Last Updated on September 8, 2023 by asoulwindow
Table of Contents
About Places to see in Champhai
During my visit, I was surprised to discover that Champhai is a big, bustling commercial city located at the India Myanmar border. Apart from the umpteen tourist attractions, the natural beauty of Champhai has few parallels. However, not many tourists know that Champhai is not all about beauty. Being a storehouse of historical monuments, ancient relics, ruins, memorials of legends and folklore, Champhai offers more than what I had expected. The Taui River which flows nearby and the gorgeous views of the rolling Letha Mountain ranges only add to the beauty of Champhai.
I visited Champhai on a memorable road trip from Aizawl. Champhai is already a popular weekend escape from Aizawl for both local people as well as tourists. Champhai has interesting places to visit and is one of the most popular destinations in all of Mizoram. Thanks to the massive production of rice and special variety of grapes, Champhai also carries the sobriquet of the “fruit and rice bowl of Mizoram”.
And did anyone tell you that Champhai is also the place from where the first Mizo migrants arrived and settled in the present India? You will find many such interesting trivia in this complete Champhai travel guide.
There are many unusual places to visit in Champhai. This detailed travel guide on Champhai is the biggest one written yet. I wanted to give all information regarding tourism in Champhai, therefore I wrote this exhaustive blog. This indeed is the most comprehensive travel guide on Champhai in Mizoram. Here is all you wanted to know about Champhai. Plan your holiday in Champhai using this detailed travel blog.
My Experience of visiting Champhai
In the 10 days in the eastern part of Mizoram, I travelled from Aizawl to Champhai in the initial days. I was surprised to discover that Champhai is just as big a town as Aizawl. What’s more? I even did an offbeat vineyard tour in Champhai. Yes, you read that right! Having travelled across Mizoram, I also feel that Champhai is one of the cleanest cities in Mizoram.
It was my first time in Mizoram which also happened to be the second last states in India I had visited along-with the adjacent Bengali majority Tripura. What I found most striking about Mizoram is its sheer greenery. Despite traveling solo across India since the year 2008, I had never seen such dense greenery ever.
Also, now that I have travelled deeply in all the states of the unexplored North East India, I can vouch for the fact that Mizoram feels very different. Not only are the landscapes here very unusual but the culture, dance, music, history, food, costumes, language, sounds and even the smell of this tiny state is very different from other states of North East India.
I explored Champhai with Mapui Khawlhring, a local tour operator from Mizoram, YouTuber Priyanka Chandola from Desi Girl Traveller and Sange Tsering. The fun company of Tluanga P B from Saitual kept us regaled. He drove us on all days throughout East Mizoram.
Why is Champhai famous?
What is Champhai known for? Champhai is well known as the ‘Rice Bowl of Mizoram’ because it is home to undulating rice terraces in every direction you see. The visually stunning Champhai district is also known for its
- Green hills,
- Good weather,
- Pretty villages,
- Lost civilisations,
- Abundant wildlife,
- Plethora of orchids,
- Tall ancient monoliths,
- Innumerable waterfalls,
- Historical monuments,
- Rice farming and paddy fields,
- The picture postcard perfect surroundings,
- The lesser-known Champhai winery and vineyards
This is why Champhai is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Mizoram. Since Champhai is an easy and quick weekend break from Aizawl, it is widely popular with tourists and locals alike.
Soul Window Thoughts
I have backpacked extensively across India since 2008. After years of deep exploration in India, I have come to a conclusion that India has equally stunning locations as other places such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and even Australia and Uganda for that matter, it’s just that we don’t market it as well. This is why I decided to write this blog, so that people become aware of the hidden natural beauty of Mizoram.
Local Economy of Champhai
What is the livelihood of Champhai District? Champhai is mostly an agriculture-based economy. Mapui told me that more than half of the population of Mizoram is engaged in agriculture and agriculture related activities. Agriculture and its allied sectors not only drive the economy of Champhai but also defines is socio-cultural-political fabric. Rice and Bangalore Blue grapes are the two major crops of Champhai.
Border trade is also quite rampant here because Myanmar is nearby. I visited the border town of Zokhawthar while I was on my way to the scenic Rih Dil Lake. I noticed how clothes, electronics, silverware are constantly imported from Myanmar in this part of India.
Where is Champhai located?
Champhai district of Mizoram is situated in the Eastern and Northern eastern part of the small state of Mizoram. While Manipur is located towards north of Champhai, the small nation of Myanmar is located towards the South and East of Champhai. Aizwal, Kolasib and Serchip District of Mizoram are located west of Champhai.
Champhai is located in close proximity with Myanmar which means it has robust business and trade relations with the neighboring country. In fact, the people living in Zokhawthar village and the Rih Dil lake straddling on the Indo Myanmar Border, have strong ties with the people of Mizoram, both commercially as well as culturally.
What is the geographical area of Champhai?
The total geographical area Champhai region is a whooping of 3,185.8 square kilometres or 1,230 square miles. I have observed that the size of Mizoram is actually similar to the area of several countries in Europe.
India is such a huge nation (we hardly acknowledge it), that at times, I feel like crossing borders of states here is akin to crossing international borders. I felt this even more as I crossed the bridge borders between Kanhmun Village near Mamit in Mizoram and the picturesque Damcherra village near Dharmanagar and Unnakoti in Tripura.
Places to see in Champhai
Champhai is one of the most beautiful cities in Mizoram. This information packed blog includes the famous and lesser-known tourist places to see in the Champhai region of Mizoram. I have shared deep insights on Champhai in this elaborate travelogue based on my own experience of traveling in Champhai.
Having explored Mizoram in North East India deeply for 10 days, I have come to a conclusion that each and every village of the Champhai region merits a visit. However, I have made a list of the top places to see in and around Mizoram below. This complete Champhai travel guide is all that you will ever need.
Rice terraces of Champhai
The gorgeous terraced rice fields of Champhai are a major point of attraction here. During my Champhai trip, the breathtaking views of lush green rice terraces reminded me of the rice terraces of Indonesia and some South East Asian nations. The rice terraces I saw in Champhai and the Rih Dil lake in Myanmar was just as stunning as the ones I saw in Bhutan, South East Asia or closer home, Almora and Champawat, both in Uttarakhand.
The Champhai winery is located in a picturesque place. It is not just the wine that makes Champhai Winery a must-visit destination. Their vineyards are located on the slopes of the Champhai hills, providing a stunning backdrop for a day of wine tasting.
There is no entry fee to see the terraced rice fields of Champhai. You can easily take a free walking tour around the gorgeous rice fields of Champhai.
Paddy & Fish Cultivation of Champhai
This is the one of the most productive and efficient agricultural systems in India which the people of Champhai have adopted since times immemorial. Similar to sustainable farming practices of Arunachal Pradesh, which finds itself in the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage, the unique agricultural techniques practiced by Mizos needs to be celebrated as well.
Soul Window Observations
I noticed that not only are the rice fields of Champhai visually similar to the rice fields of the picturesque Ziro Village of Arunachal Pradesh but they also follow same methods of unique paddy-cum-fish cultivation farming. I was surprised to discover the same practices here. It is a pity that unlike Ziro, little is written about the progressive agricultural community of Mizoram.
My co traveller Sange Tsering from Arunachal Pradesh told me, “This is very similar to the Apatani Paddy & Fish Cultivation. In this integrated farming method, a combination of paddy and fish farming is used together. Use of fertilizers and insecticides is strictly prohibited in these rice fields because it will kill the fish. For irrigation purpose, the farmers heavily rely on the rainwater and canals which are interwoven with the streams. The fish poop serves as an excellent fertilizer for the paddy. The nutrients dense fish excrement is ideal for plant growth. Also, it saved lot of money which could have been wasted on fertilizers.
Such applaudable focus on nature-friendly and sustainable farming methods are rare to come across. There is indeed a lot which people can learn from the Sustainable agro-aquaculture farming of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, both located in the North East part of India.
Champhai Winery: Top place to see
The first winery and vineyard in Mizoram was started in Hnahlan, followed by Champhai Winery. The local grapes which grew here in abundance are not meant for table. It’s more suitable for wine making. This is why, the local farmers started making wine out of these grapes at home. Gradually, the farmers joined hands and came up with full-fledged winery in the year 2007. Today as much as 70 to 240 quintals of grapes are harvested in a day. Fruits start to appear in the month of May and harvesting happens in the month of July and August.
So, I got lucky to see the vineyards laden with tons of grapes. I also talked to the manager Mr Maduha Lalduhawma regarding the wine making process. For some reason, the variety grown here is known as Bangalore grapes. The best part is that it provides a livelihood to the locals as they engage in the wine making here. I had heard of the famous Champhai region of Mizoram but I had no idea that there are wineries and vineyards in Mizoram or even in North East India. Who would have thought?
Champhai Winery is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Champhai. The Champhai Winery is a hidden gem which very few people know about. When I visited the winery of Champhai, I saw around 9 boys and 8 girls working there. During high season, I was told that as many as 50 people work in the winery. “On a good day, as much as 70 to 200 quintals of grapes are harvested in a day. 240 quintal is the highest they have harvested in a day.” Mr. Maduha Lalduhawma, the factory manager told me. He’s working in the winery since the year 2012.
