Although I was born on one of the flattest Plains of the world , I have always regarded myself as a child of the mountains. Not merely because that is where my ancestors belonged, but because I feel more at home there and they seem to fulfill an emotional need, if I may borrow Justice G. D. Khosla’s phrase.
It is difficult to pinpoint the reason underlying any emotion. What do I see in the mountains-beauty of landscape, purity of air, solitude or the greater challenge to one’s endurance and resourcefulness? Perhaps all these and something more. On the plains one is surrounded by the works of man and consequently full of the importance of human beings. The heights give another perspective-man is but an insignificant speck, dwarfed by the giant forces of nature. read more
Adventure! This was something we all craved when we were young. Back in the 1950s, when H.P.S. Ahluwalia and I were boys living in the Doon valley, there was no TV, no Video, no Internet. No one had fast cars; we hadn’t heard of drugs; and our notions of love were purely romantic. The only way in which you could get a real “high” was through physical adventure-climbing mountains, sailing the high seas, exploring unknown territory.
Haripal, Somi, Dipi, Daljit and I were all good friends and companions, who looked to the hills around us for pleasure and excitement. None of us then has any ambitions to conquer mountain peaks, but when H.P. (Haripal) joined the Indian Army, he soon found himself a member of various mountain expeditions, for he was an excellent photographer and usually took all the pictures on these expeditions. read more
This publication of Eternal Himalaya is unique in its own way, having been printed in a style prevalent almost two centuries ago. It has tried to bring out the antique flavor of the publications of that period. I have tried nriefly to put together in the limited space available to me the mythology, geology, geography and history of Himalaya together with the accounts of the various explorations of the distinguished travelers and explorers of yore, laying stress on the hand account of a distinguished explorer, Lieut. George Francis White of the 31st Regiment.
His account is extremely fascinating. But alas, it has become rare now. That is why it has been reproduced in this book so that the present day reader can have a feel of the romantic travels of the bygone days. It will also help ensure that those pioneering explorers will not be totally forgotten by us. read more
It was during one of my early visits to Ladakh that the idea of writing this book was born,. The idea took firmer roots when I found that there was little authentic material on the “Central Asian Diamond”- that still glows and glitters like snow-clad mountains, rustic beauty and its rich ancient culture had compelled me to go deeper into the mystery of its history, tradition and heritage. Attempts to get to its history became an extremely difficult task, especially as I was told that many records had been either burnt or stolen n the numerous invasions that took place in this region. read more
While writing this book I visited Ladakh a number of times. Each trip was a new experience for me as I discovered a new facet of this region. The area is so vast that to do full justice to its land and its people one would have to spend a much longer time there, may be even a few years. However, my last visit was to the Nubra valley. Nubra means garden or green valley. It lives up to its name as one can find numerous orchards of apples and apricots. read more
One day, I will explore this region,’ decided Major H.P Ahluwalia, .S. as he stood on the summit of Mount Everest on 29 May 1965. For him, ‘It was a moment of complete joy. It was freezing, perhaps thirty degrees below zero, but suddenly the wind dropped and I thought this was a special gift from mother goddess.’ This was when his dream project—to explore the Tibetan plateau and the mysterious land of Central Asia beyond- was born.
Tracing Marco Polo’s Journey: The Silk Route takes the reader on a fascinating adventure, following Major Ahluwalia and his team members through the exciting expedition of 1994. It is a vivid account of a diverse, adventurous trip through cities as exotic as Bukhara, Samarkand, Andhijan, Xian, Yarkand, Kashgar and Lhasa; lush oases such as Hotan and Turfan; the grand Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts; ancient monuments and mosques; winding up finally at the monasteries in the magnificent Himalayas. It is a first-hand account of a two-month trip marked with both, challenges and fun. The accompanying photographs bring the story alive. read more
This book is a visual account of a diverse, adventurous trip through cities as exotic as Bukhara, Samarkand, Andhijan, Xian, Yarkand, Kashgar, Lhasa, lush oasis’ like Hotan and Turfan, the grand Gobi and Taklamakan deserts, ancient monuments and mosques, winding up finally at the monasteries in the magnificent Himalayas. read more