The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.H. Hutton's tour diary in the Naga Hills

caption: Visit to an old shrine at Deopani
medium: tours
person: Purna Chandra Kuar/ of Bokajan
location: Naojan Deopani
date: 18.6.1922
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 15.6.1922-7.7.1922
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 18th
text: To Naojan by rail thence afoot to Deopani, some 9 miles, to see the ruined shrine and the great pillar like those at Dimapur which Colonel L.W. Shakespear in his "History of Upper Assam etc" reported to exist there. I found rather a mare's nest only - a very typical Hindu goddess in stone greater than life size, and one or two smaller images of the same sort formed the "horse's eggs" in it. One of the images had an inscription on its side in Assamese, which I was unable to read, and there were some broken bricks lying about showing that there had once been a building, but nothing whatever like Dimapur: there was also a rectangular stone water stoup. The local inhabitants swore that there was nothing else of any sort in stone or brick anywhere near, and some Mikirs whom I met and who spoke of the image as Yong-Kali, also said they knew of nothing else. Probably Col. Shakespear was misled. It is possible that the Assamese inscription would prove interesting and it would be worth deciphering. Had I had any proper materials I could have taken a rubbing, but, I am sorry I spent the day in going there, as I had hoped to find another of the Dimapur Pillars, which so far are probably unique, not only in India but in the world, and if I had found another I should have been justified I think (at any rate as Director of Ethnography) in an expedition outside my own district. The stone figure is in what is now heavy jungle so it must be of quite decent antiquity. The spot is marked on the new Survey maps as a "Shrine". I took photographs both of the carvings and the inscription and the stoup. The principle image is much damaged, and I was told that an elephant catcher did it by lighting a fire on it because he could get no elephants in that place. He also caused his elephant to break some of the smaller images, and both he and the elephant very naturally died within the year. I do not know enough about the matter to be able to say whether these images are really worth preservation from an archaeological point of view.
text: On my way back to Naojan I met the elephants which S.I. Purna Chandra Kuar of Bokajan sent for me. It was very welcome as another complete 9 miles on foot in the plains in Juen would have been more exercise than I needed. I could have ridden had I been able to unbox my pony, but there was no siding for a horsebox at Naojan Station and even if I had made her jump out, I could not have got her back again. They did not tell me there was no siding when I booked my pony to Naojan. There ought by the way to be a boat kept at Naojan I.B. to get from the Railway Station to the Inspection Bungalow. Without swimming one has to go two if not three miles out of one's way, to find a house which has a private dug-out. I suggest that the Forest Officer or the Subdivisional Officer of Golaghat should have a dug-out made and kept in charge of the Inspection Bungalow Chaukidar, only as he is deaf it might not always be easy to get him down to the ferry.