Dimasa- One of the vibrant tribe in Northeast India by Satarupa Deb.



                Dimasa kachari is an ethnolinguistic group inhabitng Assam and Nagaland. They speak a very beautiful tibeto-burman language known as Grao-dima. 


    Now let us come to dimasa kingdom, one of the many early states in Assam following the downfall of kamarupa kingdom was established by Dimasa people.A History of Kachari Kingdom is nothing but the History of Dimasa Kachari Kingdom. Kachari being one of the indigenous tribe of India's North-East, their history is quite old. In the Mahabharata and other ancient Hindu scriptures there are mention about the foothill dwellers of the Great Himalayas called ‘Kiratas’. The term Kirata stands for Mongoloid racial communities, but some historian believed that it indicates Kachari.


The earliest Kachari settlements were in the foothills of the Himalayas.From there they moved to the Brahmaputra valley with their Capital at Khamru>Kamruli or Khamruba>Kamrupa (Khamruba means start first to establish the place). Sir Edward Gait in his History of Assam,1906 is of the opinion that the Kachari were the aborigines or earliest inhabitants of the Brahmaputra valley.After hundreds of years of rule in the Brahmaputra valley,a bulk of this race due to socio-political turmoil,were believed to have migrated south of the Brahmaputra and settled in the areas of the present Sadiya of


Assam after crossing the mighty river by planning of cane bridge, probably the Brahmaputra. This section is now known as 'Dimasa' etymologically 'the children of the great river' (Di = water, ma = big, sa = children) .


Facing Ahom aggression, they further migrated toward south, on to the Dongsiri>Dhansiri valley and established their capital at Dimapur presently in the state of Nagaland after a short stint at Kachomari pathar about forty kilometers from Dimapur. It was here that the Dimasa Kachari undertook an arduous task of state building and flourished for several hundred years till 1536 when they shifted their capital to Maibang at the present day district of Dima Hasao District (Old name "North Cachar Hills") of Assam. Historical relics of Dimasa Kachari royaldome still exist in and around Dimapur, particularly in the Dimapur fort called Kachari Rajbari in spite of the constant ravages of human encroachment, show that the Kachari at that period had attained a state of the result of bricks making. Among the large tanks Podum Pukhuri, Bangle Pukhuri, Bamun Pukhuri, Raj Pukhuri, Jor Pukhuri and others still survive to this day. It is said in one folklore that during the fight with Ahom, The Dimasa Kachari King had dumped gold and other precious metals in some of these tanks and believed to have told his subject that long after he left, a day would come when a male Mithun would come from the hills and dig up this gold by its horn, which would weigh mound (about 240 kg) and that would be the time when Dimasa Kachari rise again and prosper.


The Dimapur reign of the seven hundred years (i.e. 835 A.D to 1854 A.D.) extended along the southern bank of the Brahmaputra, from the Dikhow river in the east to Kalang in the west and Dhansiri valley. Historian are not in the position to tell the exact date of establishment of the Dimasa Kachari capital of Dimapur. They presumed that the capital of Dimapur was established in the 10th century. Dimapur was said to be flourishing at its full heights. For, it must have taken at least seven hundred years for the King to build his state.


The glorious Rule of the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom at Dimapur capital from intime memorial from the epic age, but it began with the advent of the Ahoms in the upper Brahmaputra by the close of the fifteenth century. The expansionist behavior of the Ahom lead to constant hostilities between the two. Thus in the year 1490 the major battle was in which the Ahoms were completely routed and their Chief Chuhenpha was humiliated and forced to sue for peace. However peace did not last for long as the Ahoms intruded into the


Dimasa Kachari territory and set up a fort at Morangi ( in Golaghat) and thus the battle ensued in 1526 AD and the Ahoms were again totally defeated and pushed back beyond the Dikhow river, which became the natural boundary between the two principalities for some years. Meanwhile, when the Ahoms kept on consolidating their army, the Dimasa Kachari, emboldened by previous successes, became complacent and neglected the security affairs of their country. Taking advantage of this, the Ahoms forgot their numerous humiliating defeat in the past and again broke their peace treaty with the Dimasa Kachari and set up a fort at Morangi and thus another battle ensued and the Dimasa Kachari were finally defeated due to superior number of army. A Dimasa Kachari folk tale says that the Ahom army rode on cows during this battle, which shocked the Kachari army, since killing cows would be a defilement. The Dimasa Kacharis of that period, considered cows ‘gushu’ (impure). Only later, after they embraced Brahmanical Hinduism, did they believe cows sacred. After defeating the Kacharis monarch Khunkradao Raja, the Ahoms installed Dehtsung, the kings brother, as Dimapur King on condition of allegiance to the Ahoms ruler. However, within a few years the Dimasa Kachari king revolted and refused to pay tribute to the Ahom ruler and thus another battle became inevitable and in 1536 another fierce battle was fought. The Dimasa Kachari King was defeated. The survivors of the ruling clan along with loyal subjects thereafter shifted their capital to Maibang.


From Dimapur, the royal family of Kachari in their last lag of migration moved to Khaspur of Kachar district of Assam. The Dimasa Kachari Kingdom finally annexed by the British East India company along with Assam following Yandabu Treaty.


Brief of Khaspur kingdom-


The Dimasas formed one of the early states in Assam. They established their initial capital in Dimapur , now in Nagaland. Their initial skirmishes with the Ahom kingdom in the 15the century resulted in wins, but in the 16th century they faced a series of defeats and had to retreat to Maibong. There, the Dimasa king and the elite came under Hindu influences; and finally in the 18th century , the king and followers settled in Khaspur following a martial alliance with the erstwhile ruler of the region. These movements of the capital followed the movement of the Dimasa elite , with the common Dimasa folks remaining in place . At khaspur the Dimasa king and his family convertyed to Hinduism , but hid tribesman continued to follow the old tribal customs. Raja Govind Chandra Hansu was the last king of Dimasa Kingdom.



