The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : 'Konyak Nagas' by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, (1969)

caption: Chapter Four. Religious Beliefs and Practices
caption: variant among Wanchus, capturing the soul, the soul's journey
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Wanchu
location: Niaunyu (Niaunu)
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York93:3
text: Among the Wanchus of Niaunu I found a variation of this belief regarding the soul and the ability of a shaman to follow it into the land of the dead. Here, the success of a shaman's attemps to recapture a soul and lead it back to earth depended on whether he was able to reach the soul before it had crossed a certain bridge. On this bridge, souls were confronted by the guardians of the land of the dead, whom Wanchus called Tsailopa and Tsailonu and imagined as being in the shape of an old man and an old woman. The food and drink provided by the kinsmen of the deceased at the funeral were intended as gifts to these guardians of the nether world. Tsailopa and Tsailonu asked the dead who they were and where they came from. After crossing the bridge the dead arrived at a fork in the road, and those who had died an unnatural death or who had committed many crimes had to take the left path, which was difficult and troublesome, whereas all other souls took the right path. Eventually, both paths converged and led to the nether world, where all the departed lived together.