The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript tour diary of W.G. Archer, S.D.O. Mokokchung 1947

caption: visit to Khensa, Chungtia and Aliba
caption: khel gates at Khensa
medium: tours
keywords: Lungma gennaPukulalung gennaLyabamung gennaYimkalun genna
ethnicgroup: Ao
location: Khensa
date: 11.2.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: At Khensa found that each Khel has a gate still firmly standing in a small shed. Each is rather wider than Angami gates but like the latter is hewn from a single huge tree. I noticed that on one side the gate is extended downwards like a huge hinge. The first gate has a single tiger spread-eagled over its right side
text: I was told that each gate was made in October or November and that its making was not a part of any festival. Two older men of the Khel act as the first striker and these must observe genna for 30 days. The rest of the Khel assist in the hewing but is not exposed to any restrictions. When all is ready the whole Khel drags it to its site, and the first striker then offers an egg and a fowl and says 'Halt all our enemies. Stand firm, let no one enter in'. After that, a shed like a lych gate is repaired every year in August but the gate is not worshipped or given any offering. I was told that in times past the gate was ceremonially closed at each of the following gennas - Lungma, Pukulalung, Lyabamung and Yimkalun. No one might leave the village on those days neither could any stranger enter. This practice has since been given up and not the gate remains permanently open. Similarly although is was formerly a capital offence for a stranger to strike the door with a spear, no notice is taken now a days. The gate never seems to have been of any significance for head taking and a warrior returning with a head used to go straight through and place his trophy in the morung.