The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Journey to Nagaland', by Mildred Archer. An account of six months spent in the Naga Hills in 1947

caption: visit to Chungtia
caption: walk to Mokokchung
caption: houses and house carvings
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Ao
location: Chungtia
date: 12.7.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Like many Ao villages Chungtia is built on a steep hillside and, although the front doors are on a level with the ground, the houses are raised on bamboo stilts with verandahs jutting out at the back high above the ground. The houses (7) themselves with steeply sloping roofs are made mainly of bamboo and palm leaf thatch, but the house of a rich man who has given Feasts of Merit has a wooden post in the front carved with hornbills, breasts, heads, tigers and bulls' horns. The floors are made of strongly woven bamboo slats. Inside the front door is a small ante-room, containing a boat-shaped paddy husker. The large main room adjoins it and in the centre is the fireplace, made of beaten earth laid on the bamboo slats. As one might guess, fires are extremely common in Ao villages and some are burnt down year after year. Bamboo cups, gourds, baskets and implements are strung up over the hearth, and the smoke coats them all with a black gloss as it finds its way out through the roof and doors.