The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Twenty-six. Tribesmen Of Tirap
caption: composition of the land of the dead
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Wanchu
location: Niaunyu (Niaunu)
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1962
text: The composition of the society of the dead is similar to that of Wanchu society on earth. There are thieves, liars and adulterers in Lumpu just as there are such people in the land of the living, and they are not gathered in special places set aside for the wicked, but mix with the other departed. The route to the land of the dead leads across a bridge and on this stand Tsailopa and Tsailonu, an old childless couple, who act as guardians of the underworld. At the time of a funeral the deceased are given food and drink by their surviving kinsmen, and these offerings they pass on to Tsailopa and Tsailonu, who ask their names and where they came from. Tsailopa is believed to keep an account of all the people who cross the bridge. On the far side of the bridge the path forks, and the Wanchus believe that those who died an unnatural death have to go by the left road while others take the right fork. The left road is the more difficult one, but in the end all the departed reach the same place.