::EXCLUSIVE:: Haoshim – the traditional house of the Tangkhul

By FrontierManipur | Published On 18th May, 2021, 08:46 GMT+0530

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A Haoshim

Over time, the Haoshim have been replaced with modernised structures and people no longer live in such houses. It has become very rare to find such structures standing today.

By Tennoson Pheiray 

The traditional house of Tangkhul tribe consists of Amei Kharar Shimsak (eldest of the clan), Achuileng Shimsak (the second brother) Acheimei Shimsak  (the younger sons) and Icham-Chamlak Kahai Shimsak (simple house for common man). 

The significance of Amei Kharar Shimsak consist of lengchengkui, phungva and shimrak. Originally there are five big pillars in the front with the biggest in the middle. The main pillar or the middle pillar is known as Phungva or Shimkhok. The two pillar on both side of the middle is known as Shimrak. 

Images of roosters, sun, cobweb, etc are crafted on the lengchengkui (the bargeboard structure of the house). The pillars are beautifully carved with images of the head of buffaloes, paw print of tigers, head of hornbills etc. All these beautiful designs and motifs are created using basic traditional tools such as Hao Ngaha (axe) and Hao Khai (dao). 

The first room on entering Haoshim is known as Yangkup or Khamrei Khamong. This is where all the domesticated animals are kept. The space is also used as a workshed like pounding of rice. Desiccated heads of animals are also kept in this room as trophies. 

The second room is known as Meiphung. This is room for cooking, family gathering and receiving visitors. The hearth is generally in the middle of the room. Few feet above the hearth, there is Phungshar, Chanpong and Kachui Changpong. Phungshar is the lowest shelf for drying meat. Chanpong is the middle shelf for drying paddy and Kachui Changpong is the top shelf, where basket, yoke, rope etc are kept for drying. 

The third room is known as Shangkat. Clothes, valuable items and food such as khor, rice are kept here. The room is also used for sleeping. A small tunnel for escape known as Shanglat is attached to this room. 

Over time, the Haoshim have been replaced with modernised structures and people no longer live in such houses. It has become very rare to find such structures standing today. So when we find such a house preserved in its entirety, we cannot ignore their importance. 

Replicas of Haoshim without the actual partitions can be found in different places. This could be for aesthetic or decorative purposes. However, a Haoshim of three rooms consisting of yangkup, meiphung and shangkat  can be found in Chingjaroi Khullen. 

Chingjaroi Khullen is situated about 85 kilometres from Ukhrul Headquarters. As per 2011 census, Chingjaroi Khullen village has a population of 1825.

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