The Land of Flying Lamas (& other Real Travel Stories from the Indian Himalaya)

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Item Code: NAG630
Author: Gaurav Punj
Publisher: Tranquebar Press
Language: English
Edition: 2013
ISBN: 9789383260522
Pages: (Throughout Color and B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.5 inch X 5 inch
Weight 200 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description

Back of the Book


Beyond the hill stations, the mall roads and the ‘points’ is the ‘Other Himalaya’. A Himalaya where flowers bloom in the green rolling meadows, the streams are bubbly, no pedal boats ply in the lakes, the glaciers can be felt and the passes crossed to more magical lands (where you might find flying lamas too). It’s the real Himalaya and it’s the real stories from the travels of people like you and me in this Himalaya that make this book.


The grand plan is that the next time you are looking for a family vacation or an adventure k or a soul-searching solo trip, these stories from different regions of the Indian Himalaya (from Kashmir to Ladakh, Himachal, Garhwal, Kumaon, Sikkim and Arunachal) will provide you a few more options to choose from.


There is also a special chapter by Rujuta Diwekar, India’s top fitness professional, on why you must trek, the physiological benefits for your body and what to eat to get the best out of your Himalayan trek.




Any trip to the mountains, to the Himalaya or otherwise, generates a variety of experiences, from the mundane to the unforgettable, and interactions within the group and with locals on the way create memories worth holding on to and narrating at the next campfire. You follow directions, look at the peaks and enjoy beauty, but it’s the human interactions, which we call stories, that let you understand the land and its people most intimately.


This is what Gaurav Punj, the author, has done in this book, and he is eminently qualified to write such a book. An engineer by education, corporate honcho in his first avatar, he decided to give up the humdrum, but well-paying life, for the uncertainties of mountains as a means of living. In a way it was in his blood, having been born in the foothills of the Himalaya, in the Shivalik range. Perhaps to him the high profile CV appeared miniscule compared to the grandeur of the mountains. But while roaming the hills your banker cannot help, so he set up his own company, appropriately named ‘Connect with Himalaya’. Since then he has not looked back, being connected with the mountains all through the year. He enjoys it, as I have seen him in action once in the mountains.


For lifelong passion for mountains there are a few hurdles. You finish education and you are supposed to toe the line; join work or business. If you still continue to trek, then various circumstances are likely to challenge your chosen life. For the survivors, the hardest hurdle to cross is choosing a partner with whom to live the rest of your life. A companion with less understanding of your passion can lead to many conflicts between the social life in a city vs. the hard life of mountains. Gaurav has succeeded in solving this riddle by choosing Rujuta, a celebrated author and a passionate trekker herself, as his life partner. Their marriage, realized in a small temple in a remote Himalayan village, is an example of their love for the Himalaya.


This book contains many things of interest to a Himalayan lover and trekker. There are maps and trivia, suggestions of local service providers for those interested in travelling to the places covered in the book and, what I like most, references to read and research further for a discerning trekker. Many important aspects are covered in appendices, particularly about altitude sickness, which cannot be less emphasized.


But the main strength of this book remains in the narrative that blends the real experiences and folklores. Whenever lecturing, one principle to be followed to make it interesting is to narrate stories. Presentation of the history of the peaks, lay of the land, politics and scenes of bravado are useful, but it is the interactions with locals and humour experienced on a trip that keeps the audience interested. So this book with its stories of human aspects and attractive presentation will be of interest to many.




Foreword: A few words by Harish Kapadia - the mountain man


The Why, What and How of This Book


Prologue: The Other Himalaya


Story 1:

Kashmir - Second Chance

Camping in Lidder valley and high drama in a Chaupan hut


Story 2:

The Ladakh Blues, Whites and Browns

The Khardung La adventure and patriotism at 4500m


Story 3:

The High of Kulu Valley

A path less travelled and the lost city of Thava


Story 4:

Surreal Spiti

The pastures of Kara and the ‘friendly spirit’ phenomenon


Story 5:

Rupin-Supin-the Descendants of the Kauravas

A village of tattooed women and surviving a Himalayan thunderstorm


Story 6:

Nanda Devi - More Than a Mountain

A never-ending day and the veil of the Goddess


Story 7:

Darma Valley - the Land of Flying Lamas

The four meadows of Nagling and the Himalayan Viagra


Story 8:

Darjeeling Hills and the Story of a Brave Girl

The day we ran for the ant-eaters


Story 9:

Sikkim and the Art of Tourism

The trek cake and Nimo ke momo


Story 10:

Arunachal - a Preview


Epilogue: Trekking - the Way of the Wise By Rujuta Diwekar



Altitude Sickness


Common Trekking Terms


The Next Ten






Sample Pages

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