He introduced me to Ms. Puitei Lalrempuitei who has been working in the winery since a long time. Ms. Zothanmawii, is the oldest worker in the winery. She loves her work which explains why she has been working in the winery since the year 2010. “She is single and plans to remains so.”, I was told.
I also interacted with Mr. Chungahmar, the general manager of the Champhai winery on the second visit on the next day. Mr. Chungahmar told me, “The variety of grapes we grow here is known as Bangalore Blue Grapes. This particular variety is not for table. It is not meant for eating.” Curious I tasted one. It was very sour. Seeing me flinch and make faces, he laughed and quipped, “The deep blue ones are sweet.”
Champhai Winery is particularly known for their red wines, which are made using traditional winemaking techniques and locally grown grapes. And let me tell you, these reds are so rich and full-bodied, they’ll make you feel like you’re sipping on liquid gold. Plus, they age like a fine wine (pun intended), so you can enjoy them for years to come. The red port wine here is not to be missed. Not many know, but I feel Champhai Winery is the best place to see in Champhai. These are the only state-run wineries in Mizoram. The brand of the wine produced here is known as Champwine.
- Ideal Duration: 1 Hour
- Open on days: Monday to Saturday. It is closed in Sunday, much like most of Mizoram.
- Timings of Champhai Winery: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Address of Champhai Winery: Khuangphah Road, Mizoram
- Phone of Champhai Winery: +91 98625 70419
Visit Champhai Vineyards
I am sure you didn’t know that the vineyard tour is one of the top free things to do in Champhai. It is the most unusual things to do in Champhai. The fruiting season for grapes is May and the harvest of grapes is done in July and August when I visited. This is why I saw abundant grapes on the vines.
Mr. H. S. Vanlalfakzuala, the caretaker told me,
“In the initial days, the grapes grew here in abundance but it was not suitable for eating. At the beginning, the farmers used to sell these in markets and they would still end up with tons of unconsumed grapes. They didn’t know what to do with so much grapes, so they started to make wine out of it in their homes for personal consumption. Gradually, the farmers came together, formed a union and opened the winery. Champhai Grape Growers Society runs the show now.”
I took a tour of the vineyard. What made it so unique and different from the other vineyards I have visited is the fact that once you enter the vineyard, it is thickly covered with the canopy of the vines. Also, it is on a slope unlike the ones I saw on plains earlier in Maharashtra. But honestly, I had no idea that Mizoram, let alone North East India has a flourishing winery and vineyard.
Mr. Vanlalfakzuala added, “Earlier it was a land inundated with eucalyptus trees. The trees were gradually cut off and the land was cleared to make vineyards on a slope. Now the grapes are grown in abundance here and they sell the harvested grapes in bulk to the Champhai Grape Growers Society. The saplings are planted in May and June and takes 3 years to mature.”
When visiting Champhai, you must go a tour of the vineyards and learn about the winemaking process. If you’re looking for a wine adventure that’s a cut above the rest, Champhai Winery is the place to be. Champhai vineyard is located slightly away (10 minutes of drive) from the Champhai Winery.
Trek to Thasiama Seno Neihna
Did you know about this unique plateau located on a steep rugged hillock around the Champhai region? Protruding out precariously, this major attraction of Mizoram is very popular with adventure enthusiasts like me. Not easily negotiable by man, it is still worth it! People like me who love going off the beaten track, enjoy visiting unheard of sightseeing places like Thasiama Seno Neihna.
Thasiama Seno Neihna is situated inthe lesser known Vaphai village. It is approximately 86 kilometres away from Champhai and 230.4 Kilometres from Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. Climbing up the rugged terrain of Thasiama Seno Neihnais an exciting and thrilling experience for those who seek thrill and adventure. If you are an adventure lover, you will love spending time here. However, not only exploring Thasiama Seno Neihna is a thrilling experience, but its surroundings are also a treat to the eyes.
A visit to Thasiama Seno Neihna is a breathtaking experience because once you reach the top after a gruelling trek up the hill, you will be rewarded with great panoramic views on all sides. Though this trek is difficult for many, it helps that they have long flight of steps here. This makes navigation a bit easier.
For your personal safety, I still highly recommend that you hire a local guide, preferably a Mizo who knows the terrain well. From Champhai, you can book a tourist cab to reach Thasiama Seno Neihna near Champhai Mizoram. The best is still do take a packaged tour across Mizoram from Mapui who knows the area and culture very well.
There is a stone at this beautiful tourist spot which says that Thasiama Seno Neihna was inaugurated by Rooney Lalrinawma Ralte, project director, DRDA, Champhai on 15.6.2003. As is the case with most of the major natural wonders of Mizoram, there is a legend associated with Thasiama Seno Neihna as well. As per the folklore or legend a local Mizo told me,
“This is where Thasiama`s Mithun gave birth to a calf. Mithun, a bovine is a local species of Gaur. The terrain of this place is such that it is practically impossible to climb this hill by a Mithun even today. As per the local folklore, a local man Thasiama fell in love with a gorgeous fairy called as Chawngtinleri. The fairy gave him a boon that his Mithun will multiply in numbers and add to his prosperity. It is said that the fairy used to guide the Mithun to climb up this hill and deliver her babies safely. The fairy also used to protect the Mithun from the tigers which once roamed the area freely.”
Soul Window Observations
During my visit to Arunachal Pradesh, also in North East India, I saw many mithuns along the main roads and roads around the forest. My local guide had told me then that Mithun, a species of Indian Bison is an inseparable part of the socio-cultural fabric of Arunachal Pradesh. Though, I didn’t see as many mithuns (except few) in Mizoram, I learned that they are equally important to the Mizo society despite all the progress.
History of Champhai: How the Mizos entered the present-day Mizoram?
What is the history of Champhai? I was surprised to learn about the rich history of Champhai during my tour here. Just as I entered the historical complex of Vangchchia, Mapui, a Mizo herself, told me a surprising fact. Not many know that this is where the history of Mizos can be traced back to. A plaque at the entrance read:
“From the Burma plains, they waded across the Run River at the shallow point near what is now Mualbem village; thence they followed the road named ‘Pipute Lamlian’ by INTACH Mizoram chapter and thence here at the Great Gateway within reach of the salt pits by the Tiau River, they entered the present-day Mizoram.”
This means that the centuries ago, the ancestors of present Mizos marched from the terai region of the then Burma (Myanmar) and crossed the Run River (pronounced R-U-N and not as Ran) in the valley of the Mualbem village. They then temporarily settled near the small salt pits of the Tiau River. They then crossed over to the present-day Mizoram through the great gateway or Kawtchhuah Ropui. The literal meaning of Kawtchhuah Ropui is the great entranceway. This makes Vangchhia Village one of the most important places to visit in not only Champhai but all of Mizoram. I am sure you didn’t know these amazing facts about Champhai.
A local Mizo person told me,
“We Mizos (Zo tribes) migrated from the Yunan Province of present-day China. Our ancestors stayed in Myammar Kalay-Kabaw region for around 300 to 400 years. Later in the early 18th century C.E., we migrated further down to the then Lushai Hills (now in Mizoram, India). At present, we are divided and scattered in Myanmar, India as well as Bangladesh. Inside India, we live mainly in Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.”
With so much history attached to this place, I was glad to see that it is a well-maintained site. A beautiful gate depicting Mizo people performing their traditional dance in their ethnic dresses caught my attention. The top of the entry gate shows a traditional Mizo shield, spears and horns. Another painting on the wall of the entry gate shows a family marching, perhaps from Burma to the present-day Mizoram. In bold letters, it is written on the entry gate,
In fact, while I was admiring the menhirs of the heritage site of Vangchhia Village, Mapui diverted my attention towards a path. “This is where the first Mizos arrived from”, She said, matter of factly. These are some lesser-known facts which many Mizos are unaware of too. Visit to Vangchhia was surely the highlight of my Champhai tour. Such historical monuments of Mizoram merit a visit for sure. So, what is there to see in Vangchhia Village? Below is a detailed account of my visit to the historical Vangchhia Village. Let’s delve deep into the mystery of the Vangchhia Village.
The lost civilization of Vangchhia Village
Which lost civilization is in the Champhai District of Mizoram? Secrets of Vangchhia Village are many.My visit to the lost city of Vangchhia was definitely the highlight of the Champhai tour. Said to be the largest necropolis site in the world, it is one of the top places to see in the Champhai District. Located in the Champhai-Farkawn mountain range of Mizoram, this historical destination in Champhai is a must-visit place.
As I entered the Kawtchhuah Ropui or the Great Entrance way, I was amazed with the tall ancient carved stones of varying sizes, shapes and heights. During my visit to the historical site of Vangchhia village, I was impressed to see as many as 171 such ancient monoliths spread across the complex. During my visit, I studied each of the Vangchhia menhirs in great details. I noticed several details such as human figures, hunting scenes, shapes of deer, warriors, spears and even Mithun. Some Vangchhia menhirs also depict events such as success in war, personal grieves and achievements.
Several ancient graves have also been found here. Some other prominent archaeological finds from Vangchchia include structure water pavilions, stone blocks, ancient iron artefacts and old pots, both broken and whole.
