Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mizoram Trek-YHAI

My first trek to North India/North East India was decided based on the holidays which I can take. After discussion with manager and family, I finalized the dates on November 1 to 8 which fall on Diwali weekend. Also one more CTCian Priyanka was there in the trek which made me bit comfortable. After buying lot of winter clothes I was eagerly waiting for the day to start.
Finally the day came and Priyanka dropped from trek. Now this is the turn to start alone, similar to my first trek with CTC. Yeah I could remember my first trek with CTC was about to happen with my colleague Sathish. But he had an accident on the way and he dropped out. I synched with another Bangalorean Sudanshu and met him at airport. He was nice and hungry at the airport. We were reluctant to buy anything as everything was costly. The flight delay added to it more. Finally Sudanshu got a sandwich and ate. We reached Kolkota around 11:30 PM and were left at the lounge since the dormitory wasnt available.

Joyma Kolkatta

We decided to go to Dakshineswar temple in morning. So we were beginning to wander the 100 m lounge several times. The lounge was a bit cold and I tried to get sleep in the bench but couldnt. We were waiting for 4:30 to get out of the airport to have a view of Kolkotta city and the temple. We hired a cab for Rs100 from airport to temple and we reached the gate around 5 AM. The city hasnt woke up and we went inside the temple. We were required to dump our luggages and after a bit hesitation we deposited them to a shop where they pushed us to buy pooja items for Rs 150. The pooja items consisted of a coconut, few hibiscus flowers, incense sticks and a small flat ones red in color as prashad. We went inside the main complex and waited in a queue which was growing as time went.
Meanwhile my heart wanted to see the river and my body followed. The river was flowing beside the temple complex and reddish in color. It looked to me that river was flowing to full from one side of bank to other. Wanted to take bath but there were no change clothes and dropped the idea. There were several people taking bath in the river and coming directly to the temple. There were some people singing Bhajans. We were waiting for 6 AM to get gates opened. The queue was growing longer and longer. Finally the gate opened and few people were taking short cuts to have darshan and went off. We were allowed after the first Pooja was over and the bhajan people completed their bhajans. The early morning bhajan and the words "joyma joyma" still rings in my heart. We were required to catch flight at 9:15 AM and was bit hurried. Finally we got dharshan by 6:45 and saw other shrines in the complex. The other shrines were 10 lingas where people are allowed to touch and do Poojas. This custom is not there in South India. Visiting a temple early morning with lot of things like bhajan, dedicated people, the smell of incense sticks and the flowers is a thing to experience.
We took our luggages and had few photos in front of the temple. We took bus to airport which costed Rs14. We then finished the checkin and security. The security guy was a mallu and asked me whether I have seen Rajini's latest movie Endiran. I said no and keep on wondering about movies to watch, which I'mnt doing. We were trying to get some details about Mizoram from flight passengers and waiting to board the flight. I asked for a window seat to take some photos from air. But after boarding the flight I was surprised to see that only less than 30 persons were travelling and a small flight. My batteries died off once I got into the flight and couldnt take any photos. I could see the long runnig rivers and the winding roads. After we (Me and Sudanshu) got down from flight we were waiting for a YHAI to pick us from airport. But we couldnt find none and we took a taxi to YHAI for Rs700, which we found was very costly.

The airport was small and beautiful and people were found to be already in very relaxed mood. On the road to hostel, I found the terrain and the weather much similar to western ghats. The houses were small and mostly made of bamboo. People reside mostly near to roads and it was a nicely built road by Border Road Organization(BRO). The whole mizoram have lot of maruti 800 and no wonder Aizawl is called as city of Maruti. People dont speak english and speak Mizo which borrowed its written script from English.

We were welcomed by YHAI Mizoram state secretary Mr Sailo and the President. We were the first to report and they were giving suggestions around Mizoram to view. We had 3 days to spend before we start trekking. They were suggesting to go to Ridhil lake. This lake is supposedly sacred for ancient Mizos, where they believed all souls will reach this lake after death on their journey after death. Also this lake is in Myanmar and we can cross the border without a Passport.It is about 225 KM from Aizawl. YHAI booked everything for our journey and Mr Sailo was very helpful.
We were required to take a bus to Champai by 5 PM.

