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 the News and comment section.

John Keay, well-known historian, author and broadcaster, and specialist in India, provides the book’s prologue. And 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. Only available from this Pipal Press site – (not Amazon) in the UK, £25.00 plus £3.70 (Royal Mail UK Standard 1st Class small parcel – not tracked or signed for).

Author’s comment

My first visit to India began in 1989 with the standard whistle-stop tour of the Golden Triangle. Since then I have been every year, snatching time from a full career in architecture. This book started life as a chronicle about a trip from Leh in Ladakh to Srinagar in Kashmir but it has expanded to include many more facets such as the development of Himalaya, trade, history, religions, people movement, and so on.

It has dawned on me that we who live in the West know remarkably little about India and in particular the North. Certainly many will have seen films such as Gandhi, The Viceroy’s House, The Jewel in the Crown etc. but we do not get much up to date news of the current volatility of Kashmir for example. Currently it is part of India but Pakistan claims it is theirs and no one knows, in truth, what the Kashmiris want. There is much more to this region and I have tried show the beauty of the place without it becoming a travelogue. And I have been ambitious in writing in the context of the British, the buildup to Partition, Independence and the last 70 years. This is not an easy task as the history continues to be reexamined frequently and the future is disputed vigorously.

It follows that this book is aimed towards the European, and particular the British, reader who may want to know more about this fascinating part of the world.

Updates will feature in the News and comments section of this blog.

Here are some sample images and pages:

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

An excellent read. The insight into the people of Kashmir, the history, the detail and photographs of the landscape make it a delight. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Neena Kapur

“Thank you for a special, and for me, unusual read. I am very impressed.

“I like the originality of the layout, the quality of the paper and the photographs; quite unusual these days. The historical background and research you have undertaken is incredible. It appears there is little that is straightforward in India, Kashmir or with the people.

“Your account of the terrifying floods of 2014 and the effect on the people is very moving. Also, your reference to your family who lived and worked in Kashmir makes your journey and experiences very personal and special.

“Well done Mike on a fascinating and informative book. I was half in love with India after my trip but if I return to India, a visit to Kashmir certainly appeals. Your love and enthusiasm for the region is infectious! “
Gloria Ryall