This natural heritage site is full of such surprises at every step. Uncountable archaeological relics such as rock-cut caves, menhirs, megalithic burial structures, retaining walls and even water pavilions have been unearthed from the thick forests of the archaeological site of Vangchhia which is spread across a whooping 40 kilometres. Vangchhia archaeology is still underway and I am excited to see what is discovered here next.
The cave shelter of Vangchchia heritage site
As I climbed from the main complex up the small hill to the ‘cave’, an employee of Archaeological Survey of India or ASI from Assam told me, “The 171 menhir stones discovered in the Vangchhia village became the first ever protected archaeological site of Mizoram in 2012. Excavation began here in the year 2015. The sheer scale of this archaeological site unearthed here speaks volumes of the rich past of this part of Mizoram.
Even today, new discoveries are being made and new ancient stone menhirs are being excavated from the surrounding regions. These caves that you see here were their shelters from where they used to keep an eye on the enemies attacking from the villages below. The main reason for conflict in those days was scarce water resources. Perched atop a grassy knoll, the ‘cave’ served as a good vantage point to keep an eye on the activities below in the valley.”
The ASI officer was supervising the restoration of the ‘cave shelter’ shared some interesting insights on the restoration process with me. He continued, “This mixture you see here has been kept like this since a month for it to work properly. We use lime, molasses, galnet, cow dung, straw, methi pani, jute, white and black kaththa in the restoration process of these cave-like bunkers.” Apart from the cow dung paste plastered on the shelters, I also noticed a small drain behind the shelter which helps to protect the heritage site from the rainwater.
Though the ASI discovered the site only recently, the local people of the Vangchhia village were always away of its presence and had preserved the menhirs since times immemorial. The Vangchhia menhirs, artefacts, stone objects and rocks which were unearthed from here throw light on the lifestyle and culture of the early settlers of the region in Champhai district. It is the best place to visit in Vangchhia, Champhai.
Located on the Indo-Myanmar border, the cultural exchanges between both sides of the present international border has been going on since times immemorial. Seeing my curiosity, the ASI official told me, “You see those houses on the other side of the valley. That is Myanmar.” I watched agape mouthed and realised that the borders of Burma or Myanmar remained a constant companion throughout my 10 days long epic road trip across East Mizoram. In fact, I was told that much of the archaeological site here lies in Mizoram, some in the eastern part of Myanmar and some even in the parts of the neighbouring Bangladesh.
Located near the Khawbung Village, it is easy to arrive here, if you have a cab. I noticed that few shared cabs also run between Vangchhia and Champhai. Though for comfort, especially when travelling in a group, I highly recommend that you buy a packaged tour.
While returning, we stopped at a local place for an authentic local vegetarian Mizo lunch which comprised of daal, rice, Hmarcha rawt (marcha), veggies, red-chilly chutney, sauteed cabbage, boiled mustard leaves etc. It was delicious to say the least!
The distance from Aizawl to Vangchhia is approximately 250 kilometres. The unexplored heritage site of Kawtchhuah Ropuithe in Vangchhia village of Mizoram in the Champhai region deserves all the love and attention. This 2,400-year-old historical city of the dead in the North-east Indian state of Mizoram near Champhai is a must-see place. We arrived at Vangchhia Village after a 3 hours long drive from Champhai.
Ancient Water pavilions for water conservation
Well designed and structured water pavilions located near the is one of the best places to see here. These ancient water pavilions designed for water conservation here reflects on the native intelligence of the people who lived here thousands of years ago. The water pavilion discovered here comprise of several square and circular holes. These holes were used to trap the rainwater which was eventually stored in the fissures and veins of the rocks.
Isn’t that a genius idea? Especially for those times! Since there are not many water resources in this area, this method was invested to harvest the rain water. In modern world, they say water may become the sole reason for wars amidst countries. In such scenario, we have a lot to learn from the ancient Mizos who turned rocks into hidden reservoirs with their native knowledge.
At times, a visit to such places makes me wonder if we were more intelligent as a species earlier than we are now? The 200 meters long water pavilion that has been excavated from this historical site speaks volumes about the engineering prowess which the local people of this lost civilization had in those times. This is a lesser-known place in Champhai, so make sure you make a visit here.
The excavations done in Vangchhia village can be classified into two eras viz. 600 C.E. to 1400 C.E. and circa 1400 C.E. to 1750 C.E. The very unusual water pavilions excavated at Kawtchhuah Ropuithe belong to the first period. However, on the other hand, the ruins of menhirs, ancient burial sites and the potsherds date back to the second era. Potsherds dating back to 600 BCE (before common era) have also been found here. C14 (radio-carbon) helps the scientists determine the age of the findings.
The water pavilions are the most unusual places to visit in Champhai. In fact, it is the best kept secret of Champhai. New discoveries are still being made here. The historians, archaeologists and researchers are still working in establishing a scientific chronology of the ancient culture of Mizoram which very few people know about anyways. There is a small entry fee here. There is also a toilet and swimming pool on a small hillock, right outside the main entrance.
Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Champhai
Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary is a lesser-known protected area in the nearby Saitual district in the eastern part of Mizoram in northeast India. Did you know that the offbeat Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to the 2nd highest peak in Mizoram. Located in the north of Murlen National Park, the Lamzawl village and Ngopa town are also nearby. In fact, not many know that the Selam village is located within the premises of Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary. Located away from the crowds, this wildlife paradise is a must-see place in Champhai.
Some of the mammals found in Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary are as below:
- Wild boars
- Barking deer
- Sambar deer
- Hoolock gibbon
- Rhesus macaque
- Northern pig-tailed macaque (An IUCN-classified vulnerable species of primate)
Some of the rare birds found in Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary are as below:
- Grey sibia
- Blyth’s tragopan
- Dark-rumped swift
- White-naped yuhina
- Rufous-bellied eagle
- Oriental pied hornbill
- Mrs. Hume’s pheasant
- Grey peacock pheasant
Declared a protected area in the year 1999, and a national wildlife sanctuary by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests on 31 May 2001, it is one of the most biodiverse regions around Champhai. Needless to say, this wildlife sanctuary is also rich in plant life. Countless evergreen and semi-evergreen trees carpet the landscape of this alpine forest. It is located just a few miles away from the famed Indo-Myanmar border of Champhai.
Dungtlang Village in Champhai District
Located in the Khawbung Block near the Indo-Myanmar border, a walk around the picturesque Dungtlang Village is therapeutic. Situated near the headquarters of the Champhai District of Mizoram State, it is a must-see place. I am mentioning every big and small tourist places in this complete guide to Champhai so that you know what to expect when holidaying here.
This medium sized Mizo village is teaming with tourist attractions such as ancient ruins and breathtaking viewpoints like Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang. Some of the villages near Dungtlang are as below:
- Khawbung (6 kilometres)
- Leithum (6 kilometres)
- Zawlsei (6 kilometres)
- Vanzau (6 kilometres)
- Sazep (8 kilometres)
Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang in Dungtlang Village
This rocky ledge over a high cliff was definitely the most photogenic places I saw in the Champhai region of East Mizoram. This enigmatic natural wonder of Mizoram in the Dungtlang town is a must-visit place.
As soon as we arrived here, Mapui narrated the legend behind this scenic place,
“Once upon a time, a beautiful women named Lianchhiari in this region fell in love with Chawngfianga. Unfortunately, Chawngfianga had migrated to a far away village. The sad and love-smitten Lianchhiari, who was also the daughter of Vanhnuaithanga, the great chief of Dungtlang area, used to sit here for hours and look in the direction of the village where her lover had disappeared. Since Chawngfianga was an ordinary man and a common citizen, the chief Vanhnuaithanga didn’t approve of him.
Despite the disapproval of the Chief and local people gossiping about the lovelorn couple, the love continued to blossom between Lianchhiari and Chawngfianga. Finally, things moved in the direction the lovers had desired. As per the Mizo culture, the family of Chawngfianga initiated meeting with the family of Lianchhiari to negotiate and start the ritual formalities for a legal marriage between the two.
However, there is another man in the story who was favoured by the chief. He was appointed to take care of the negotiations etc. But he increasingly got jealous of Chawngfianga, as a result of which the wedding plans were insidiously thwarted. Insulted and embarrassed, Chawngfianga and his family left Dungtlang Village and quietly relocated to the nearby Chhingzawl village, towards the east of Dungtlang.
Needless to say, the unpredictable turn of events broke the heart of Lianchhiari. She lost her smile, refused to eat, slipped into depression and composed woeful songs of love all day. She used to walk up to the precarious ledge which is still risky to sit at and spend hours here. She would sit at the ledge, with tears in her eyes and stare blankly at the village where her lover had migrated. For days on end, she would come and sit here daily, gazing endlessly down on Chhingzawl, the home of her lover.”
While we fooled around this picturesque place, more popular as a scenic picnic spot for both locals and tourists, deep down I could feel the pain of Lianchhiari and Chawngfianga. The pain of separation is indeed the hardest pain, whether Ram Sita, Heer Ranjha or Romeo Juliet. Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang is named after her. Tlang stands for mountain in the Mizo language. This famous viewpoint in Champhai is a must-visit place in Mizoram.
Be safe: Since it can be as dangerous as pretty, you must be very cautious while loitering around here. There are no railings here. One mistake and you will be united with the Chawngfianga down in the valley. Be very careful while sitting at the bench located here. It is situated right next to a sheer drop of several feet. Also, while climbing the rocks for likes and views on social media, you should be equally careful.
