The Traditional Knowledge Systems (TKS) are the corpus of accumulated folk knowledge gained through trial and error through millennia. This folk knowledge therefore has a parental relationship to the elite science. The micro-variations of the ambient harsh environment of the hills have been responsible for the extremely rich community knowledge systems and a biodiversity necessary for sustainability of human life here. The mountain people also cultivate many lesser known crops and medicinal plants and this biodiversity is of immense value for the future, for genetics, health and breeding.
Most of the village people depend upon the Himalayan medicine system rather than on the allopathic medicine. There are a lot of folk medicines used extensively to treat animals. The Naulas (water springs) are marvels of traditional hydraulic technology and still serve the demand of clean potable water. The traditional domestic architecture has enabled people to build quake resistant houses. There is a traditional technology for distilling alcohol for drinking purposes and also for making fermented food and beverages. They also have a developed technology for dyeing wool and cotton using a natural dyes. The Kumauni folklore is a veritable treasure of folk knowledge. For an integrated and sustainable development of the hills it is necessary to use traditional technologies.
The TKS also helps to understand archeological remains of domestic and temple architecture, hydraulic structures and burial remains, even of rock art.
Despite the tremendous importance and value of traditional knowledge, especially in the hilly areas such as Uttaranchal, it is at a risk of becoming extinct for various reasons. We do hope that this book will help preserve the traditional knowledge systems of Uttaranchal, as also emphasise their use for sustainable development.