Unakoti

A mountain, and on the sides of it carved out stone images, a spring descending in the channel, a place of archeological wonder Unakoti in Tripura is unparalleled. Quietly nestled in the lush greenery of hills, verdant valleys and transparent waterscape, Unakoti serves as the land of myths and attracts tourists from all countries across the globe. Situated in the land of Shiva- Tripura, Unakoti is home to both stone images and rock carved sculptures. One wonders who these people were and at what spell of time did they chisel out such wonderful idols from the rocks.

Stone carvings :

This destination of natural beauty is considered to be built nearly 1100 to 1300 (in 7th to 9th century) years back,  dating from now. One can find beautiful images of Hindu divinities like God Shiva, Ganesha and many others on the hill side, which surely needs a special mention. The central Shiva head and gigantic Ganesha figures are the rock cut carvings that throw light upon the skills of the sculptors back then. The formation of Unakoti has always been coupled with two dominant myths.

Myths about Unakoti :

Down the annals of history the formation and glory of Unakoti have acted as powerful inducements to tourists or people keen to travel to unknown lands. There are several myths bounding the formation of these carved out stone images. Many people believe that Lord Shiva, along with a crore other gods and goddesses marched down their way to Kashi (modern day Varanasi) but a result to fatigue, they decided to take a night halt at Unakoti. Lord Shiva strictly informed everyone that they should all wake by the time of dawn so that they can again process with their journey ahead. But the next morning Shiva saw everyone was asleep and nobody paid heed to what he had asked them to do the previous night. In anger, he cursed all of them to never wake up again and that their bodies turn into stones. So according to this myth, what we see today at Unakoti are the bodies-turned-stones of one less than a crore gods and goddesses, which also serves as the reason for giving Unakoti its name, which literally means, “one less than a crore!”

According to another myth, there was once a sculptor and potter named Kallu Kumhar who wanted to accompany Lord Shiva and Parvati on their abode to Kailash Parvat. He was a true devotee of Parvati (lord Shiva’s wife) and on her persuasion to lord Shiva, he agreed but only on one condition that Kallu would sculpt a crore (10 million) images of him before dawn. With the passing of time, Kallu put all his soul into completing the task given to him, but fell short of a crore sculptures of Lord Shiva. Making this an excuse, Lord Shiva along with Parvati started their journey to Kailash Parvat leaving Kallu Kumhar behind.  

Ashokastami Festival :

Every year, the month of March-April sees a fleet of thousands of pilgrims making their way to Unakoti to take a holy dip in the waters of Astami Kunda and offer their prayers to all the gods and goddesses that have been sculpted there. The devotees take a dip in the sacred waters as they believe that taking a dip here will wash away all their sins and purify their soul.  It is held each and every year with magnificence and extravaganza.

Unrecorded in the history, a mystery surrounds Unakoti and that definitely fascinates visitors.




Champhai

Often regarded as the ‘Fruit Bowl of Mizoram’, Champhai is on the go-to list of every individual who visits this lovely north-eastern state of India. Nested along the Indo-Myanmar border, this district is quite active when it comes to trade with its neighboring nation. As far as history is concerned, legend says that the history of Mizo begins and ends with Champhai. In fact, the hamlets scattered across the town are dotted with monuments and monoliths. Each one of them depicts something or the other – success in war, valorous hunting or even personal milestones. And quite like Mizoram’s vibrancy, Champhai not just boast of its tribal traditions, orchids and butterflies, but also of rows and rows of vineyards. Adding beauty to the place are a chain of green hills encircling the vast expanses of rice fields and the famous Rihdil Lake, located on the other side of the Myanmar border.

In the 90s, Champhai became home to the Murlen National Park. The interesting bit about this park is that it is often compared to the forests in the Amazon. With only a miniscule amount of sunlight being able to penetrate the forest on a sunny day, the thickness of the forest in the park rakes up parallels with similar South American regions. Often called the ‘land of no-return’, it is home to a rich variety of exotic flora and fauna.

Thenzawl

Not very far from the capital city of Mizoram, Thenzawl was known for its dense forests till it got inhabited, almost very recently in 1961. Amidst the tales of wild animals and jungle living, thrives a never-seen-before, traditional Mizo handloom industry. This industry produces rich and colorful handlooms, year after year and in the process, showcases some fine indigenous weaving techniques of the Mizos. Thenzawl is also known for its famous, Vantawng Waterfall, closely followed by its deer park.