The distance between Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang in Dungtlang Village and Champhai is 60 kilometres and it takes around 2 hours via Khawbung road. Starting from Champhai in the early morning, we had visited Vangchhia first followed by a visit to the Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang. We returned to Champhai on the same day. Entry at Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang is free. It is open 24 hours, though avoid going here after sunset. Despite its immense beauty, Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang is a lesser-visited place in Champhai.
Writers’ graveyard near Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang
A few minutes of downhill drive away from the picturesque Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang, Mapui took us to a special place. It was a writers’ graveyard. The notable writers and even politicians from the Champhai region and other places in Mizoram were buried here with due respect. The white and black graveyard is perched atop a hill with almost similar views I saw in Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang.
What I found striking about this graveyard is the fact that it is located in a very lonely place and each headstone epitaph has the actual picture of the deceased along-with name and dates during which he lived. I mostly saw the graves of males here. There is no entry fee here. It is a free thing to do in Champhai.
Soul Window Thoughts
I have seen many graveyards including the Dutch cemetery in Fort Kochi in Kerala. The random visit to the writers’ graveyard near Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlangin the Christian majority Mizoramreminded me of my visit to the solemn Waverly cemetery during the Bondi to Coogee walk in Sydney in the southern part of Australia.
Ruins of stone city in Dungtlang old village
Located near the popular Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang, the stone city in Dungtlang old village is the best kept secret of Mizoram. During my epic road trip across Mizoram, I realised that Mizoram is home to several unexplored heritage sites which no one even talks about. This is why I decided to write in great details on the lost civilisations of Mizoram. Thanks to the discoveries made here in the recent years (and continuing), it helps us tracing back the rich history of the present Mizo community that now inhabit Mizoram. I saw several stone remains from the past. I had goosebumps as I imagined that once a bustling city existed here. These are some little-known facts which even many Mizo people are not aware of.
So impressed I was that I and Mapui discussed in detail the huge potential of ecotourism in the Champhai region. The gorgeous views and pleasant climatic conditions are just an added bonus. I am sure, you didn’t know about such places which are off the touristy trail.
Mura Puk Cave
Also known as Mura Cave, the mysterious Mura Puk is located at the outskirts of the lesser explored Zote village near Champhai in East Mizoram. Mura Puk is one of the most famous monuments of Mizoram. Not much is clear about the origin of this tourist destination in Champhai. Upon deep study of this place, the historians and archaeologists have concluded that originally there were 7 such caves here. Now only 6 of such caves survive.
In earlier times, these caves also had huge door like cover which were made up of stone. These manmade caves carved out of solid rock. The history of these caves is unclear. In the year 1899, when the Chief Laitea ruled over this area and supervised settlement of the Zote Village, these enigmatic caves already existed.
Much like other natural wonders of Mizoram, Mura Puk also has an interesting legend behind it. In the Mizo language, Puk means cave and Mura stands of a (seemingly) mythical gigantic eagle. It is said that the local people used to take shelter from this eagle in this cave. The monstrous eagle was not an ordinary bird. It is said that the skin around the lower beak of Mura was big enough for a man’s cap. To add to its ferocity, the size of one of its talons was similar to the size of the horn of a female Mithun.
People used to fear the presence of Mura who would sit atop the roofs of the houses and wait for its prey. So huge this eagle was that it would cover both sides of the house with its wings. Threatened, when people used to run out of their houses, the cruel man-eater eagle would attack them. The feral predator that Mura was, it was hard to escape its wrath. The lucky ones used to save themselves by taking refuge inside these caves when Mura attacked.
Mura cave is one of the best offbeat places to explore near Champhai. You can also see carving on the walls of the caves here. Thanks to the beautiful panoramic views of Champhai city which it offers and the mystery associated with this place, this tourist destination is popular with both tourists as well as locals. Mura Puk is located around 192 kilometres away from Aizawl and has an elevation of approximately 1678 meters or 5505 feet.
Check this video by Priyanka Chandola on Aizawl to Champhai route
Lamsial Puk Cave
Lamsial Puk is one of the must-visit caves in the Champhai region. Lamsial Puk cave is located on the edge of a cliff in Lamsial in the Farkawn village in the Champhai district of East Mizoram. The history of Lamsial Puk is very interesting. Here is the story behind Lamsial Puk. Centuries ago, a fight ensued between two adjacent tribal villages over territorial expansion. Hundreds of men lost their lives in this deadly war. Needless to say, it was the most fatal war which was fought in the region.
Tourists can still see the skeletons of the valiant men at Lamsial Puk. These are the skeletons of the brave warriors, who belonged to the Lamsial territory or a village that is presently extinct. Human bones including skulls, femurs and ribs have been found here. Along with the large mound of skeletons preserved in Lamsial Puk Cave, you can also see other remnants and the artillery used in the war. It is indeed a poignant moment to witness the historical evidences of this gruesome war even today. The skeletons of courageous warriors who gave away their lives so that they could protect their territory is a grim reminder of the futility of war. Sadly, even today, people are losing their lives over disagreement upon land issues. There is no entry fee here.
Being one of the top five monuments of Mizoram, Lamsial Puk is a must visit sightseeing attraction. Lamsial Puk is surely one of the most unusual places to see in Champhai. Other such places to visit in Champhai include major attractions such as Tialpari Puk, Kungawrhi Puk, Far Puk and Tluangtea Puk.
Fiara Tui Spring in Champhai region
Other gem to visit near Champhai district is Fiara Tui Spring. This beautiful spring, which originated from the Tan Tlang Mountain is a must-see place in Champhai. Not only is Fiara Tui Spring a major tourist attraction but it also finds its mention in the Mizo folklores and writings which doesn’t get tired singing paeans on the purity and sweetness of its water. The local people firmly believe that the water of the Fiara Tui spring possesses magical beautifying properties.
There is a legend associated with Fiara Tui Spring as well. Years ago, Fiara, an orphan boy lived in the now extinct Lamsial village. So shy he was that he would wait for the night or early dawn to fetch water from the common village spring. Since no one was around in dawn and night, he preferred this time of the day to fetch the water. It was he who discovered a small spring here. Since the water that trickled from here was clear, cool and sweet in taste, the news spread fast in the entire village. This is how Fiara Tui Spring rose to fame.
Fiara Tui Spring is located approximately 65 kilometres away from the town of Champhai. You can reach Fiara Tui Spring by hopping onto a regular bus running from the Aizawl city to the Farkawn village. This journey takes around 3 hours. The Farkawn village is located very close to the Fiara Tui Spring. Fiara Tui Spring is one of the top offbeat places to visit in the Champhai region.
Waterfalls of Champhai: Best places to visit in Champhai
Since it was rainy season when I visited, I saw several waterfalls, big and small while driving towards and around the Champhai region. So blessed is the Champhai region with abundant natural beauty that every spot is a postcard. Most of these waterfalls are picnic spots for local people who enjoy the bounty of nature as much as the tourists. I discovered many such hidden gems during my 10 days long memorable road trip across Mizoram.
Forests of Champhai
The dense green forest of Champhai region merit a separate exploration. Rich in faunal biodiversity, Champhai is a paradise for botanists. Throughout my 10 days long journey across not just Champhai but entire East Mizoram, closely knit green forests remained my constant companion. I have travelled in all the states of India and I have never seen such greenery as I saw in the Champhai region on this 10 days long trip.
Soul Window Observations
Did you know that Mizoram, is one of the greenest states of north east India. I was astonished to learn that a whopping 90 % of the land area of Mizoram is covered with woods and dense foliage. This makes Mizoram the unanimous winner of greenest state of India.
As we drove across Champhai, Aizawl based Mapui quipped, while staring out of the window, “I love the greenery of Champhai region. It is just so dense and limitless.” I couldn’t agree more. But if a local Mizo says that, I stop taking it for granted. She is right. I have travelled across the Indian states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka etc but never have I seen such dense greenery.
Rih Dil Lake in Myanmar near Zokhawthar village
I had assumed that Rih Dill lake lies inside Mizoram. Turned out it was both right and wrong. While geographically, Rih Dil lake lies inside the boundary of Myanmar, philosophically and spiritually, Rih Dil is as important to the people of Mizoram as it is to the people of Myanmar. Located just 2-3 kilometres away from the pretty Zokhawthar village on the India side, Rih Dil is a must-visit place.
As an Indian traveller, I was happily surprised to experience entry inside the international boundary of Myanmar without a Visa or Passport. No one even checked my Aadhar Card. I simply walked inside Myanmar without anyone stopping me. I was also able to exchange currency from some local ladies of Myanmar standing at the entrance of this exciting Indo Myanmar border crossing.
After visiting the local market with my eyes peeled and enjoying a hot lunch of delicious vegetarian fried rice with shake, I hopped onto a bike who took us to the picturesque Rih Dil lake within 5-10 minutes. It was slightly raining when I arrived here. The uphill drive rewarded me with gorgeous views of monasteries, terraced rice fields, local homes and school etc.
Soul Window Travel Tip on Rih Dil
After spending some time at the pristine lake, my bike driver offered to take me to a secret vantage point from where I saw the ‘heart shape’ of the Rih Dil Lake. I was overjoyed to see this spectacle. Sange Tsering and Priyanka Chandola were equally delighted to be here. Mapui had already been here, so she explored the bustling market of Myanmar near the border.
