4/28/2011 to 4/29/2011 | India , Mizoram

Saiha: Land of the Mara

After spending Easter in Aizawl I headed south to explore the southern reaches of this hill covered state.  Prior to removal of the restricted area permit for foreigners visiting Mizoram on the first of the year, tourists who did obtain a permit were only allowed to visit the region around Aizawl.  This meant that much of Mizoram was completely virgin territory as far as foreign tourism goes, a rarity in today’s world, and I was excited at the prospect of being among the first foreign tourists to visit the far flung regions of the state.  I took an overnight bus to Saiha, the well worn bus was inscribed with the words “In God we Trust,” given the narrow winding roads we would be navigating throughout the night trust in God was probably advisable.  Just to make sure the bus made its requisite stop just outside of Aizawl so that everyone could pray, presumably for a safe journey and not a hastening of the second coming.  Saiha is the largest town in the area inhabited by the Mara, a linguistically and culturally distinct group from the rest of the Mizos.  It is the headquarters of the Mara Autonomous region.  I stayed at the tourist lodge run by the very hospitable, Jenifer, a local Mara woman and also a friend of Himpuii’s.  Fortuitously I had arrived in Saiha on the annual celebration of the Mara Autonomous Council, which was marked with a cultural program in the center of town.  Upon wandering into the event, I was graciously received and offered a seat in the VIP section, to the amusement of Jenifer who had accompanied me.  The traditional Mizo bamboo dance, known as Cheraw, was performed in addition to the Mara’s own traditional line dance, a serendipitous event that would turn out to be my only opportunity to witness traditional Mizo dance.

1 comment to Saiha: Land of the Mara

  • Marapasaw

    Thanks for sharing the photos. It brings back a lot of memories. It’s been a while since I left this wonderful place. I hope to go back soon. Do visit us again. Next time, you should go all the way to inner Mara land, you must see Pala lake, the biggest lake in Mizoram; Mt. Mawma, the highest mountain in Mara land, and etc.

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