The khamtis live in fairly large villages, the houses of which are built on platforms several feet above the ground. The houses are reached by means of a ladder, which is often the notched trunk of a tree. The houses themselves are comfortable, substantially built, with good roofs. Men, women and children, apparently, all live together in the same room, but there are partitions for the married people.

The costume of both men and women is picturesque. Although perhaps not quite so showy as the Burmese, the costumes are very similar. The men's dress is a blue cotton jacket and a sort of kilt of checked cloth or silk, which looks like a plaid. The women's dress is the same, only that they wear a cloth tightly bound round the chest and tied under the arms, instead of a jacket.

The Khamtis that I have seen looked strong and robust. They had faces of the usual Chinese type, with high cheek-bones, and small peculiarly shaped eyes, and with scanty beard. They did not appear as dark as the Ahoms, and they certainly looked cleaner and neater. The men wear their hair in a sort of top-knot, whereas the Ahoms wear it in a knob, shaped like a door-knocker, at the back of the head.

The Khamtis suffer terribly from goitre, but this is not uncommon both in the plains as well as the hills. The Tairongs, Aitanias, and Naras, who are the kinsmen of the Khamtis, are great opium-eaters, and are as well much addicted to liquor. They distil a fairly strong spirit from "gur" (molasses), which they often try to sell without a licence to the tea-garden coolies, and so get mulcted in fines under the Excise Law.

Shared by: C.K Tunkhang.

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