Heading south from Assam into Mizoram, “land of the highlanders”, a winding mountain road takes you into forests and bamboo-covered hills. Mizoram is a gentle pastoral land, and the Mizos are a welcoming people who see very little tourism. Whitewashed churches dot the landscape, giving it more of the feel of a Central American country than a state squashed between Burma and Bangladesh.

The Mizos, who migrated from the Chin Hills of Burma, were regularly raiding tea plantations in the Assam Valley right into the late nineteenth century; only in 1924 did the British finally manage to bring about some semblance of control. They opened up what were then the Lushai Hills to missionaries who converted much of the state to Christianity. Aizawl, the capital, is a large sprawling city built on impossibly steep slopes. In the heart of the state, traditional Mizo communities occupy the crests of a series of ridges, each village dominated by its chief’s house and zawlbuk, or bachelors’ dormitory. An egalitarian people, without gender or class distinctions, the Mizos remain proud of their age-old custom of Tlawmgaihna, a code of ethics that governs hospitality. They enjoy a 95 percent literacy rate and are culturally more influenced by the Christian West than by mainstream India; music is an important part of Mizo life and an integral part of the Mizo Christian service. You may need a permit to enter.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
13 tips for backpacking India

13 tips for backpacking India

Whether you’re hurtling along in a rickshaw, eating fantastic curries, kicking back on the backwaters or hiking in the mountains, backpacking India will alwa…

15 Aug 2017 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month