off we went. As I realized, we went to the top of a hill, which was inside a government residential complex. But, again, no one bothered us and I got some satisfactory shots. Next, we went inside a church campus and took some more photographs. After couple of hours we returned back to the hotel.
It was time for the ride back to the airport. As always, too soon!