Golden Era in Kumaon History Under the Katyuris the region passed through a golden epoch of its history which shaped its destiny and brought out a political, cultural and religious renaissance of the area. The epoch between the 7th -11th century saw hectic temple building both in the north and south. The building activity in Kumaon led to the erection of about 400 shrines in Almora and Pithoragarh districts alone, in Nagara or Indo-Aryan style.
The 300 places mentioned on the copper plates extend over an area of nearly 8,000 sq km with Katkhet (near Uttarkashi) in the west, Bilwak (Pithoragarh) in east, Garuria (near Kedarnath-in the north to Karkotak near Nainital) in the south. The Binsar range in Almora and Doodhatoli range in Pauri both abound in ancient remains.
Pre-historic caves at Lakhu-Udyar bearing red colored frescoes, portray the inhabitants of the per-Christian era as a hunting hordes living midst pine trees and, with the ow and arrow, hunting animal like the Kankar. At one point a human figure, sword in hand, is about to sacrifice another.
According to lical lore, in Satyug, there had been a bloody clash between two marrage parites at Lohaghat. The word Lakhu, or Laksha means the color red, as also, Lohavati (river of blood) and Lohaghat (valley of blood). At Inakot is a semi-destroyed temple constructed with large red bricks, also found in Lakha Mandal in Uttarkashi, Near Basoli, were a number of graveyards, spread over an area of 3,000 sq meters, yielded ancient pottery, such as small pitchers, cups, soup bowls and small plates.
The temple group at Chamyari (Champakoti, Taleshwar Copper Plate) bears an inscription of the 600 AD script revealing that one Karandan Bhatt constructed the temple. Villages like Taleshwar, Tilari, Deora and others, all at a distance of 100-250 km from Nainital, have ancient archaeological remains. All the inscriptions are of, and about Katyuri kings. The Balkuntha Pratima near Binain Thal bears the legend “Sahanpal Dev, son of Lakhanpal Dev Katyuri, dating 1,0229 Saka (1108 AD),” also showing thei figures of both father and son in their royal grandeur.
On the borders of Nainital and Almora districts there is a group of temples named as Kapileshwar dedicated to the God Viraneshwar. The names Kapilgarta and Kapileshwar mentioned in the grants of the Brahmpur kings are now, indentified as Binsar in Almora int the Katyur valley and Dira Binsar in Garhwal. Both have inspirational and sculptural material dating back to 500 AD.
Naini, mentioned as Narain as Narain Devkula in the Taleshwar Copper Plate Grant, is beautiful site and the Vaishnava temple unearthed there has charming icons of Hargori, Varah and a pantheon of navdurga, along with some beautiful sculptural master pieces. Scattered pieces of the Gate pillars are strikingly carved while the hewn and chiselled heads of Pashupati resembel the Trimurti of Ellora. Another masterpiece is the idol of Narasimha.