A small village in district Ruderprayag is attracting historians after it accidentally discovered ancient manuscripts. The Bartwal family from Syupuri recently found a big collection of over 200 manuscripts while cleaning their storeroom. After the news appeared in the media, many historians have travelled to this remote village to have a look at the old documents.

A prominent historian from Uttarakhand, Dr Yashwant Katoch, was at Syupuri last week. After scanning the manuscripts he said, “The collection is huge and I was able to scan just a small part. The manuscripts are in Hindi, Sanskrit, Garhwal, and Gurumukhi. The condition of the documents is fine but need scientific restoration for a long life. I am optimistic that the documents will throw light on many new facts related to Uttarakhand.”

Syupuri is located 13 km from district headquarters Rudarprayag. The Bartwal family found over 200 manuscripts stored in two baskets. According to historians, the documents date from 1717 onwards. The records are related to the Gorkha attack, revenue records, local vegetation, ayurveda, ritual literature, etc. Besides manuscripts, the family also found some weapons used by the Tehri King’s army from inside a mysterious room.

It was forbidden to enter the room as, across generations, senior family members constantly warned the children not to enter the store attached to the prayer room. So nobody ever dared to enter the highly protected room.

Satendra Pal Singh Bartwal and his brother Dhirendra Singh Bartwal also grew up hearing the warnings repeatedly from their parents and elders. But, when they found a huge collection of rare manuscripts while cleaning the room, they were overjoyed.

Dr Shivchand Singh Rawat, Assistant Professor of History at Government Post Graduate College (Gopeshwar), also visited the village with his students recently. He said, “The find has created curiosity. Especially among historians and history enthusiasts! Many revenue receipts, stamps, handwritten books, etc are part of the collection. You need a team of researchers for exploring the collection.”

As the collection consists of different material, first it needs to be classified according to language and subject. Many manuscripts have suffered damage due to poor handling and need immediate restoration.