No wonder, we spent a lot of time at both, the mysterious lake and this secret vantage point. The picture postcard perfect terraced rice fields, reminiscent of my visits to South East Asia, Bhutan, Khonoma and Indonesia added cherry on the cake!
Visit Murlen village near Champhai
Murlen village is off the touristy trail. You may want to visit this village if you want to see offbeat places of Mizoram. A walk along the quaint village will deeply acquaint you with the Mizo lifestyle and culture. Murlen village is located approximately 24 kilometers towards north from District headquarters Champhai. Murlen is located around 68 kilometres away from the state capital Aizawl. Cities around Murlen are Champhai, Aizawl, Lunglei and Kakching. Villages located close to Murlen are
- Vapar (9 kilometres)
- Pamchung (10 kilometres)
- Rabung (10 kilometres)
- Tualpui (10 kilometres)
- Khualen (11 kilometres)
Murlen National Park: Top place to see in Champhai
Murlen National Park is the top place to see in Champhai, if you are a wildlife lover. Not many tourists know that several endangered species of birds and animals call Murlen National Park their home. Spread across a whooping 100 square kilometers, Murlen National Park is a must visit place in the unexplored Champhai region of Mizoram.
Home to Serrow, the endangered Himalayan Black Bear, leopards, tigers, barking deer and Sambar, Murlen National Parkis a biodiversity hotspot in Champhai Mizoram. Birds such as Hill Myna, peacocks and Peacock Pheasant are commonly seen here. This is why, Murlen National Park also attracts those who love birdwatching and bird photography.
Murlen National Park also attracts botanists and researchers, thanks to the wide variety of fauna, especially orchids, both rare and common.
Churches of Champhai
I stopped at the massive church known as Champhai Zotlang in North Kohran. This church was established in the year 2017. It is located close to the main city and the Champhai tourist lodge. It was the biggest Church I saw in the entire Champhai region. I also visited the Psebytarian Church in Zebawak.
The Church at the crossroads near traffic police in the main Champhai market near Hotel Chawngthu also deserves a mention. There is also a school and a small library here. Known as Champhai Vengthlang Church, it was established in the year 1911. It was written on the main entrance, “Hawh U. Lalpa Inah I Kal Ang U”
Mizoram is Christian majority state which explains why I saw so many Churches at every turn, most of which were closed when I visited. I admired the external architectural designs instead.
A Church I saw while returning from Vangchchia to Champhai deserves a special mention. Not only did this Church have beautiful architecture but the picturesque setting enhanced its beauty.
We also saw people dressed in black and white coming out of a colossal Church in Saitual known as Salvation Army Saitual Corp after a Sunday mass. I met a gentle and well-spoken Mizo man called as Peter who told me, “I come here every Sunday and play the music.” I also stopped at the Presbyterian Church of India in Seling, Kohran as we drove to Champhai from Aizawl.
Some of the main churches in and around Champhai are as below
- Church Of God
- New Champhai
- Zomi Baptist Church
- Kelkang Presbyterian Church
- Champhai Venglai Presbyterian Church
- Champhai Kahrawt Presbyterian Church
- Champhai Vengthlang Presbyterian Church
- Champhai Ramthar Presbyterian Church
- Bethel Presbyterian Church. Near Myanmar Border Road Vengthlang
Rivers of Champhai
What are the rivers in the Champhai District? The two major rivers that I came across while travelling between Aizawl and Champhai are the Tuirini Tuirial and Tuivawl rivers. Tuivawl River is where we stopped for some time to soak in the view and take toilet breaks. The Tiau River, also known as the Tio river is 159 kilometres or 99 miles long river located in the Champhai region. Not many people are aware of the fact that this serpentine river forms part of the international boundary between India and Myanmar.
Not many know that you can even do adventure sports and white water rafting in the lesser known Tuivawl river. Who would have thought? We stopped at several viewpoints which gave us breathtaking views of the rivers of Mizoram. I am sure you didn’t know about these hidden gems near Champhai. Also, did you know that the biggest river of Mizoram is located in the south. It is known as Chhimtuipui or Kolodyne River.
Main Markets of Champhai
The main market here is the top place to visit in Champhai for the people who love to shop. The bustling bazars and main market place of Champhai is a shopper’s paradise. If you bargain hard, you can strike a good deal for several electronics, shoes, flip flops, jackets, household items, clothes, toys, bags and cosmetics at a reasonable price.
Go trekking in Champhai
There are several trek routes around Champhai where you can hike for a day or two. However, I highly recommend that you hire a local Mizo guide before embarking upon any trek. I always advise against trekking solo in unfamiliar terrains. Apart from trekking on the Thasiama Seno Neihna trail, you can also trek on various other routes. Champhai serves as a good base for trekking especially during spring.
Camping in Champhai
One of the best things you can do in Champhai is camping. The natural beauty and terraced rice fields make Champhai a picturesque place to do camping. You may be able to pitch a tent in the meadows or request the hotel owner to a pitch a tent in their lawns and use the washroom. There are many such exciting things to do in Champhai Mizoram in North East India.
Top things to do in Champhai
What is there to do in Champhai? There are countless exciting things to do in and around Champhai. Some of the best things to do in Champhai region are
- Wine tasting
- Vineyard tour
- Church hopping
- White water rafting
- Sampling local food
- Visiting rice terraces
- Wildlife photography
- Visiting Indo Burma Border at Rih Dil
Many of the above listed activities are the top things to do with family and kids in Champhai.
Exciting Excursions from Champhai
We passed through many pretty villages while traveling in and around Champhai. For example, we passed through Dilkawn village at around 6 p.m. while returning to Champhai from Dungtlang. We also stopped at the picturesque Mawia Point while we were driving from Aizawl to Champhai. There are many such exciting places to see in and around the verdant Champhai region of East Mizoram.
Some of the top places to see near Champhai in Mizoram are:
Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park: Hidden Gem of Mizoram
Phawngpui National Park makes for a good excursion from Champhai or Aizawl. Located in the Lai Autonomous District Council, Phawngpui National Park is a must visit place in South Mizoram.
Phawngpui National Park which is also known as the Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park is one of the two major national parks of Mizoram. The other national park of Mizoram is Murlen national park which is also larger than the former. It is also christened as the blue mountain of Mizoram. Did you know that with an altitude of 2157 metres or 7076 feet, it is also the highest mountain peak in all of Mizoram? Bamboos, rhododendrons and orchids are found in abundance in Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park.
Some of the mammals found in Phawngpui National Park are as below:
- Slow loris
- Leopard cat
- Capped langur
- Mountain goat
- Asiatic black bear
- Stump-tailed macaque
- Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)
Some of the birds found in Phawngpui Blue Mountain National Park are as below:
- Grey sibia
- Black eagle
- Purple cochoa
- Blyth’s tragopan
- Large-billed crow
- Dark-rumped swift
- Oriental pied hornbill
- Mrs. Hume’s pheasant
- Striped laughingthrush
- Mountain bamboo partridge
Festival of Champhai
The very popular Chapchar Kut festival in March is a must-attend festival. Chapchar Kut is a 2 days long annual festival of Mizoram which is celebrated by most of the villages across the state. Aizawl has the biggest Chapchar Kut celebration which takes place in the AR ground aka the Assam Rifle ground.
Athurium festival also takes place in Aizawl every December. You may try to coincide your trip to Champhai with the festival. Expect live performances by dance troupes and music bands, several cultural programmes and traditional shows along with other activities.
Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Champhai
I was surprised to see that the delicious bamboo chutney and Bhoot Jholokia chutney (hottest chillies in India), my staple in other North East Indian states such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland were nowhere to be found in Mizoram and Tripura.On the earlier 3 months long epic backpack trip across North East India, I would not have a meal without bamboo chutney. I wanted the same here but it was nowhere to be seen. I binged on lot of bamboo shoots in Mizoram though. In this part of India, bamboo shoots grow in abundance in monsoons which was also when I visited. This is why fresh bamboo shoots cooked in various styles were served to me during all meals (dinner and lunch) on all of my 10 days in Mizoram.
During my explorations in Champhai, I was just excited to see all the local vegetables which I never saw earlier. Do you even know the names of these vegetables? I didn’t. The taste of fresh bamboo shoots slowly grew on me as I devoured it with every meal. It’s an acquired taste for sure.
Also, unexpectedly, I also had amazing Chinese style vegan Thukpa in the Chawngthu Hotel located in the main market of Champhai in the Vengthlang area. With oodles of red spicy sauce, sesame seeds and bamboo shoots, it was undoubtedly the most delicious Thukpa I have ever had. My friends had delicious pan-fried noodles and poori bhaji (yes, you get North Indian food across Champhai).
The restaurant at Hotel Chawngthu also offers incredible views of the terraced rice fields and the Champhai town in general. Despite its good location, plush interiors and delicious food, the prices here are shockingly low. What’s more? They also have an in-house bar here and rooms are also available upstairs. We also visited an excellent bakery called as Chawngthu Mart. It is located in the same lane as Hotel Chawngthu.
