The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Architecture and megalithic erections at Nartiang; the popularity of markets
medium: tours
ethnicgroup: AngamiKacha NagaAoSyntengKhasi
location: Jowai Maibong Dimapur Nartiang Jaintia Hills Mokokchung Wokha Kohima
date: 18.10.1925
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 7.10.1925-29.10.1925
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 18th October
text: To Nartiang Bazar and back to Jowai 26 miles. Easy walking most of it, in open country, but it took me from 9.0 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. About half way I passed the top of a knoll which had an unusual horse-shoe shaped cairn on its top and was terraced on one side. Further on I passed a square tank with a disolith by the side of it and others not far off.
text: Nartiang struck me as an attractive site just above a considerable river. Both the place and the people seemed less sophisticated than elsewhere and the site was obviously very ancient as the street is worn away to a depth of some 30 feet between the houses which are approached by flights of stone steps. The houses were mostly of the hog-back type that one sees for instance in the monolithic temple at Maibong in the North Cachar Hills, only the fall of the porches towards the front is much more marked. The new houses with roofs of kerosine tin or corrugated iron sheets preserve, most of them, the old hog-backed type sometimes with the addition of a smoke-vent at the top of the ridge (protected of course), which is also to be seen in one or two of the thatched houses. The compounds looked very clean and the mud steps of the houses were everywhere beautifully "leeped", being reminiscent somehow of Manipur. Of the old palace only the front well and covered gateway is left and the wall fast falling down. Quite recently a large section has fallen over on to a cromlech in front of it, but the roofed gateway with steps up to it is intact. This gateway roof is also hog-backed. The bricks used are small and flat like those at Dimapur. Outside the wall is a square raised plot and on it again a square stone sitting place suggestive of the Angami base. In the village I noticed a small, rough, square cairn of the same sort of type but very degenerate, and quite recent, in front of a house. They told me it was put up by the owner "as a puja", so there are apparently a few of the Ancients left even in this hyper-evangelized tract.
text: From Nartiang to Nartiang Bazar is about a mile through what is now jungle but was probably once an inhabited town. There are several tanks about, one of them very large, and traces of a rampart or embankment of some sort. A stream crossing the path is bridged by a single monolithic span 26 and a half feet long, and at the bazar itself there is another small tank with a dissolith beside it. As in the Kacha Naga country, where dissoliths are likewise popular, there seems to be a pretty close association of stone erecting with water. The bazar itself is a wonderful collection of menhirs and cromlechs. The biggest menhir still standing measured 26 feet from the ground level to the top, 6'6" in breadth and 2'8" in thickness, and had an enormous flat stone in the form of a cromlech at its base, but the whole clearing, which is surrounded by big trees, is a mass of smaller menhir and cromlechs and in amongst them, though a mile from the nearest dwelling place, are rows of little huts constituting the local market, no doubt a survival from the time when the town filled much of the space between the market place and the palace. It is interesting to note that one of the traditions of the Dimapur stones is that they occupy the site of an ancient market place, for Nartiang Bazar undoubtedly reminds one of Dimapur Rajbari. One of the striking points about the Jaintia hills is the excessive fondness of the people, particularly the women, for markets. The smallest villages have market places and those of Nartiang and Jowai large out of proportion to their population. This is a trait shared by the Manipuri but quite foreign to the Naga, except the Ao, who make a great thing of the Mokokchung weekly market, whereas repeated attempts to foster a similar institution at Kohima and Wokha have failed utterly and completely.
text: I noticed the Synteng women wearing the cloth gaiters likewise associated with the Ao and I think with the women of some Yunnan tribes. The Khasi women seem to have substituted for gaiters a footless stocking of knitted wool.