The buses , bus stand and people were small but with the whole bus had lot of luggages like lorry. By 5 PM the sunset and it was pitch dark by 6 PM. The sunrises very early around 5:30 AM and sets very early around 5 PM which is much different from south India. People are so polite and religious. Since we had a long day and less food we were sleep most of the time. The bus was very slow and the roads were very bad which I was comparing them to the jeep trails in south India to these main roads. We had a stop at a small town. We were trying to get some vegetarian food but none. We suppressed our hunger with bananas and biscuits. On the whole journey, I was expecting mizo songs played in the bus. But the front door was closed and only the driver and people in the front cabin could hear them. The beat in the songs were good. Mizo people smoke very much and a pungent smell which comes out of smoke is unbearable.

Champai and Ridhil Lake

Ah what a long first day. We reached Champai town at 5 AM and it was bright sun. We were welcomed by Professor who is a friend of YHAI president. He was very nice and explaining about Mizo, Champai and in general. He booked us hotel and the cab to Ridhil. Champai is a small town famous for its largest rice field in Mizoram. The view from our hotel room was excellent. We had a view of the rice fields and the Myanmar mountains. The river is the border between India and Myanmar. He took us to his home and his wife served us hot tea. Their youngest son joined us to Ridhil lake. The professor felt sorry not to join us as he needs to attend church twice since it was sunday. Yeah Sunday the whole mizoram is on holiday. You dont get any shops opened, no buses and not even petrol pumps. It is a day for the people to relax, pray and spend with family

Everyone had difficulty in understanding English. We reached the border and the permissions were taken care by Professor and we didnt had much trouble in crossing the border. We had few vada like food in Myanmar and hot coffee. We went to visit the Professor's relative who lives in the Myanmar side. Then we went to Ridhil lake. The lake was surrounded by mountains and very calm. The whole of Mizoram had the same calmness and nice feel good thing. I jumped inside the lake and had a good swim. We took few photos and a small booze. The driver bought alcohol in Myanmar as it is banned in Mizoram.
We reached back to Champai around 12 and were very hungry. We ordered rice and dhaal and waited for it. We had a nice lunch and slept till professor came back to take for a Champai trip. He took to few high places where we can get a clear view of Champai. He took us to his college where he works and introduced to a Oriyan, Maths professor. The Maths professsor is working for more than 15 years in Mizoram and was delighted to find a Oriyan person after a long time.
Later the Professor dropped us back to the hotel and assured of sending us the next day Monday through TATA Sumo cab as it is bit faster than buses. We tried to find something interesting in Champai on sunday but all closed. We found only one restaurant and had nice coffee. We met our Maths Professor and he took us to his home and we spoke about IT and our work. His wife and children were in Orissa and he is working in Mizoram. After returning,We had dinner and slept early.

Back To Aizawl
The next day started with TATA SUMO journey. The driver was warned of no smoking by our Professor and he obeyed it. The driver was praying before we started our journey to Aizawl. People here are so religious and God fearing. The journey was bit crampy but not bad. We had breakfast at a restaurant on the way. The food dishes were smelling with a burnt rice smell. This smell is not because of burnt rice but because of a vegetable which looks like tomato in shape but have a very pungent smell. We were finding difficult to eat with leafy boiled vegetables. Mizoram is not a place for veggies. Anyone who wants to have reduce weight can try a mizoram trip.
On the way our driver was driving fast and playing good mizo and english songs. Their culture is much embedded with music, fashion, religion and family. The driver hit another sumo and was required to remove the broken part and tie it back to sumo. Neither he or the other driver quaralled and they settled very easily. They didnt even settled the loss in money which cannot be found in south India.


vadi said...

I can remember my Himalayan trek [near Kullu]which is conducted by YHAI. Hope you had very nice time and my wishes for your future trek :-)

ஜோதிஜி said...

தமிழில் எழுதலாமே?

Balaji M said...

nice trip :-) have more enjoyable trips...

Senthil Kuppusamy said...

Thanks Vadivel and Balaji.

Dear Jothiji, started writing blog after 4 long years. Will be writing blogs in Tamil. Till that time please bear with this.