MENHIRS AND CAVES AT VANGCHHIA


CHAMPHAI, MIZORAM
VANGCHHIA (Lat 23°12’06’’N; Long 93°20’50’’E)
Airport: Lengpui; Railway Station: Silchar; Bus station: Aizawl

Vangchhia is situated in the North eastern part of Mizoram. It is 259 kms away from Aizawl state capital, the nearest district he adquarteris Champhai which is 65km away. The site is thickly vegetated whichs preads over 145.14 acres of land. Atpresent there are about 207 menhirs of different shapes and sizes, and originally it is believed that there were about 500 menhirserectedin this site but most of them vanished due to anthropogenic activities such as vandalis mand quarrying.The semen hirsare fully carved and embossed with different forms. Vangchhia is the name of the Hmar sub-tribe of Mizoram. It is said that the Vangchhia clan inhabited the area long way back, and the village was named after the clan. Similar cases as would be the villages of Khawbung, Khawzawl, Biate, Vangchhia etc.

Two uncertainty with the erection of menhirsare– who and when. The carvings on the menhirs of Vangchhia contain prominent human figures, rows of smaller human figures, fish, birds, heads of mithun, deer, monkey and other animals. The carvings of gongs, pot, smoking pipe, weapons likes hield, spear, dao and other designs also can be seen in the menhirs of Vangchhia which is also common in all the menhirs found in other part of Mizoram. The figures on the stones were carved in low relief. Among the human figures, the prominent human figure is shown with he address which is known as Chhawn in the local termandholdinga weapon (spear). According to traditional practice, this chhawnis worn only by those persons who have killed enemies in the war. This figure is depicted with other human figures in smaller sizes, animals, deerand heads of mithun. It shows that he had killed them during his life time which was counted as achievement. Sometimes the human figure sare shown without wearing headdress. As per local beliefs, the semen hirsare built as the memorial stones in which warrior shave been portrayed along with animals and other human figures suggestively killed by that he rowarrior.

Besides these, there is a rock cut shelter with five nos. of openings on the top of the hill, over looking the Myanmar border. At present it is heavily we at hered and very unstable. According to local tradition the shelter was used as a bunker or watch tower. The rock shelter is devoid of any depiction both in and out. Apart from this, there is a hillock near the menhir site which is marked with different shapes and sizes with varying depth which might have been used for ritual purpose, for water harvesting or to attract animals and birds for hunting purposes. The handmade potsherds bearing cord impressions or basket mark on the exterior surface have also been collected. The fabric ranges from medium to thick fabric and presence of quartz – grits in the clay exhibits the rough texture. A smoking pipe or chillum applied with red slipis also found from the site.

There are some other structural remains in Vangchhia which might be related to the people who erected the menhirs as memorial stones.The searest one paved pathways leading to the Tiau River found in Lianpui, Vangchhiaand Farkawn village. These path ways are locally known as Pipute Lamlian/Piputekawng. These path ways might have been used for fishing, hunting, agricultural activities and other subsistence activities along the river courses of Tiau river by the people of the by gone ages. A part from the pathway, there are many structure built of random rubble masonry and mud plaster can be found in and around the area.

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