The Kukis are also known as Khongjois.
They are distributed
widely in Manipur, occupying the south-western, south and south-eastern hills which spread in the district of
Tangnoupal district and Sadar hills in the north Manipur. There are different beliefs about
their origin. Some of the Kukis believe their origin is in the north at a
place Maikel. Some traces the Kuki's links with Zomi, who migrated from
China. The term Zumi is an ancient and historical name of the Zo ethnic groups (Zo means cold region and Mi means men). With the reference to the alpine
climate, the people living on the hills could be named as Kuki. The Kukis who came to Manipur during 1830 and 1840 were a
nomadic race. Some authorities consider them having traces to Malaya
peninsula. There are different groups among Kukis. Those who migrated from
Mizoram are called Mizos and are educationally advanced. Another group of
those migrated from Burma side in 1830 is like the Paite. Manipuris
consider Kukis to be of two groups, old Kuki and new Kuki. The new group of Kukis
is the group comprising those who migrated to Manipur during the region of Raja
Nar Singh. The old Kukis of Manipur are the Thadao and Vaipei. The Thadao group consider
themselves the superior clan as compared to others. They are mostly inhabiting
the hills between Churachandpur and Tipai Mukh. Thadaos are divided into larger
clans like Thado, Shingsol, Chongloi, Hangseen, Keepgenand Hankep. The other
clans which are consider slightly inferior are Chongfoot, Telnok,
Helting, Mangnoong and Voongtung.
Kukis are of Mongoloid stock.
The Men are short as well as
medium sized. Their face is broad and round. The cheek-bones are prominently
bulged with small eyes. Men are physically smart with muscular body. The skin colour is generally wheatish.
The skin colour is generally wheatish. The hair is dark and rarely turn gray by
age. The woman too have prominent Mongol features.
generally of short stature. In general the facial structure is
square, but among some tribes it is round. The nose is short and particularly flattened at the nostrils. They look smart
with their stout body. The skin colour is white and wheatish in
general but some women of the south-east hills are slightly darkish.
Their lips are prominently thick. Their hair is luxuriant and puffy.
The houses of Kukis are raised above the ground. The floor is
made of split bamboo and if wood is available, then of wooden planks. The walls
are made of split bamboo and the roof with thatching of grass or tree or banana
or fan plant leaves. The house of a Thadou chief is large as compared with other
houses in the village. On Churachandpur, Thanlon, Parbhum and Tipai Mukh line
there are several village chiefs who are appointed as Extra Departmental
Postmasters. They are very courteous. Their houses are made of good material.
Modern furniture like chair, table, dressing table, cots, sofa set and carpets
are displayed in their houses.