Mostly are hindus. It is believed to be spritual i.e spirit in a soul. They believe that they are the children of Bangla raja and the great divine bird 'Aarikhidima'. The six sons namely- Sibrai,Doo Raja,Naikhu Raja ,Waa Raja,Gunyung Brai Yung, Hamyadao born to Bangla Raja and Arikhidima are their ancestors and the Diamasa consider them to be their ancestral gods. Thay are aclled Madai in Dimasa. The evil spirits born out of the 7th egg of Arikhidima are responsible for the the diseases , sufferings and natural calamities. Many Dimasa consider themselves to be Hindus altough they have their traditional gads and goddesses . Among the 6 ancestral gods, Sibrai being the eldest , is the most importanat and during worship his name is to be uttered and during worship his name first. Sibrai is equated with Hindu siva and Ranachandi with parbati or kali. The Dimasa also believe that Matenga , Hirimdi and Kamakhya are other names of Ranachandi.



In Dimasa, teh village system is called Nohlai and whole village with is population is called Raji. The traditional viallage headman is known as Khunang. and he is assisted by another official called the Dilik .


 Many stone monoliths are lying scattered at Kachomari pathar on the Daiyana river in Golaghat district Assam , bears the the triumphant victory in the battles many times by dimasa king from the 13th century . The remains of the palatial buildings , the traditional capital gateway and the decorative art of architecture , geometric and floral ornamentation found in these relics are marvelous. The sculptural design of animals and birds on the pillars at Diampur by Raja Makaradwaj Thousen in the 10th century show clearly the state of cultural development of the Diamasa Kachari. Many erected ramparts , temples were not seen at capital complex of dimapur dur to the destruction of Ahom period in 1536. Stones house was erecteds at Maibang by Raja Harish chandra Hasnusa in The 16th century. Stone inscription was installed at capital gate of Maibang by Raja Meghanarayan Hasnusa and statue of Horse is a worthable. Numerous temples of Garhere vitor , Khaspur and Singhadowar of Khaspur both palaces of queen Indraprava Devi were erected by Dimaraja in the 18th century bear the culture of that time.



Bushu Jidap-


entrance gate used in bushu jidap in front of their village



Celebrated after the completion of harvest . Phansgla, the traditional gate erected at the village entrance for festival. This festival accompanied by the rythm of Kharam (drums), in the month of january when Jhum are completed . 27th jan is considered as the BUSHU festival day. Bushu is an ocassion for relaxation from hard toils. Festivals are divided into 3 days- 1st day- BUSHU JIDAP is celebrated under the guidance of leadership of the khunaung or the village headman. or the gaonbora . the 1st day is called mistaiba meaning slaughtering day of animals for feast. then a feast is held in ' Khalaima khamba ' i.e the the house of headman. 

2nd day- BUSHUMA - on this day ., children pay respect and adoration to the elders. they are given blessings from their seniors and elderly person known as BUSHU GABA.

3rd day- Young boys and girls pay a house to house visit by singing and dancing in the courtyard of the selected well -to-do family of villages. On behalf of the village , the priest(ZONTHAI) of the village perform Garba on the main road of the village by sacrificing a fowl to the diety of the village for ommissions and commission during the festivals. This is called Lamphungba, and by sacrificing theb ritual means the end of the festivals.

Surem Baino-

It is generally celebrated for five days. Surem baino unlike bushu is celebrated under the guidance of gajaibao not of the khunang. When a village is supposed to observe the surem baino, they would have to elect the Gajaibo or leader or gaurdian and festival is held in the courtyard of gaijaibo's compound.



Hangseu Mana-

 It isone of the greatest celebration and joyous festival celebrated by a large village where there are large number of Hangseu or youth. It is a strange festival as it is celebrated for 7 days or 7 nights without stopping of Kharams(drums) and Muree (trumpret). As youth take initiative to celebrate this , they raise fund quite before the festivcal. They engage as jhum labourers in their fellow farm fields . Throughoutr the celebration period , the village people observe a ritual called(gerba) to protect the village.







Rijamophain: white cloth with worn from chest tokneesa.

 Rijamphein beren- chest wrapper with stripes pf bright colours like white , green ,black.blue,orange , yellow and red. worn only on special occacsions.

 Rigu- wrapper or lower garment worn of various colours from waist to ankle.

 Rikhaosa- muffler of yellow, green and white worn above the chest wrapper .


Sgaopha- a turban. Phagri is also the name wich are of either yellow or green.

Rigdo-short muffler.

 Risha- short dhoti worn from waist to knee and sometimes taken as muffler also.

Gainthao- white long dhoti, worn from waist to ankle.

Rithap-shawl either white or yellow , with adistinctive colourful design embedded in white background.


phowal- necklace made of expensive coral and real silver metal beads.

 Jongsama-necklace made of micro-beads of any colour with coral and silver beads in between.

Rangbarsha-necklace made of coins

Rmailik- necklace made of micro-beads matching with ramai.

Likjao- necklace made of red micro beads.


The dance forms of the Dimasa Kachari are complex in character. They are strictly dependent on intrumenral music. No songs are used. Kharam (drum) follows the rhythm of the Muri and so also the dancers.Any Dimasa dance is called Baidima


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