It is perhaps for the first time that a comprehensive study on the Himalayan Rock Art spanning form the primitive age to our times has been accomplished and presented very lucidly in the present volume. The spatiotemporal scope of this study is very vast: it not only covers the primitive rock engravings and paintings, but also the rock art of classical period and of the modern times, and embraces entire Himalayan region from the interiors of Jammu & Kashmir in the west to Arunachal in the east. In fact, the creative activity on the rocks in the Himalayan region has been so vigorous, varied and continuous through ages that it can be confined neither to a specific time-bracket nor to a particular area. Having transcended all spatio-temporal limits, the Rock Art has been manifesting itself in diverse manners with the varying levels of sophistication to establish its relevance with the changing times and tempers.
The Rock Art of Himalayan region, form the sub-montane tract to the trans-Himalayan cold desert, is so vibrant, varied and widespread that it may not be possible to explain it within the ossified academic parameters. Accordingly, this work not only includes the primitive pictographs and petroglyphs, but also the rock carvings, inscriptions, images, fountain-slabs, memorial stones and rock-cut temples. Besides, an exclusive chapter on the Votive Rocks has also been added, for it is the faith-systems that has sustained the creativity in the Himalayan region.
The variety of Rock Art discussed here spans through the millenniums covering the creations of primitive cave-dwelling communities to the objects of popular faith of our times. These objects are not only archaeologically important, but also authentic and important as the source martial for anthropological, sociological, historical and cultural studies. Therefore, it is imperative that these indelible and honest imprints of human activity are properly explored, documented and studied to illuminate numerous dark recesses of prehistory, history and folklore.
It is unfortunate that, with a few exceptions, most of these important relics lay neglected and scattered throughout the Himalayan interiors. There is a dire need to realise the importance of this wealth before it is lost for the posterity.