Saiha is a town completely on the slope unlike most towns in Mizoram. It is a dawn to dusk ride from Aizawl. At a distance of 378km from Aizawl it is perhaps the longest route traveled daily within Mizoram. It is a district capital as well as the headquarter of the Mara Autonomous District Council.
I spent a week at Saiha at my cousin’s. When I woke up in the morning, this is what I saw.
My cousin sister lives Saiha with her family. Her husband U Ropuia who is from Tuipang teaches at the Government High School. They have been inviting me year after year. It was a wish come true for both of us. They have been calling me to visit them and I wanted to explore the state.
I noticed Auto Rickshaws are the main mode of transport within town for those without their own.
But I don’t remember using one because I either walked or used U Ropuia’s motorcycle.
I went everywhere, took about every turn and every road. I rode a long way beyond uptown. Even longer way downtown through a tiny settlement called Thingsen via an extremely steep and tiny road- strictly first and second gear downhill! Just for the record the above picture is far off town, but from this trip to Tuipang.
In between the motorbike rides I spent a complete half a day walking around, clicking as I walked.
This church by the playground is the biggest church in Saiha. It’s an ECM (Evangelical Church Of Maraland) church.
A signpost in Mara
There’s only one filling station in town which is great because there are only a handful of towns in Mizoram with a filling station.
A sign welcomes you to a locality named “College Vaih”. Usually this would be College Veng elsewhere in Mizoram.
While in Saiha I encountered a traffic jam only once at the Colony market area.
The sumo fare from Aizawl to Saiha is 700 rupees which I believe would be the most expensive Sumo ride within Mizoram. Saiha is well connected by Sumo Maxicab with Lawngtlai, Lunglei, Aizawl, Tuipang and other nearby villages.
If you are so time bound, there’s a faster way. The helicopter. Tickets can be booked from the District Commissioner’s office in each district.
Unfortunately there seem to be a gun culture brewing among the kids in Saiha.
Just the day before I arrived my nephew had his toy gun broken into pieces by his dad. Though these are toys, they can inflict serious injuries if they hit vital body parts like the eye.
Anyway, they are kids and hopefully they will be careful.
Houses in Saiha
Tourists can stay at the Government Tourist Lodge on the way to the helipad. There are private lodges too. I saw two at Vety Kawn in New Saiha and another two in downtown Colony market.
Here’s one from Vety Kawn.
I have to admit, not the most attractive hotel but for the right minded traveler any place is better no place.
When talking about Saiha, you can’t leave out Zero Point. It’s from there the road to further south of Mizoram departs.
Saiha is another 27km from this point. A stretch that can fit as much as two to three villages going by the distance between most settlements in Mizoram.
For most travelers, there is hardly anything to do in Saiha itself but it’s a logistically important base in the South. It could serve as the base for Phawngpui, the highest peak in Mizoram and Palak Lake near Tongkolong, further south of Saiha.
I made two trips to the helipad which is a good view point. To end this post, here is a photo of sunset from the helipad.