The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - H.H. Godwin-Austen, Journal of a Tour in Assam, 26th November 1872 to 15th April 1873

caption: surveying on Japvo
medium: tours
person: TereluChandrabir
location: Japvo Mt.
date: 4.1.1873
person: Godwin-Austen/ H.H.
date: 26.11.1872-4.4.1873
person: Royal Geographical Society, London
text: 4 Jany.
text: Started away abt 9 o/c for Japvo. Tried to get off by 7.30 but failed owing to kit & others having nothing packed ready. At first the guide Terelu with some 15 Nagas (he said there were 20) led us up the bottom of the valley over rice cultivation in terraces, then crossing the stream that comes down from Japvo a short but sharp ascent brought us upon a level terrace on the side of the valley & some [blank] feet above the river terminating abruptly in a slope of 45 degrees all composed of sub-angular rocks thrown together & to my eye extremely like the sheets of glacier action. The ridge of Japvo being 9000 & the peak just under 10,000 it is not at all improbable that glaciers once filled the valley. On the N & E we followed the plateau until it narrowed into the valley when we descended slightly into the bed of the ravine & followed it to the foot of the first main spur. Passed 3 deep pitfalls (quite 12 ft) for deer into which one of the Khasi coolies fell from walking too near the rotten edge & luckily escaping with a bruised arm & side. At 11.30 we reached the last water & there I had bkfast of cold fowl, biscuit & water. Every thing behind. A very steady ascent brought us (after the half hour for food) to the top of the main ridge at 1 o/c. There the slope was easier for 2 hrs & a quarter until we began to rise in earnest & soon I saw that it wd be quite out of the question getting everything up, so left man behind to stop coolies & prepare encampment. The last one and three-quarter hours was regular hands & knees work & but for the roots of the rhododendron & other trees it wd be hardly possible to get up & I must say I was very done by the time we stood on an open rock overlooking the SE side of the peak. Looked about for highest point but cd not find it. Nothing to be seen. Japvo was in bright sunshine with a clear blue sky above, all below hidden in fog with a level surface out of which the peak alone stood as an island. It was a curious view looking down on this sea of fog. The Nagas preferred to remain at the top when they heard they would get 4/- each for another day & we lighted a fire & left the Plane Table and Stand in their charge & descended to camp in abt 20 min. Not very cold during night but it is in rather an exposed situation right on the ridge. Only brought up a tarpaulin & under this I spread my bed. Measured up birds got during the day among them a very nice thrush which I hope is new. Chandrabir brought in a good sp of Picus majoroides.