For some, the Himalaya is a frontier against which to test themselves. Others find refuge and tranquility in the mountains, a place where they can seek their selves, perhaps even God. And over millennia, the mountains have cradled civilization itself and nurtured teeming, irrepressible life.
With over fifty essays, this comprehensive volume brings together a dazzling range of voices?among others, Fa-Hsien, Pundit Nain Singh, Heinrich Harrer, Fanny Parkes, Dharamvir Bharati, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Rahul Sankrityayan, Amitav Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru, Frank Smythe, Paul Brunton, Edmund Hillary, Mark Twain, Sarat Chandra Das, Dom Moraes, Manjushree Thapa?and the two editors themselves?in an unparalleled panorama.
Here you will find stories of great ascents and descents; The madness of war on the ?world?s highest battlefield?; Tales of exploratory derring-do in Tibet and elsewhere; A drunken jaunt in Kumaon and even the probable sighting of an 'Abominable Snowman in the Valley of Flowers'. A seeker has an intense spiritual experience on Mount Kailas, another among shamans on a mountaintop in Nepal and looking for the snow leopard in Ladakh, an author finds himself. A resident of a Sherpa village writes a heartfelt account of the aftermath of an avalanche which killed porters and climbers on Everest and residents of Langtang record an oral history of the earthquake which wiped out their village. A matriarch describes her life and family in Almora of a bygone time; A prisoner in Dehra Dun jail draws solace from visits by birds and small animals and the fragrance of lime makes a traveler's night in a remote Garhwal village memorable for all time.