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: Precarious bridge across the Tuzu; flora and fauna near river; camping under canvas
medium: diaries
person: Hutton/ J.H.Nikrihu
location: Phek (Phekrokejima) Meluri (Melomi) Laruri (Kerami) Tizu R. (Tuzu R.)
date: 11.10.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Wed. Oct. 11
text: We had to leave the horses at PHEKROKEJIMA, as the rivers were in spate & it would be impossible to take horses over the native cane suspension bridges. We started on a trek to MELOMI & KERAMI, away to the eastward. We walked 9 miles down to the Tuzu R., starting at 8.40 a.m. Most of the way was through jungle, with few clearings. Huluk Gibbons were heard down by the river, which we reached at 11.20 a.m. We had to cross the river (120-130 feet across), which was in heavy spate, by a native suspension bridge, formed as a V-shaped cradle with a 5 to 6 inch foot-board, suspended by long rattans tied to trees on the opposite banks. The cradle was made of canes & bamboos in loose open-work. As one walked over the whole bridge jumped & swayed violently, & the rushing stream below gave the impression of the bridge flying sideways upstream. With a second person on the bridge at the same time fresh & conflicting oscillations were set up. The foot-board was very insecurely fastened & slippery to boot & also parts of it were missing. One soon gets used to it, however, though the natives cross very gingerly, even with their advantage of bare feet; & Nikrihu didn't like it at all & was very nervous. When we were all across camp was pitched at once on the left bank. Our two tents were quickly erected. Mine was about 7ft square & the same high at the centre, with a "bath-room" at the back 2ft square; double-fly tent with camp-bed, table & chair. Some of our Nagas were good swimmers & bathed & swam across the river. Hutton tried fishing for mahseer but without success the water being thick with silt. We disturbed two small otters on the opposite bank (probably the Clawless Otter, Amblonyx cinerea), & they took to the water. Flies, sandflies etc in myriads & very trying. I took photos of the bridge & crossed it to photo the camp from the other bank, where I found some green orchids very like our Frog Orchis, but with much longer petals. Hundreds of swifts (all black but with white showing somewhere towards the tail) hawked swiftly along the river or soared very high. A Racket-tailed Drongo (Dissemurus paradiceus)