A Long Walk in the Himalaya: A Trek from the Ganges to Kashmir
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Weare's finely rendered story of his five-month trek from the sacred source of the Ganges through the Kullu Valley, Zanskar and Ladakh to his houseboat in Kashmir is remarkably entertaining. The people he meets and travels with are fully-fledged characters that the reader comes to know and care about while the Himalaya, captured in all their variety, cast their spell. It is as if the act of walking allows the author to fully understand all the nuances-spiritual, environmental, social and politica l- of this inspiring region. A Long Walk in the Himalaya is a book to savour.
through a security arch that had been erected earlier that afternoon. I then waited patiently while two police checked my marigold garlands for any hidden arms or ammunition. ‘Garry, welcome back!’ was all I could recall when at last Rigzin and I exchanged hugs. Another old friend was also there on the dais to greet me, Mohammed Ashraf, who had just retired as the Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Tourism. Wiping the sweat from my brow I prepared for my fifteen minutes of fame. I talked of
first heavy spots of rain hit our tents. Then the heavens opened, testing the waterproofing of my nylon dome tent and Jeet’s dhaba. Judging by the contented expressions of the porters their canvas tent was up to scratch. Muffled comments were followed by shrieks of laughter as the porters reminded each other that they were within a few hours of reaching the town of Sangla and completing their trek the next day. Later that afternoon I ventured to Jeet’s dhaba. After the exertions of the pass Jeet
the highway, I passed teams of labourers, mostly from Bihar and Nepal, working on the road. A constant ‘chink, chink’ resounded in a tiring rhythm as they chipped away, creating smaller and smaller pieces of rock that would eventually form the road surface. Other workers carried sackfuls of sand from the riverbed or wielded picks and shovels to clear landslides that occasionally blocked the highway. Many of the labourers had been working since dawn, preferring to rest in the middle of the day.
Darjeeling, the fact of the matter is that these peaks are right in front of you. They are within spitting distance across the Sutlej Valley. The highest is Jorkanden (6473 metres) capped by a rock pillar pointing towards heaven and towering above the locally revered Kinnaur Kailas (6050 metres). It’s a peak to appeal to any flagging soul who questions whether the Himalaya are a source of inspiration. The village of Kalpa is set in a commanding position above the Sutlej River. In the nineteenth
right below C. L. Negi’s store, under the watchful eye of several emaciated foreigners. This abundance of cannabis does not escape the notice of the state authorities either. Rumours are rife. Police informers among the villagers themselves are not unheard of, with the result that no one it seems is completely trusted. I was glad to leave. A few hours’ trek above Malana is the summer settlement of Dadru, set amid ripening fields of corn and a healthy crop of cannabis. Almas and Jeet were way