Yashodhar Mathpal (born 1939) is an Indian archaeologist, painter, curator, Gandhian and Rock art conservationist. He is most known for his study of cave art, especially in Bhimbetka rock shelters, Barechhina (Uttarakhand) and Kerala. He founded the Folk Culture Museum (Lok Sanskriti Sangrahalaya) in Bhimtal, Nainital district, in 1983.[1]

He was awarded the Padma Shri, fourth-highest civilian honour by Government of India in 2006.[2]

Early life and background

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Born in village Naula in Bhikiyasain Tehsil of Almora district of Uttarakhand to Haridutt Mathpal and Kanti Devi, Mathpal received his primary education local Primary School from his native village, thereafter he did his further schooling from Manila village, Mission Intercollege, Ranikhet and completed his schooling from Vikramajit Singh Sanatan Dharma College, Kanpur.

He did his B.A. from J. N. P. G. College, Lucknow, followed by M.A. degree in drawing and painting from Agra University and a Ph.D in Archaeology from University of Pune.


He established the Folk Culture Museum (Lok Sanskriti Sangrahalaya) in Bhimtal, in the present-day Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, in 1983. The museum houses artifacts, folk paintings, rock art and prehistoric objects. The museum also documents oral and written traditions and folklore of the region, besides providing training in rare traditional arts and crafts. He takes care of the museum himself, and has spent all his life's earnings on it.[3]

In 2012, he facilitated by Vice President of India at the "International Conference on Rock Art", organized by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, in New Delhi.[4]



  1. ^ Usha Bande (27 May 2001). "The saviour of primeval folk art". The Tribune. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Padma Awards Announced" (Press release). Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  3. ^ Atul Sethi (6 August 2012). "Past Prism: Museum men of Bhimtal - Part I". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Photogallery". Vice President of India. Retrieved 24 February 2014.