Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley – New Book

Michael Thomas’ new book is an exhilarating Himalayan journey, sharing personal rare experiences, geology, ancient histories, trade routes, the great flood, conflicting religions, politics, Partition, and militancy in North India, one of the most volatile parts of the world, leading to the brink of war.

Updates feature in NEWS AND COMMENT see top left in the menu bar.

John Keay, well-known historian, author and broadcaster, and specialist in India, provides the book’s prologue.

He comments: ‘This is a serious book, beautifully produced and full of bold insights. I shall treasure it.”

228 pages on art paper with over 150 black and white photographs, mostly taken by the author. Available from this Pipal Press site only (not Amazon, Waterstones etc.) in the UK, £33.70 including shipping (net price £29).

If you are not in the UK and want to buy this book: please contact Michael Thomas direct through the contact page for purchase details; it’s quick and simple.



  • A spare day: Qutb Minar revisited
  • The Kashmir Valley and Ladakh – in context
  • Himalaya
  • Trade and power
  • Delhi to Leh
  • Historical background to Ladakh
  • Leh town
  • Some excursions from Leh
  • A two-day journey from Leh to Srinagar (Day 1): Leh to Kargil
  • (Day 2): Kargil to Srinagar
  • Illustrated historical background to Kashmir
  • Mohra: Pratap Singh and Kashmir’s first hydroelectric power station
  • A comment on Dogra rule
  • Contemporary images of Kashmir from about 1900 to 1925
  • The last Dogra ruler – towards Independence
  • Setting the scene before Independence
  • Out and about in Kashmir
  • Creative skills and the iconic Kashmir houseboat
  • Srinagar and the Jhelum River
  • Rainawari: the Venice of the East
  • The floods of September 2014
  • After the floods, November 2014
  • The floating gardens and waterways
  • Gulmarg and the countryside
  • Two minor yet surprising tourist incidents
  • After Partition to 2018
  • Pulwama. The news as it happened. February 2019
  • Reflections – Articles 370 and 35A

What people are saying

“Congratulations; this is a serious book, beautifully produced and full of bold insights. I shall treasure it, so professional.”
John Keay – historian, journalist, radio presenter and lecturer specialising in popular histories of India, the Far East and China

“It is looking beautiful. No wonder it took time – all the better for it. The photographs of making of HB Mascot 1 are fabulous – wish I had been there. Then the photographs of Rainawari canals. Flipping through the pages revived some fond memories. I think I needed it in these testing times. I will be taking solace in it in the coming days.”
Vinayak Razdan – author of the Search Kashmir blog

“Thank you so much for your beautiful book! Highly impressed by the amount of work and effort you have put in there. It’s superb.”
Aarti Tikoo Singh – Senior Asst. Editor, Times of India

“I am not sure that I have ever read anything so well researched, presented and thought provoking. The trip from Leh to Srinagar was so interesting and I found myself cantering along from page to page and green with envy. I know so little of this part of the world and I am now keen to learn more. I would not pretend to comprehend the complexity of the politics of the region and the historical background of how things got to where they are today, but I found myself fascinated (if that’s the right word) and full of questions.”
David S Crombie

“A wonderful achievement! It has got to be so pertinent to the current time. I have started reading the book, not only am I interested in the subject but you have a very good writing style which is a pleasure to read.”
Elizabeth Wilson