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: Train journey to Delhi; birdlife and animals seen
medium: diaries
date: 19.12.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Tues. Dec. 19.
text: Got up at 4.25 a.m., & left at 5 for the station in a 'box carriage', a primitive and uncomfortable conveyance. The train (5.45 a.m.) started just before 6 & reached Moghal Sarai Junction at 6.30 a.m., just about sunrise. [458 miles from Howrah]. I had to take this early train, as the Dehra Dun mail had been running late & had not been making good connection with the Punjab Mail. I had a long wait for the latter, which arrived at 9.10 a.m. and left at 9.42. I shared a compartment with a fat babu, who made meals in the compartment, mostly evil-smelling curry, & who wore - or, rather took off - horrible elastic-sided boots, exposing grimy-woollen socks. He was not interesting. He gave me very little information, also a very progressive flea, and was quite evil. The country was quite flat & drying up. At first many palms, later mangoes & other trees. Arrived at Mirzapur 10.14 a.m.; Allahabad, where Jumna is crossed, at 11.51 a.m.; Fatehpur at 14.26; Cawnpore, 15.46; Etawah 18.18; Tundla 20.18; and Delhi (903 miles from Howra) at 0.34 a.m. During the journey the birds were interesting. Among them were Goliath Herons, White-necked Black Storks, a Stork (?) with pink on a whitish body, Padi-birds (but no white egrets), Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Snipe, Sarys Cranes, Common Heron, Plovers with brown back & black & white markings, Moorhens, a large Gallinule, Water-rails, Black-necked Ibis, Grey River-Terns, White Vultures with black primaries, brown vultures with grey heads, Shikra Goshawks, Govinda Kites, Brahminy Kites, Common Green Bee-eaters with bronze wings, Rollers, Mynahs (3 kinds), Drongos, Red-backed Shrikes, Grey Shrikes, Hoopoes, Weaver-birds, Centopus-like cuckoos with copper-red back & wings & metallic-black head & neck, long black tail. At dusk Little Owls were numerous on the telegraph wires. I also saw some long-tailed green parrots with pale breasts, and a small Hornbill, a hare, a small mongoose & many macaques. The villages, mostly of sun-dried & in a very dilapidated state.