The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Megalithic erections and legends concerning them; detailed description of a megalithic bridge
medium: tours
person: Rynjah/ MrVisar
ethnicgroup: SyntengKhasiAngamiKacha NagaKonyak
location: Jarain Khimmosniang Lakema Nartiang Khonoma Maput Thluumwi
date: 20.10.1925
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 7.10.1925-29.10.1925
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 20th October
text: To Jarain, 12 miles. Mr. Rynjah came with me as far as Khimmosniang "the pass of the stone pig (or pig-stone)" where the path goes between two hillocks on the inside of one of which is a stone the top of which has been cut away so as to give some semblance of a quadruped to its core. The carving might equally well be the upper part of an elephant, but is known as U Mosniang. Close to it cutting the path at right angles is an old earthwork surrounding at least seven hillocks and enclosing an area from a quarter to half a mile square. A little further on is a burial cist backed by a menhir and enclosed within a wall and then the path winds over open hills dotted right and left with menhirs and cromlechs reminding me somewhat of the hills of Co.Donegal. A little square tank about 20' x 20' was passed, having a disaclith along side it, and the association between this symbol and water was seen again at the river where I saw one opposite an old ford now given up for a bridge. After climbing up the other side and crossing the ridge, I passed another circular cairn about 20 paces in diameter, with a menhir forming part of the circle, a broken dolmen in front of it and an extra heap of stones on the side opposite the menhir; in the middle a depression. I imagine it to have been a burial place, to the North of it the hill was scarped either naturally or artificially, and I thought I saw traces of what might have been the remains of an embankment.
text: Later on, when passing a very big menhir which was most obviously set up with the small end downward, Visar remarked that the Khasis and Syntengs seemed frequently to do this, whereas the Angami regards it as genna, and always puts the big end of the stone in the earth. I remarked that at any rate the Kacha Nagas followed the Khasi plan, and instanced a specially big and prominent stone at Lakema, on which Visar reported, yes, and because that stone was put in upside down, the whole clan of the erector is now extinct. All the same I think I have seen some of the older Angami stones and certainly others of the Kacha Naga ones erected with the bulbous end upwards, and the Konyaks ordinarily put them in that way deliberately, selecting suitable stones for that purpose. Many Khasi and Synteng stones on the other hand have the thick end down and go to a point at the top, as at Nartiang Bazar.
text: Visar also mentioned that it is very necessary to select a "good" stone and not a "bad" one. The old men apparently can say which is which. Anyhow a man of Khonoma who neglected their advice and pulled one of his own fancy had no luck with it. The usual three watchers took their modhu and watched by the stone till midnight, and then went home, but in the morning the stone was flat, presaging death to the puller or at least to one of his family. His wife died shortly after.
text: At the 9th mile, near Maput village, we came to a fine megalithic bridge made of old by the Jaintia princes. It is called Thluumwi which I understand refers to the fact that there are three stone spans, but as a matter of fact there are six, spanning 96 feet from end to end, though three are larger than the others, or rather were, for one, alas, is broken and fallen into the bed of the stream, its place being taken by a modern span of wood and corrugated iron. The story is that a man took an elephant over and cracked the stone which afterwards broke and fell. At the same time the remaining part of the stone bridge looks strong enough to take any number of elephants at once and the lost span was obviously in keeping. Of the six spans, the first is a block measuring 16'x6'x1'8", the second 17'4"x5'11"x1'; the third is 20'10"x6'8"x1'4". On this slab were two shallow incisions of the shape of spear-heads, more or less, one at each side at the near end: mason's marks conceivably. I can't think what else they would be. The fourth is the missing span, of which half lies in the river bed and half leans against the pier on which it originally rested. It spanned a space of 17 feet. The fifth is 15'1"x6'9"x1'5" and the sixth 8'x6'x1'3". The stones are rectangular and well and neatly squared and trimmed. There are five piers, the first built of two great blocks of stone and trimmed to a wedge-shape at each end, the second of three such blocks, the third and fourth of two each, and the fifth pier consists of a single block of stone standing on its edge. Altogether an impressive structure. The path, too, is apparently another relic of the Jaintia Raj. It is covered with roughly dressed "crazy" flag stones, squared off at the edges, and very neat where ever the way is steep, and therefore likely to be slippery when wet and worn, or liable to be muddy. The paving is mostly about 3 feet wide, but here and there is 6 feet and more. And this method of road making is apparently still practised.
text: At Jarain is a biggish tank made by damming up the head of a small valley, and behind it a knoll slightly terraced where the Jaintia Raja had a fort or some sort of building.