Ancient Rock Paintings: The Historical Case of Lakhudiyar Caves in Almora, Uttarakhand!

Month of Visit: January 2021.

On the Jageshwar road in Barechhena village, around 16 kms. from Almora Uttarakhand, is the little known blink-and-miss archaeological gem of a place called Lakhudiyar caves.

Path of the Lakhudiyar caves in Almora Uttarakhand
Prehistoric gem preserved by ASI - Lakhudiyar caves, Almora

A few kms. down the Chitai Golu Devta Temple, a nondescript board in blue announcing the nearness of the spot in hindi first caught my attention. Upon enquiring further, our driver told us there are some very very ancient caves nearby once inhabited by the primitive people from the Old Stone Age to the Neo Stone Age.

Lakhudiyar caves managed by ASI in Almora Uttarakhand

To express themselves and describe their day to day life and activities including the trials and tribulations in the closed confines of their sheltered inhabitation, they took up painting on the rocks. Their drawings featured humans, animals, birds, geometric patterns and other elements of nature. He also told us that some of these art forms were smeared with blood as they had no other tools available with them.

Entrance to the historic Lakhudiyar caves in Almora Uttarakhand
Entrance to the cave shelters in Lakhudiyar caves Almora

I must confess, the mention of blood did spook me out a bit. However, when I looked up to know more about this place online, I could not verify this particular information. In fact, what I found was that the paintings were done in lakh (laquer) and that is how the place got its name.

Whatever be the story, we could not leave without exploring such an interesting place, could we?

Way to the hidden historic Lakhudiyar caves in Almora Uttarakhand
Steps up the Lakhudiyar cave top

A big board put up by the archaeological department of India greeted us at the entrance of the cave. Set high on the mountains, admist a dense forest of pine trees and rocky protrusions, the caves wore a deserted look.

We had the whole place to ourselves. Flowing down the valley below was a thin stream of the river Suyal.

Pre historic Lakhudiyar caves in Almora Uttarakhand
By the banks of River Suyal - Lakhudiyar Cave Shelter

The slopes were first gentle giving way to steeper topography which required climbing a few stairs up. On the top, were a few protruding cliffs and overhanging rock structures punctuated with bushy unkempt growth.

Lakhudiyar caves prehistoric paintings in Almora Uttarakhand
Can you spot any designs or paintings on the rocks?

The place had a very nice feel to it – with the shaded greens and the rugged browns and all the history thrown in – but when it came to the real deal, the rock paintings, unfortunately it was a huge let down.

Historic caves Lakhudiyar caves in Almora Uttarakhand
Surrounded by trees all around

We saw no paintings, not even faded ones, nothing. Maybe a few patches in white here and there but that was all there was to it. Perhaps, this state of affairs was because of the corrosion caused by the weather, perhaps it was owing to the negligence by the authorities or perhaps time had washed them all out but honestly, I’d expected to see something at least so it was somewhat disappointing to find absolutely nothing.

Canopy of trees -Lakhudiyar caves in Almora Uttarakhand

Lakhudiyar rock cut caves in Almora Uttarakhand

The only consolation to our dissatisfaction was to have discovered a different place, to have rolled our hands on rocks seeped in tales from a different era... to have found some more stories from Incredible India to share.

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Check out my complete Uttarakhand Yatra (DhanachuliKasar DeviJageshwar Shiva Temple, Chitai Golu Devta Temple, Katarmal Sun Temple, Almora, Jim Corbett) by clicking the link here:

My Uttarakhand Yatra Diary

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Prehistoric Rock Paintings at Lakhudiyar Caves Almora Uttarakhand

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Comments

  1. Very good post. Highly informative for travellers who want to visit these ancient rock paintings in Uttarakhand. Nicely written. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for this, sounds and looks like a truly magical and spiritual place.

    ReplyDelete

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