Other local vegetarian dishes of Mizoram which I tried are
- Bai (Mixed vegetables boiled with Mizo herbs and spices, eaten with dal-rice)
- Dal-Chawal-Alu Bhujiya was commonly available everywhere. I prefer arhar daal, also known as toor daal but masoor daal is more popular in Champhai and elsewhere in Mizoram.
- Sanpiau– A local rice porridge (delicious)
- Gughni with poori: It is commonly available
- Chhum Han: local vegetarian dish
- Koat Pitha: Made with rice flour and banana
- Bamboo Shoot Fry: I love it!
- Hmarcha rawt – This is tangy and spicy chilli chutney. Almost every restaurant serves it for free. Made with thin onion slices, cilantro/dhaniya, roasted red chilli powder etc. It is pronounced as marcha.
- Bekang: Fermented soya beans
- Chhangban leh thingpui: Mizo sticky bread and tea. I saw it at a restaurant at Seling.
- Sawhchiar: A rice porridge. Vegetarian Sawhchiar is available at request at many restaurants.
- Wai Wai Noodles fry is also very popular here
You can request vegetarian/vegan version of these if they have a meat-based version on the menu. Other than these, paratha, poori, alu tamatar and North Indian style food and even some multinational restaurant chains are present in the main city of Champhai.
Soul Window facts
Seeing my curiosity, Mapui told me that some of the local herbs of Mizoram are Chingit Schezwan leaves, Pardi, Runhmui leaves, Lengser Baahkhawr etc. Berul is local Parwal like gourd available across Mizoram. Rul means snake while Be is beans. Since bigger beruls ones grow like snake, it is named so.
Beverages of Champhai
When visiting Champhai, you must have Rakzu or Zu the local alcohol of Mizoram. I bought a bottle of Zu from the local shop. I could directly drink from the bottle. I found the taste to be similar and yet so different from Apong of Arunachal Pradesh and Tongba of Sikkim and Nepal. There are many other versions of Zu available in Aizawl. I was amused to see that the tender rice grains could still be seen in the bottle. I consumed several rice grains along with the Zu while devouring it. “If the Zu remains unconsumed for longer, the rice grain dissolves and becomes the part of the liquid., Mapui told me as I sipped the white nectar. Zu is white is colour and dense in texture. Do check out this winery tour video by Priyanka Chandola.
The traditional Mizo Rice wine or beer is generally served during festivals and other such occasions. The straw like bamboo pipe is used to savour the drinks. This is why it is also known as Zu Khawn. You may contact Mapui if you want to enjoy this local drink. The decade old clay pot is used for brewing the wine. I was told that the longer it is stored, the sweeter is its taste. Sampling the local drinks is surely the best best thing to do in Champhai.
Souvenirs Shopping Guide to Champhai
What can I buy from Champhai? There is a lot you can shop for in Champhai. From local cakes (for quick consumption) to even footwear and fridge magnets, there is a lot you can buy in Champhai. In fact, I bought 2 flip flops from a shop in the main market of Champhai while my friend Priyanka purchased 3 pair of shoes from the same shop. The main market of Champhai is Awmpui Phei.
I also bought the delicious Rice cakes siam dan, also known as the Burma Rice Cake from the local shops. You can also easily buy it from the Bada Bazaar in Aizawl. I also bought the Myanmar made Dingwang snow cookies for friends back home. It tasted more like laiyya patti (murmura jaggery laddus) of Uttar Pradesh, though in disk shape. On a casual walk, I also picked up some vegetarian Rum Pum Noodles and cooked it later in our homestay in Aizawl. It was delicious and different from other ready-made noodles.
I love collecting vegetarian food souvenirs, so I couldn’t resist buying the local roasted red chili powder and a local red chili chutney. I also bought Hapima Fried Rice Mix (original, they say). I thought it is a foreign product but I was disappointed to learn that it was manufactured in Chennai in Tamilnadu, India. It contains Ajinomoto or Monosodium Glutamate and warned pregnant women and infants against consuming it.
Some of my other food souvenirs included Isaac Noodles. The packet said that it is ‘a product of Mizoram’. Later, during my stay in Agartala, I also saw the chef of my hotel using the same Isaac Noddle to make Hakka noodles. Seems like they are quite popular in this part of North East India. I also found it amusing that they had mentioned their address and contact details in bold letters on the packet. Maybe, convince them to courier some to Bangalore or Mumbai.
Address of Isaac Noodles manufacturing unit (in case you need to dig deeper): 1/27, Kulikawn, Aizawl, Mizoram.
Email: [email protected]
Please keep in mind that the Mizos are devout Christian. This is why, all (not most but all) the stores and restaurants close their doors on Sundays and after 6 pm. Near the Champhai Vengthlang Church in main market, a signboard pointed Circuit House, Venglai and Bethel in one direction while Kanan Veng, Jail Veng and Aizawl Road in another direction.
Photography Tips for Champhai
There are several places of interest in Champhai which make for a good picture. The picturesque Champhai is a paradise for photography and nature lovers. No matter where I looked, each frame was worth capturing. Since I was traveling in monsoon, the freshly washed landscape of Champhai looked even more ethereal. Do not miss taking pictures of local people (with permission), exotic birds, animals, undulating rice terraces, local churches and historical monuments.
Hire local tourist guide in Champhai
Thanks to Mapui Khawlhring for inviting me on this very unique trip to some of the most unexplored parts of Champhai in North East India. Her passion for tourism is infectious. Mapui Khawlhring, a local tour leader based in Aizawl Mizoram made all the difference to my travel across East Mizoram in 10 days. She shared rare insights into the Mizo lifestyle, culinary history, hidden gems and customs. These small nuggets of information while I was still on the go enriched my travel experience in Champhai.
Languages spoken in Champhai
Mizo language is the most commonly spoken language of Champhai. As is the case with most North East Indian states, many people also speak good English in Champhai, especially those employed in the tourism sector. Some people also have workable knowledge of Hindi especially those who have exposure to the nearby Assam which has far more Hindi speakers. Some people also speak good Burmese, thanks to the proximity with Indo-Burma border.
Toilet facility in Champhai
Mizoram is one of the cleanest states of India. Most of the tourist attractions of Mizoram has a toilet nearby. During the 10 days long trip across East Mizoram, I never saw anyone even peeing by the roadside. I observed that there are urinals and toilets at every few steps in Mizoram, including the highways. Much like the men urinals, in many cases the women’s urinals also do not have a roof.
The walls of women’s toilets are higher though and the entry is concealed. If you are not comfortable using such toilets, you may easily find a toilet with doors at the restaurants and grocery shops across Champhai and Mizoram. I suggest that as a courtesy, do buy from the restaurants, cafes and grocery shops if you are using their toilets.
How To Book a trip to Champhai?
Places like Mizoram are not documented well (until my visit, eh!), this is why it makes a lot of sense to travel with a local Mizo than to hire a tour agent from Delhi who has no connection with the local ethos. Mizoram hardly has good tour operators. I highly recommend that you book a trip anywhere in Mizoram with Mapui Khawlhring who is a Mizo herself and has a good knowledge about anything on Mizoram.
Soul Window Recommends
No matter which questions I asked her about Mizoram, Mapui always had a satisfying answer ready. And then she would add more. To book a trip across Champhai and Mizoram, you may call Mapui Khawlhring at +91 7005407425. Not only does she take good care of the food, stay, cab, sightseeing but can also customise your Mizoram tour as per your whims and fancies. She runs Riahrun Mizoram Tours.
Backpacking Budget Travel Tips for Champhai
To my surprise, I found it very easy to rough it out in Champhai despite its remote location. Backpacking in Champhai is easily doable because except for the private cab costs, the cost of hotels, food, shared cab etc is very low. Most of the tourist attractions I came across during local sightseeing in Champhai didn’t have an entry fee. There are many such free things to do in Champhai.
Solo Trip Tips for Champhai
It is easy to make solo trip to Champhai from Aizawl. Irrespective of whether you are a budget traveller or a luxury traveller, you can still make trips to Champhai easily. While luxury solo travellers can book an entire cabs and travel to Champhai (I know many who do that!), budget solo travellers can take shared cabs to Champhai. Mizoram tourism is slowly gaining popularity with backpackers who want to explore beyond the obvious.
Luxury travel Tips for Champhai
Compared to other parts of rural Mizoram, it is easier to find luxury hotels and restaurants in Champhai and Aizawl. However, do not expect ultra luxurious rooms. Though you can find neat luxurious rooms but they would still not match up with, say what you may get in New Delhi or even Lucknow for that matter.
Books on Champhai
You must read some books to gain deeper perspective on the tourist places in Champhai. Some of the books on Mizoram which I recommend are:
- Mizoram. Past and Present by H.G. Joshi
- Culture and Folklore of Mizoram by B. Lalthangliana
- Folktales of Mizoram Dr. Lalthangliana Khiangte
- Oh Mizoram (A collection of poems) by Dr. P.S. Sreedharan Pillai
- Religion and Politics in Mizoram by Anup Shekhar Chakraborty
- The Keepers of Knowledge. Writings from Mizoram. Editors: Hmingthanzuali, Mary Vanlalthanpuii
FAQ: Frequently asked questions on Champhai
Where to stay in Champhai?
