The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - 'Diary of a Tour in the Naga Hills, 1922-1923' by Henry Balfour

caption: Departure from Imphal and return journey to Kohima; Maram menhirs; Kegwema village doors
medium: diaries
person: Gimson/ MrHutton/ J.H.Hutton/ Mrs
ethnicgroup: SemaAngami
location: Imphal Kohima Maram Mao Kigwema (Kegwema)
date: 2.10.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Mon. Oct. 2nd
text: I went down early to the tank in the Residency grounds to see the white herons, which flock there in considerable numbers & perch in scores upon some trees on a small island. After breakfast we said goodbye to our more than kind host, Gimson, and at 9.45 a.m. the Huttons & I started in a Ford car on the return journey to Kohima. One of Hutton's Sema youths hung on outside the car. I was very sorry to leave Imphal, which is a fascinating place.
text: It was fairly fine until we reached the hills. Passing over the plain I saw Bee-eaters, Rollers, Drongos, Shrikes with red backs, stone chats (?) [sic], pied Kingfishers, a few vultures & a grey kite (?) [sic] etc. Egrets & Paddy-birds were common. As soon as we reached the hills it started raining & continued heavily most of the morning and afternoon. I got very wet. We reached Maram at noon (54 miles) & eat our lunch on the verandah of the I.B.. Hutton & I inspected the huge upright stones, which stand in a rough alignment. There are 21 of these menhirs, some 11 or 12 feet high or possibly higher & immensely massive. We nearly caught a green snake in the grass. We left Maram at 1 p.m., & when approaching Mao we came up with a large hunting party of Mao Nagas (Angami), all armed with spears, two each for the most part. They had been unsuccessfully hunting a leopard or a tiger (bagh) & were returning to Mao. We reached MAO at about 3 p.m. The road had been very bad, the result of heavy rain-wash; many rocks had fallen onto the road & the 'corduroy' sections were in a deplorable state. At one point we were held up for a long while by two steam-rollers which blocked the road, as one was out of action & the other, in trying to pass, had got badly bogged. At last the latter was extricated & we were able to pass on. A fresh land-slide at another point all but stopped us, but there was just room to squeeze past. We were all but over the edge through skidding at a turn in a particularly bad patch of road. There was a good sheer fall if we had gone overboard. We did not stop at MAO as the rain was very heavy & there was dense cloud-mist. We pulled up at KEGWEMA, as I wanted to see a very fine village door, massive & elaborately carved & painted; erected 2 years ago. The old door, also a fine one, was lying alongside. When nearing KOHIMA a large buzzard rose from the road just in front of the car, and I saw a land crab crossing the road. These land-crabs abound in the panikhets & are quite good to eat. The rice in the panikhets was fast ripening. We reached KOHIMA at about 5.20 p.m. I was drenched & my bedding, though in a 'waterproof' sack, as well as pyjamas etc. was fairly drenched too. Could not dry the bedding properly so I had to turn in wet. It rained most of the night, after clearing a bit during the evening.