There are 181 members of the Chana family, and none of them live on benefits.
Scroll down for video
Ziona, the head of the family, has 39 wives, 94 children, 14 daughters-in-law, and 33 grandchildren. They all live under one massive roof. They are believed to be the biggest family in the world. Their home is huge; it has 100 rooms and four stories.
Ziona runs his own religious sect, which allows multiple marriage. He feels blessed to have such a large family, saying, “Today I feel like God’s special child. He’s given me so many people to look after.”
The men of the family work as carpenters, and Ziona is very proud to say that they do not receive any help from the government.
The family home is called Chhuanthar Run, which translates to “the house of the new generation.” It is in the hills of Baktawng village in Mizoram, India. They have their own school, playground, piggery, poultry farm, and everything else that they need.
The women of the family spend hours making dinner because it’s like feeding an army every day. To make one meal, they would need 220 pounds of rice, 132 pounds of potatoes, and at least 30 whole chickens.
The cooking is done over an open fire that is kept burning throughout the day.
The eldest wife, Zathiangi, 69, is the manager of the household. She delegates the daily chores around the house to his other wives, their daughters, and daughters-in-law. There’s always something to do in the house because every day, there is a mountain of laundry that all need to be hand-washed.
Ziona, who is called Ka Pa or father by his family, married first wife Zathiangi when he was only 17 years old. He is the leader of the Chana sect, who believe that they will one day rule the world with Christ. The sect is named after Challian Chana, the grandfather of Ziona. This sect allows men to take as many wives as they want.
As a child, Ziona did not think he would ever get married. He saw his father surrounded by seven wives, and he knew that taking care of so many people was difficult to handle. But now Ziona’s time is divided between all his wives. He has his own bedroom in his house, and his wives are summoned there in turn.
The other 99 rooms in the house are occupied by members of the family.
While Ziona has his own double bed, his wives have to share space in dormitory-style beds. The younger wives are kept close by in the nearest bedrooms, and his older wives stay on the first floor.
During the day, seven or eight wives attend to his needs, standing near him waiting for his orders. Rinkimi, 35, has been married for the past 11 years to Ziona. She says that they stay near him because “he is the most important person in the house. Serving him is like serving God. He’s the most handsome person in this village.”
Another wife, Ngaihzuali, 37, adds, “He often calls out for me to apply oil to his hair as he only likes me to do the job. It makes me feel special.”
Ngaihzuali has been married to Ziona for 18 years, and she claims to be his favorite. She is the mother of a sixteen-year-old. She says Ziona first spotted her while out on a morning walk and that he fell in love with her straight away.
One of the wives, Huntharn-ghaki, insists all women get along. It is a family system of love, respect, helping each other out. The eldest wife, Zathiangi, is in charge of the younger wives.
As the eldest in the family, she has to be the one to manage the family. She takes pride in her role as manager of the large family.
Parliana is Ziona’s eldest son. He is 50 years old. He says his father married so many women so that he could look after them.
Ziona is the leader of 4,000 people who follow the Chana sect. He married women from the village who were poor and orphaned. Their marriage gives them a sort of protection.
Parliana himself only has two wives and thirteen children. He’s a long way off from matching his father’s count.
Ziona says that despite his advancing age, he is still interested in marrying more women. He is willing to expand his sect and go over to the United States to marry.