Aizawl

The hustling bustling capital of Mizoram never ceases to amaze – be it with its sheer size, architecture or a very distinct and heterogeneous population. This city, in fact, was born out of the misconduct of Khalkom, a Mizo chief, which forced the British to establish an outpost that later became Aizawl village. The misfortunate beginning aside, it is home to some of the more important government centres of Mizoram as well as nature’s finest – the Durtlang Hills & Hmuifang, a mountain covered with virgin forests and preserved since forever.

There is a lot to do for the everyday traveler making a visit to Aizawl. There is the Bara Bazaar, which is thronged by people in their lovely traditional dresses and is the hubbub of all market activity with its wide variety of garments on display. Wishing to catch up on Mizo history and culture? Look no further than the Mizoram State Museum located at the centre of the city. And it doesn’t end there as this 140 something year old city offers a lot more with breathtaking caves, decorated temples and a village that houses the world’s largest family.

Reiek

Surrounded by thick lush trees and bushes, the Reiek Hill stands high above Mizoram, overlooking the other popular destinations. If one’s lucky, apart from the breathtaking view of the surrounding valley and hills – a visit to Reiek might just give a glimpse of the magnificent plains of Bangladesh. What more, there exists this chance to go visit the one of its kind, traditional Mizo village that Reiek has to offer, with tiny traditional huts peppered around the place for different people – one can’t help but feel transported back into time.

The talking point each year is the Anthurium Festival. With an idea to promote Anthurium flower and the typically rich Mizo culture, this festival is a hit amongst tourists of all kinds. On display are the rich, rhythmic dances of Mizoram and a fun variety of games, not forgetting the popular fashion shows of course. Another fascinating aspect of this tourist spot is its wildlife. As after all, it is home to a wide variety of exotic birds, including the rare Peregrine falcon which one might see perched on a lofty ledge or swooping on cliff swallows. So, take out the cameras, take out the trekking gear – Reiek is the next best place to be!

Mon

“All in all we had a great trip. The guide in Nagaland, Jimmy, is outstanding. He really made the trip an extraordinary one for us.” – Mary Connors, USA

Mon, the home of Konyaks, is situated at an altitude of 897 Mts. above sea level. It is interesting to see the tattooed faces wearing feathered headgear and traditional dresses. Konyaks are adept artisans and skilled craftsmen. One can find excellent wood carvings, daos (matches), guns, gun powder, head brushes, headgear, necklaces etc. made by these artisans and craftsmen. It is an exciting experience to visit an Angh’s house. Hereditary chiefs known as Anghs rule the Konyaks and the institution of Anghship is prevalent only among the Konyaks.

Ungma

Ungma is the oldest and biggest Ao village. According to the legend, the early Aos settled after coming from Chungliyimti. This village is many centuries old and can be of great interest to people who have a desire to peep into Ao folklores, customs & traditions. The village has an old log-drum. One can visit a local Naga house and take pictures of people in their traditional dress and jewelry.

Mokokchung

Mokokchung is situated at an altitude of 1325m above sea level. This picturesque town is the cultural centre of the Ao Nagas. The main festivals of the Aos are “Moatsu” and “Tsungremmong” clebrated during the first week of May and August respectively. The white water river of Milak and Tzula are of scenic interest and have a lot of potential for monsoon angling.

Ziro

Ziro is known as much for the beauty of the region as much for the people who stay there. The Apatanis belong to the Tibeto-Mongoloid stock and are well-built, fair in complexion and medium to tall in structure. The Apatani society is patriarchal. They are agriculturists and practice permanent cultivation. Most of the Apatanis are loyal followers of the Donyi Polo faith, who pray to an array of spirits and souls for blessing. Abo-Teni, the primal man, analogous to Adam in the Christian faith, is considered to be the sole ancestor of all Apatani and other Animist tribes in the surrounding regions.

The uniqueness of the Apatani tribe is tatooing on the women’s face and their nose plug. Apatani, like other tribes also believe in sun and the moon as god and have traditional altar in there home made up of Bamboo and Cane.





Murshidabad

This historical place is situated on the bank of the Bagirathi river 221 km north from Kolkata. Once Murshidabad was the capital of the Nawab of Bengal during the reign of Siraj-ud-daula. The historic battle between Nawab Siraj-ud-daula and Lord Clive was fought at Plassey near Mursidabad where the Nawab was vanquished.