crestThank you for visiting the web site of the Uttarakhand Board Game, a new strategy war game set in the medieval period of the Uttarakhand region of India.

The game emerged out of a brain wave in my travels and immersion into the rich and varied culture of Uttarakhand, so much of which harks back to the middle ages. From plays in the Shakespearean mold, to ballads about legendary figures from the last millennium, to sword play and dances that celebrate the region’s martial and mythic traditions, Uttarakhand heritage lives on. This game will hopefully serve as a small but fitting tribute that players of all ages can enjoy. The web site will also be continuously expanded to include ongoing research into the rich history of the region.

The game is currently in the beta testing phase, and would greatly benefit from your participation. All the game pieces and instructions have been provided here to print out or download in PDF format. However, if you own similar games, you can imaginatively substitute some of the game pieces.

Have fun!
Rajiv Rawat

Mahotsav 2006


This gallery contains 18 photos.

The original idea for the board game from the Uttarakhand Mahotsav 2006 which featured a week-long festival of dance, song, and theatre featuring the rich culture of Uttarakhand. The theatre plays in particular derived their stories from the medieval era … Continue reading

Portraits from the Early 19th Century

Devprayaga, Hyder Young Hearsey, 1808

As promised, I am providing the link to the British Library Image Collection. Just search for Almora, Garhwal, or Hardwar and you will find several portraits of Uttarakhand by British explorers from the early 1800s. At some point, I will link these images to a map, however to obtain prints of these you will need to inquire about licensing first with the Library.

Lok Nritya Clips

The following still clips are from the Yugmanch Documentary Film, Uttarakhand Ke Lok Nritya that was released in late November 2006 in Nainital. The scenes depicted are those of ritualized swordplay in Dwarahat, an old centre of the Katyuris, and Nainital.

Finally Complete

It took weeks of hard work and gaming sessions, but I’ve finally finished preparing and uploading all the important components of the game. I still have several pages to develop, including a photo gallery of early 19th century British artwork that shows what Uttarakhand was like at the sunset of its independent existence as the kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon. Another page will highlight important personalities and legendary figures, whose names have been preserved by balladeers over the last one thousand years. It is sad to see how this continuity of tradition is only now beginning to fail under the onslaught of “hypermodernity.” As Mohan Upreti so remarkably summed up in his work on the Ballad of Rajula and Malushahi (Malushahi is definitely one of those legendary personas):

When I heard Mohan Singh , I was amazed at the artistic wealth contained in the ballads, popular in the region. While the heroic ballads sang of the vitality of the race, the romantic ones eulogised true love, which invariably triumphed, regardless of barriers of class, tribe, community, or caste. All this inspired me, opening my eyes to great beauty and the simplicity of folk art; to its vigour and verve, its intense humanism and profound sense of justice; its love of nature, its materiality and emphasis on this wordliness; its tremendous power reflecting the emotions of the community; its derision of the acquisitive instinct, its belief in the power of good and human brotherhood, where gods can coexist with human beings. Above all, I was greatly impressed by its inherent capacity for constant renewal.

YugmanchAs such, the work of organizations like PAHAR and Yugmanch, both out of Nainital, are so important. In fact, it was Yugmanch’s release of its new documentary film, (Uttarakhand ke Lok Nritya), that convinced me that I was on the right path with this board game. Although the idea was originally stoked at the Uttarakhand Mahotsav in Dehradun, a more profound link between history and culture was seen in the film’s coverage of the folk dances and songs of Kumaon . The header for this web site is in fact lifted from a painting on the back side of their booklet (right: front cover) by Dr. Yashodhar Mathpal of the Museum of Folk Culture in Bhimtal.

Anyways, there will definitely be more pages coming.