Footloose in The Himalaya

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Item Code: NAG084
Author: Bill Aitken
Publisher: Permanent Black
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788178242811
Pages: 258 (3 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 260 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
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100% Made in India
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23 years in business

About the Author

Bill Aitken's books include The Nanda Devi affair; the seven sacred rivers; divining the Deccan' and exploring Indian railways. He lives in Mussoorie and Delhi. If anything distinguishes Bill Aitken from the regular travel writer, it is his inspired craziness. With his wide-ranging, sometimes eccentric, interests, this book is replete with literature, geology, philosophy, and folklore. There are detours into hill gossip, stories of local ghosts, accounts of local customs, and exasperated asides about political ineptitude. Aitken goes in pursuit of holy men, both saintly and fraudulent, and searches out tiny old temples to obscure Hindu deities. In between, his travels are interrupted by seven ascetic years in the ashram of Mirtola in the Kumaon hills. Bill Aitken's intimate knowledge of the Himalaya, absorbed through a lifetime, makes this as much an autobiography as a travelogue.


The aim of recollecting these vintage walks is to try and hint at the timeless sublimity of the Himalaya even in its lower reaches. Perhaps the Himalaya is more important for the peak experiences it delivers than the peaks themselves. My own certainly occurred low on the descent from a pass into Zanskar. I also have to honour the ordinary hill villager on whom the success of any foray into the mountains depends. Amidst the penury of their circumstances sturdy character abounds. As for walking, it is the primary requisite for facing the twin realities of glory and grottiness. Climbing-focused on the summit-too often down- plays the suffering to highlight the moment of triumph. Together the verve and energy of the crags person, with the softer sense of wonder pilgrims bring to their endeavor, make for good companions. Travelling by armchair need not be antithetical if the reader understands the value of sweat. Sweat guarantees the sweetest of all Himalayan rewards after the 'dignity of danger'-a sense of selfhood.



  Preface ix
1 The call of the mountains 1
2 Finding your level 10
3 A bend in the road 19
4 First footsteps 30
5 Binsar and beyond 41
6 Time by the village clock 49
7 Union of continents and the birth of eternity 58
8 Burha pinnath 67
9 Chhota binsar 76
10 Uttar brindaban 84
11 Bala hissar 95
12 Gateway to god 103
13 Dev bhumi 115
14 Ganga maharani 125
15 The best little trek 134
16 A date with pokhu 143
17 Choor chandni 153
18 A night on the tiles 164
19 A clean pair of heels 174
20 The void manifest 184
21 The coppery kingdom 192
22 Wild rivers and a rainbow 202
23 The greatest show on earth 212
24 Cliff hanging gompa 220
25 The king over the water 230
26 The taste of vintage chang 239
27 East of the Devi 249

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