PhawngPui Tlang - Blue Mountain National Park

Once a upon a time there lived a King of the  ghosts called Sangau close to  Phawngpui Tlang (Blue Mountain). Across a few hills, in Cheriang lived another king. The King of Ghosts  had a worthy son and the King of Cherian a lovely daughter and they were soon married to each other. The marriage witnessed the exchange of some splendid gifts and the most prided among them were - the gift of a Pine Tree from the bride's home  and a pair of Hollock Gibbons from the King of Ghosts to the forests of Cherian.The area where the lone pine stood is called Farpak (single Pine) and today it has multiplied to a plenty while the Hollocks that roam the forests of Cheriang are the original gift of Sangau - they sadly did not breed. Thats one of the stories associated with the highest peak in Mizoram- Blue Mountain.

Today , Blue Mountain is a National Park , Sangau  a 1000 household strong village close to it, Cheriang is the name of a hill in Burma.

The story provided for a fascinating beginning to this long awaited visit to Blue Mountain. Finally, we were at the Sangau tourist lodge , splendidly located on a hilltop towards one end of the massive Sangau. Cheural right behind and the hills of Burma ahead. The lodge offers an almost clear unobstructed view of the hills around. The place is magical on clear nights , with a generous display of stars at night  and the mornings sureal with a bed of clouds stretching between the hills. Nimesh is often tempted to attempt a walk through these!

Happy with the Sangau experience I didn't dwell much on what  Phawngpui would bring with it. At 2100mts it is double the height of Saiha and the wind was already freezing the marrow in my bones! The bounty that Blue Mountain revealed itself to be was not something I had anticipated.

Sample this- A Grassland , Cliffs and a densely wooded forest with a zealous bamboo, rhododendron and orchid sprinkling. All this when we didn't even get to the peak!  

We were generously accompanied to Farpak by the DFO and his team. We drove down to Thaltlang from Sangau and further some distance  into the National Park and walked from there on to Farpak, around it and back.

On our return , we were with the president of the Blue Mountain Guides Association. Quite the expert hunter in his earlier days , he gave up following an injury and joined the forest departments initiatives towards conservation and tourism. He assisted many a researcher on their studies here and seemed to enjoy speaking of his experiences and we were a keen audience.

Walking through Farpak my timid heart skipped a beat when a noisy Bamboo Partridge took of on a panic flight about 3 feet from where we were. And uniquely , while tossing my head around to catch sight of the avian plentitude , i realized that the birds here were a lot less weary of our presence. In most other forests I walked with Nimesh and colleagues , the birds would take to a panic filled flight at the slightest indication of our presence. Were we so inclined we probably could have brought back some decent images of them too. But the designated photographer for the trip (yours truly) kept busy in reminding herself to close her gaping jaw , to even think of attempting this feat. Talk of Gorals, Serrows and the many pheasants was interesting , but we were out at the wrong time in the day to be able to see them.We spent some leisurely hours walking and watching the birds that were around. Infact ,we were leisurely enough to get our companion worried about getting back to Thaltlang in time to get a ride back to Sangau. All the worry of getting back on time was worth it as we watched a Chestnut Bellied Rock Thrush respond to another one (we couldn't see this) from its perch! Also worth mention was a swooping flight of a Black Eagle. We could identify  close to 17 different kinds of birds and had we some more time , there would have been many more.We spent the latter part of our downhill walk in a scrambling frenzy to get to Thaltlang before sunset. 

During our drive back from Thaltlang , the headlights of our pick up revealed a Grey Night Jar sitting on the road! That was the first time i'd seen one a perfect closure to the visit.  

The forest rest house at  Farpak is currently closed , but plans for building a new one along with developing home-stay facilities at Thaltlang are underway. That would definitely help in making the most of a trip to Phawngpui. When its done , hopefully we'll come back for a visit and this time get to the alluring peak itself.

P.S - The highlight of my trip was when we were looking at the valley below from a viewpoint and someone exclaimed- hornbills - did you see them?  I instinctively looked up (!!) and on realizing my folly trained my gaze to the valley- two wreathed hornbills ,  pale white spots, gliding across the valley  . An aerial view of Hornbills- thats something I'll remember for years to come!
For more details wait for Nimesh to update his blog 


  1. I feel like I'm reading a travel mag about some exotic location! When did you learn to identify birds Rosh?! I thought bird watching was an interesting pastime men indulge in... :P :).. Heh.. ;)

  2. Hey Roshni, I have just returned from a trip to Phawngpui. Pu Chhanuka the guide told me the same take about Farpak. Thankfully you already have it in English. I think I am going to quote you over and over again.

    I have written a guide today