The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts from 'Account of the valley of Munnipore and of the Hill Tribes' by Major W. McCulloch

caption: houses; thatching
medium: articles
ethnicgroup: Koupooee
person: McCulloch/ Major W.
date: 1858
refnum: from: Selections from the Records of the Government of India, No. 27 (Calcutta) 1859
text: The houses of the Koupooees are well adapted to the climate. In the more flourishing villages they are large and substantially built. They are gable ended, have the ridge pole not in a horizontal position, but sloping from the front to the rear where it is in comparison with the front very low, and the thatched roof on either side reaches the ground. The posts and beams are often of great size, and of such excellent quality, that for thirty or forty years, the only repairs required are to the thatch, and their thatching is so good that the roof scarcely needs repair for ten or twelve years. Excellent thatching grass is found usually in the vicinity of the villages; having cut it, they divest it carefully of every weed and inferior blade, after which they tie up in little bundles with strips of a bamboo which is long between its joints, pliable and tough, so tightly that a blade cannot be extracted from the bundle. The method of tying is very simple, and consists in passing the ligature first through the middle of the grass at the head of the bundle, and then one turn round it, bringing the end up and passing it in between the surrounding turn and the grass; by a slight twist a loop is formed at the end into which a short stick is thrust, with which as a lever the bundle itself being the fulcrum it is tied. These little bundles are tied, each separately, to the bamboos of the roof running parallel to the ridge pole, and thus is formed a thatch impervious to wet and which resists effectually for years the winds of these high altitudes.