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: Concluding stage of the journey to Calcutta
medium: diaries
person: AnnandaleNikrihu
date: 9.12.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Sat. Dec. 9.
text: Arrived at Laksam (junction for Chittagong) at 2.10 a.m. Changed to a cleaner - or less dirty - compartment, and left at 2.35 a.m. Arrived at Chandpur at 3.50 a.m. Transfered to the river steamer on the Brahmaputra. Not a bad vessel, of good size. I had a cabin & had a much-needed wash and shave, but I did not turn in as the scenery, sunrise and native river-craft were all picturesque & interesting. The boat started at 4.50 a.m. Very few English on board. The meals were good & cheap (early breakfast, second breakfast and tiffin with beer came to only 4.5 rupees). I saw myriads of duck (Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall, Brahminy Duck, Spot-bills etc.) many cranes, sandpipers in flocks and a few Terns. Fresh-water Dolphins (both Platanista and Orcella) were very abundant. It was quite cool on the water. The steamer stopped a few times; either running her nose into a sandbank & putting out a gang-plank, or else going alongside large floating landing-stages. The Brahmaputra is several miles wide here & very shallow, with constantly shifting sand-banks. The water is opaque from heavy silt. The native craft were interesting. Some were very high out of the water at bow & stern (both sharp-pointed). Others were large sailing vessels with square sail & topsail, & platforms built out from the sides, piled high with pottery vessels. Others, again, had barge-like hulls and a whole series of outrigger-floats on each side. The whole surrounding country is flat, alluvial plain. We arrived at Goalundo (a place which shifts about according to the state of the river; it may be 20 miles further up at times) at 12.45 p.m., local time. There was a rush of coolies on board, which led to some being pushed off the gang-plank into the river. We were lying simply against a mud-bank. Huge numbers of Kites flew overhead. Passengers were transfered to a train, which started at 1.55 p.m. Country quite flat. Birds were very numerous - Bee-eaters (Meros viridis); large, pale-blue Kingfishers; small Kingfishers (Alcede ispida); Padi egrets (Ardcola Grayi); Little Egrets (Garzetta); Drongos (Dicrurus ater); Indian Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle varia); Mynahs (Acridotheres tristis); vultures, Kites, Brahminy Kites, Shikra (Astur badius); Indian Shag (Ph. fuscicollis); large plovers (?Spur-winged); various doves; large grey-brown Eagles with pale-grey head & black-tipped white tail; Grey Terns (Sterna seena); Rollers (Coracias indica); Weaver-birds (nests); Shrikes (with chestnut back & black head) Marsh Harriers, ?Greenshanks, etc. etc. We arrived at Porodaha station (junction for Darjiling line) at 4.5 p.m.; and at Sealdah Station (Calcutta) at 7.10 p.m. Annandale met me with a chuprassi. We taxied to the Indian Museum where Annandale occupied a palatial flat; Nikrihu & the 'bearer' brought the luggage along in a cart. Burns and two geologists, Tipper & Coulson, were also guests of Annandale.
text: [The fare from Dimapur to Calcutta was 1st class, 93 rupees, 3rd class. 14.14.0 for each servant - total, 122R,12as].