Accommodation in Champhai come in various range. Champhai is not a small village, but a bustling town. This is why, it is easy to find hotels of all variety in Champhai. Here is a detailed list of tourist lodge in Mizoram:
Champhai Tourist Lodge
I had stayed in the scenic Champhai Tourist Lodge maintained by the Government. There are a few churches and grocery shops at walking distance from the Government run Champhai Tourist Lodge. The reception, lobby and restaurant on the ground floor are very basic and so are the rooms. But isn’t that the charm of traveling in North East India?
Champhai Tourist Lodge is the best budget hotel in Champhai. It is suitable for bag packers like me. The prices here are very low, whether it is the room tariff or food. You can also opt to stay in their cottages which are of course prettier and larger than the rooms. The cottages here also have balconies overlooking the dense forests.
Address: Champhai Tourist Lodge, Zion Veng, Champhai, Mizoram 796321
Some of the best luxury hotels in Champhai are concentrated around the main market. If you fancy staying in the midst of all the action and quick access to low priced delicious vegetarian meals, you can consider Hotel Chawngthu. Located right in the heart of the main market of Champhai in the Vengthlang area, Hotel Chawngthu is a nicely maintained hotel and a restaurant with a view and delicious food.
What to wear in Champhai?
What to wear in Champhai in rainy season? During my visit to Champhai in July, the weather was very pleasant. The days sometimes used to get a little hot and humid but was still pleasant. The evenings and early morning in the rainy season in Champhai are always very pleasant and even breezy on days. I was able to manage in T shirts and shorts even during the peak of monsoon in Champhai. If you are visiting Champhai in rainy weather, do not forget to carry umbrellas, windcheaters and raincoats. However, it doesn’t rain too frequently in entire Mizoram. But when it rains, it is torrential.
What to wear in Champhai in winter. The winters in Champhai can get very cold. The nearby attractions such as Rih Dil lake can also get very cold. This is why, I advise that you must carry woollen clothes, down jackets and gloves etc when traveling to Champhai in winters. Summers and Spring or autumn in Champhai can be easily managed in T shirts and Jeans/Shorts etc.
What is the best Time to visit Champhai?
What is the climate in Champhai?
What is the best time to visit Champhai?
Which is the best month to visit Champhai?
These are some frequently asked questions on the weather of Champhai which I keep getting. Let me answer it here in detail.
Champhai in monsoon
From my own experience, I can vouch for the fact that Champhai tourist places look ethereal in the monsoon season. Champhai in rainy season is magical. The raindrops on the trees dropped on my visage poetically as I admired the rainbow formed on the Champhai skyline without blinking my eyes.
Since I visited Champhai in the 3rd week of July, it was the peak of monsoon here. While it didn’t rain much during my visit, while returning to Aizawl, it rained cats and dogs (which I loved!). “This is crazy. Even Mumbai can’t match up with these torrential rains.”, I joked with my co-traveller Priyanka.
A visit to Mizoram during the peak of monsoonrewarded me withthe views ofseveral clouds floating lyrically up in the sky. The raw beauty of the hills of Champhai in rains is to be seen to be believed. I found the temperatures to be moderate and climate pleasant in Champhai in rainy season. It did get a bit humid in the afternoons of July when I visited but the weather of Champhai is still enjoyable in the monsoon months. And since it doesn’t rain too much in the day, so I was able to visit all places of interests in Champhai without an obstacle.
Champhai in winter
Winter is also a good time to visit Champhai. I have travelled across many states of North East India in winters for 3 months at one go and I loved it. The charm of exploring Champhai in winters makes it a good time to visit here. The temperature of Champhai is pretty low in winters, especially during the night.
Flowering season in Champhai
In the month of October, every year, entire Champhai is carpeted with rows and rows of cosmos in Champhai. The cosmos flower is also known as the I love you flower. This makes October one of the best time to visit Champhai. This spectacle is not to be missed.
Soul Window Travel Tips on Champhai
By the way, here is a secret travel tip which Mapui told me. December is best month to see cherry blossom festival in Siaha. So, you can club your visit to Champhai with a visit to Siaha to see cherry blossoms. Why visit Japan? Not many know this, but I have seen cherry blossoms in many parts of North East India, including the offbeat and lesser explored places such as Tirap and Longding regions of Arunachal Pradesh. This is why, I love to travel and explore the world! Pleasebear in mind these tips when planning a vacation in Champhai.
What is the duration of visit in Champhai?
How many days to spend in Champhai? What can I do in 2 days in Champhai? These are some commonly asked questions. I had spent 4 days and 3 nights exploring the tourist destinations of Champhai. In this duration, without rushing, I was able to cover major tourist attractions of the Champhai region such as the main Churches, Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang in Dungtlang village, writer’s graveyard, nearby ruins, Champhai Winery, Champhai Vineyard and most importantly the historical Vangchhia village. What’s more? We even crossed over to Myanmar, had a delicious lunch there, visited market, bought Burmese souvenirs, explored terraced rice fields, and spent quality time in the tourist magnet Rih Dil lake.
What can I do in 1 day in Champhai? I don’t suggest spending just one day in Champhai because there are so many exciting places to see and things to do in the Champhai region of East Mizoram. However, if one day in Champhai is all that you have due to unavoidable circumstances, then I suggest that you start your day with a quick visit to Champhai winery and vineyards followed by a visit to Rih Dil lake in afternoon. On the way, you can visit local churches, terraced rice fields, and even enjoy local vegetarian dishes. I would advise you to do shopping in evening so that you have more time for sightseeing.
Gems like Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang and Vangchhia village can only be done in a day if you skip the above-mentioned sightseeing attractions. This is why, I say that you need at least 2 days and 3 nights in Champhai.
What is the local Transport for sightseeing in Champhai
It is easy to get around Champhai as local auto rickshaws, taxis and cabs are easily available. Private taxis are expensive in Mizoram when compared to other states of India. Auto rickshaws are easily available in the main market and other landmarks of Champhai for lesser prices. This will suit you if you are a budget traveller. Shared cabs to other nearby major attractions are also available from the main market of Champhai.
What currency is used in Champhai?
It is a frequently asked question because Champhai is located on the border of India and Myanmar. INR is used across Mizoram. In areas like Zokhawthar near the Rih Dil lake, Burmese currency called as Myanmar Kyat may also work in India and vice the versa.
Are there ATMs in Champhai?
Champhai is a pretty big town so some ATMs are available in the main city area. I observed that State Bank of India ATM and bank is ubiquitous across Mizoram. You may find ATMS of other banks as well. Howevere, do not expect any ATMs in far flung villages and even popular historical sites such as Vangchhia village.
Also, the chances are high that you enter an ATM in a remote village of Champhai and it refuses to function. Also, digital payment is not accepted at many shops, especially in the remote places. This is why, I advise that you must withdraw some cash from Aizawl (or your city of origin) which has many more ATMs and other facilities.
Is it safe to visit Champhai?
It is a commonly asked question. There are still so many misconceptions about traveling to North East India, mostly due to lack of awareness. I decided to change that with my blog. I laughed aloud when my friend asked me, “Is it safe to visit Mizoram and other parts of North East India?” I replied between laughs, “Yes, as safe as visiting Kanpur or Vadodara.”
So, is it safe to visit Champhai? Yes, most places in Mizoram are very safe to visit, including Champhai. The Mizos are a very peaceful community who I didn’t ever even see speaking loudly, let alone shout. Neither do honking ever happens across Mizoram. The locals also respect tourists and women who travel here from other states of India and other nations. All the major points of attractions of Champhai are reasonably busy places and thus safe.
How to reach Champhai?
How to get to Champhai? With great connectivity, whether it is via rail, road or air, Champhai can be easily reached from practically any other tourist attraction in Mizoram. It is fairly easy to arrive at Champhai. I was impressed to notice that Champhai is very well connected by road from Aizawl and other tourist places in Mizoram. The most popular mode of transportation to Champhai from Aizawl is shared cab or private taxi.
The route between the Aizawl city, the capital city of Mizoram and Champhai is well maintained. It is possible to find a public bus services and shared taxis like sumo services throughout the week. However, for comfort and hassle-free travels here, I highly recommend that you must book a private taxi or even better, an all-inclusive packaged tour. The drive from Aizawl to Champhai approximately takes around 8 hours. Champhai makes for a great weekend destination from Aizawl.
Which is the nearest airport to Champhai? The nearest airport from Champhai is located at Lengpui Airport in Aizawl district. I had arrived here from New Delhi and made the onward journey on a private cab arranged by Mapui.
The nearest railway station from Champhai is known as Bairabi Railway Station. It can be accessed via Aizawl-Seling-Champhai Road and NH6.
Road Trip to Champhai from Aizawl
Which is the nearest railway station to Champhai? Since there are no railways or airports in Champhai, the only way to reach here is through an exciting road trip from Aizawl or other tourist attraction of Mizoram. You can consider visiting Champhai from other tourist attraction of East Mizoram as most of them are located nearby.
If you love comfort, you can hire a cab or even a packaged tour which includes transport between Champhai and Aizawl or any other place of your choice. Mostly people make trips to Champhai via Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. Since we had a private car, we were able to stop at several unnamed sightseeing places during the trip.
How to find shared cabs between Aizawl and Champhai?
