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Julie Kagti

Rain washed, tin roof churches of North East India

My last post on the Aka tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, India got me musing on the fact that a lot of tribes and ethnic people across India especially in the north eastern states  of Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam have embraced Christianity as their religion. Originally these people were adivasis or hill folks who never practiced Hinduism but different animistic rituals.

The Christian missionaries arrived at various Indian ports and started making their way into the interiors , finally arriving around 1861 – 1867 to the eastern part of the country. They  started educational institutions, hospitals and welfare centers for the needy. This aided in the conversion of the locals and  probably accounts for the westernized aesthetics of the north east in fashion, music choice etc.

As I sat staring out into the rain from our balcony, still musing, I thought about  rain falling  in Shillong and the sound of it on the tin roofs . Images of old churches came to my mind, most of these buildings are designed on the lines of European style over a century old, constructed using wood , straw and plaster. Tin sheets or thatch was used for roofing. Visually  they tell a very nostalgic tale, almost ethereal about the bygone eras.

Others more rustic in style and younger in age but never the less equally charming found in some far flung villages of the region.

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