The road between Aizawl and Champhai is a popular route, which is why, it is also easy to find shared cabs from Aizawl to Champhai. Shared cabs are not as comfortable as private cabs though. Also, the shared cabs run mostly at early morning, around 5-6 a.m. Their frequency is also low. If you are traveling in a group of family or friends anyways, then it makes sense to hire a package tour with private car.
The disadvantage with shared cab is that you may miss stopping at some sightseeing attractions of Champhai on the way because the drivers do not stop everywhere. You can contact Mapui (contact shared above) for hassle-free trips across Champhai and Mizoram. For a memorable vacation in Mizoram, a packaged tour is the best.
What are the distances from Champhai to other tourist attractions?
You must keep in mind these distances when planning a long road trip across Champhai and Mizoram. Below are the distances from Champhai to other major tourist attractions of Mizoram located nearby. This distance chart can help you to plan a trip as per your taste.
Distance from Vangchhia to Champhaiis 36 kilometres via Khawbung Road and it takes around 2 hours.
Distance from Khawzawl to Champhaiis 41.7 kilometres via NH6 and it takes around 1 hour 30 minutes.
Distance from Chawngtlai to Champhaiis 45.3 kilometres via Champhai – North Vanlaiphai Road and it takes around 2 hours.
Distance from Saitual to Champhaiis 114 kilometres via NH6 and it takes around 4 hours.
Distance from Thenzawl to Champhaiis 184 kilometres via Champhai – North Vanlaiphai Road and it takes around 7 hours and 30 minutes.
Distance from Serchhip to Champhaiis 170 kilometres via Champhai – North Vanlaiphai Road and it takes around 7 hours and 15 minutes.
Distance from Lunglei to Champhaiis 255 kilometres via Champhai – North Vanlaiphai Road and NH2 it takes around 10 hours.
Distance from Aizawl to Champhaiis 180 kilometres via NH6 and it takes around 6 hours. However, it took me much longer to cover this distance between Aizawl to Champhai due to the 2-hours long traffic jams and the breaks. The traffic jam was mostly near the Aizawl city. The road ahead was clear and smooth. This is why we left very early in the morning.
Tourist Map of Champhai
Here is a touristmap which shows where exactly Champhai is located in East Mizoram. You can also see the other nearby attraction in this tourist map of Champhai. This tourist map of Mizoram also shows distances of several other places from Champhai. Please zoom to read.
3 nights and 4 days Itinerary for Champhai
This is the itinerary I followed in the Champhai region. I spent a total of 3 nights and 4 days in Champhai. You may want to spend more or less time here depending upon your priorities and budget.
Start early morning from Aizawl and reach Champhai by noon or evening. Day at leisure.
My Day 2 started with Champhai winery, followed by vineyard. Then we headed straight to Rih Dil Lake and returned back to Champhai Tourist Lodge.
Visit terraced rice fields, local churches, vineyards and Champhai winery all in one day. We arrived at the Champhai Winery at around 10 a.m. Post the visit to winery and vineyard we headed to Zokhawthar village and crossed the Indo Myanmar border by 2:30 p.m. on the same day. It was followed by a visit to the beautiful Rih Dil Lake in rains inside Myanmar sans Visa or passport.
On the day 3, we stated early morning and visited Vangchhia village, the first thing in the morning. It was followed by a visit to the Lianchhiari Lunglen Tlang, writers’ graveyard, Dungtlang village and ruins of stone city in Dungtlang old village. We also stopped at some picturesque churches along the way. Since these places are located very close to each other, we were able to visit these quickly and return back to Aizawl from Champhai on the same day. It took us lesser time to cover the distance between Aizawl and Champhai this time because there was no traffic jam.
We had delicious pan-fried noodles, thukpa and poori bhaji in Hotel Chawngthu, explored the main market, bought shoes, visited Champhai winery again (for something we wanted to know, you may skip second visit) and left for the gorgeous Tamdil Lake. En route, we made a quick stop for an ethereal sunset above Saitual. It looked magical from a distance. We had a delicious vegetarian dinner of bai, Hmarcha rawt (marcha), boiled squash and spicy potato curry at Saitual. We checked in at Tamdil late night.
How to reach Champhai from Aizawl?
How to get to Champhai from Aizawl? Here are the details of my road trip to Champhai from Aizawl. We started from Aizawl early morning, so that we reach Champhai as early as possible. After few minutes of our journey, we stopped at Zemabawk near Aizawl to buy some medicines and local packaged food such as the delicious rice cake. I also had a fun interaction here with the local women vegetable sellers. Next, we stopped at Seling which a milestone said is only 40 kilometers away from Aizawl. There is a big Church here apart from busy markets. The Church is known as Presbyterian Church of India in Seling, Kohran.
Next, we stopped at a charming road side Sakei Bangla. The place was run by a man, his daughters and several unemotional kittens. We had a lunch of Ghughni and poori here. Even if you don’t want to take lunch here, you must stop because Sakei Bangla has an interesting history. Home of a British officer from the colonial times once stood here behind the restaurant. We also had delicious pineapples here. In case you didn’t know, pineapples in North East India are juicier and fleshier.
Next, we stopped at the small town of Keifang. We also visited a vibrant village haat near Mizoram Rural bank in Keifang selling vegetables which I had never seen before. Do not miss this place. There are also many hotels and lodges here. Then we stopped at a road side dhaba, selling tea and bamboo shoots. It is located at a picturesque place located next to a bridge over the scenic Tuivawl River, surrounded by dense trees. A signboard nearby declared, “Welcome to Khawzawl District.” Just a little ahead, we also passed through a charming little village known as Kawlkulk. It is situated in the Khawzawl R.D. Block.
We started the journey to Champhai at around 10 a.m. from the big city Aizawl. Due to a 2 hours long traffic jam just outside of Aizawl, we arrived in Champhai at 8:30 p.m. Had the traffic jam not been there, we could have arrived by 6:30 p.m. in Champhai. Had we started at 5 or 6 a.m. from our cute Aizawl homestay, we would have arrived in Champhai even earlier. The roads between Aizawl and Champhai are mostly in excellent conditions.
Inner Line Pass or Inner Line Permit aka ILP for Mizoam
Inner Line Pass or Inner Line Permit for Mizoram is issued to non-Indigenous persons of Mizoram. In short, it is also known as ILP. As soon as I landed in the Lengpui airport in Aizawl, the Security Officer immediately called me out (may have identified me with my non mongoloid facial features) and asked me to fill the Inner Line Pass form. It was a simple form and didn’t need any photograph either (despite a section for it). The official requirement says 4 passport size photo and a photo ID is mandatory. Photo ID may include Department ID/Aadhar card/Driving License or Voter ID card. It took me only 15 minutes to complete the Inner Line Permit formality.
Inner Line Pass for Mizoram can also be received from the Liaison Officer, Government of Mizoram from the cities such as New Delhi, Silchar, Kolkata, Shillong and Guwahati.
Temporary inner line pass is issued for a total of 15 days at a time. However, he good news is that it can be renewed once for another 15 days. If you want to renew your temporary and Regular ILP, please visit the District Commissioner’s Office which is situated at the Treasury Square in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram.
Guide to Inner Line Permit of Mizoram for Foreigners
All foreigners whether they are from U.S.A., Italy, France, Netherlands, Australia or New Zealand, they must register themselves at the office of Superintendent of Police (CID/SB) Mizoram. This official is the designated Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of Mizoram. The foreign tourists must complete the inner line permit process within 24 hours of their arrival inside the territory of Mizoram.
Special condition has been laid out for some countries. Citizens of China, Afghanistan and Pakistan and foreign nationals having their origin in these countries must take a prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs before they step inside Mizoram.
Inner Line Permit Address
Lengpui Airport: Officer in charge, Anti Hijacking Security, Civil Aerodrome, Lengpui
Conclusion: Is Champhai worth visiting?
Why visit Champhai? Here are my final thoughts. The lush green mountains, rain-soaked landscapes, rainbows, rich avifauna, biodiversity, great weather, history, pristine villages, precious ruins of lost civilizations, unusual food, diverse local culture, gorgeous rice terraces, exciting Indo-Burma border, unknown winery and vineyards are reasons enough to pay a visit to Champhai and other nearby tourist places of East Mizoram.
In a nutshell, Champhai is one of the best places to see in Mizoram due to its sheer natural beauty. I particularly enjoyed my visit to the living history museum of Vangchhia, a village in Mizoram’s Champhai district bordering Myanmar. The untouched beauty of Champhai is prominent reason why it is a great destination for a perfect summer getaway. I have covered all places to see in this complete guide to Champhai.
To summarize, a trip to Champhai will not only refresh you but will also give you a deep insight into the local Mizo culture and traditions. Here is the bottom-line. Thanks to its intriguing landscape, historic sites and modern-day development, Champhai remains one of the top places to visit in Mizoram in North East India. The beautifully preserved ruins, menhirs and other prominent historical landmarks of Mizoram with a tempering of legends and folklores are reasons enough to consider Champhai for your next vacation. Since Champhai is already a popular weekend getaway from Aizawl, it is easy to reach here.
This is the biggest ever blog on Champhai. I have written about the main attractions of the Champhai region here so that you can find all the information under one roof. If you enjoyed reading this mega blog on Champhai, please do share this with your friends and family and pin it to save for a later reference.
The view from my Soul Window is unexplored!
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