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Travels in Zanskar: A Journey to a Closed Kingdom, by Mark Boyden

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Travels in Zanskar: A Journey to a Closed Kingdom, by Mark Boyden

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“... a travel book in the classic tradition.... A gripping adventure story ... and a sensitive interpretation of an ancient culture on the eve of its demolition.” – Dervla Murphy, from the Foreword


Events in Tibet from the 1940s through the 1970s culminated in the obliteration of the traditional Tibetan pastoral society which was based around  Lamasery, a sensibly sustainable agriculture, and the ancient calendar.

Two western-most provinces of old Tibet, Ladakh and Zanskar, having been annexed by India, offered the final glimpse of this nearly extinct traditional Tibetan way of life, particularly the remote and inaccessible former Kingdom of Zanskar.

Grasping the opportunity, Mark Boyden set out from Ireland in the Spring of 1981 to explore this Kingdom and record these old traditions before they were inexorably eroded by modernity.

Travelling with a horse (‘Himself’) and his friend Paddy, Mark Boyden was one of the first Westerners to visit this closed kingdom. In Travels in Zanskar, he has written a delightful travelogue of this remarkable expedition – the challenges of the landscape, the encounters with a succession of characters, and the details of life in Zanskar, in what Dervla Murphy calls in her Foreword, “a travel book in the classic tradition.”

“Some years ago Mark Boyden was privileged to travel through Zanskar, one of the few Himalayan regions as yet unmodernised.  For political reasons this peripheral province of old Tibet had remained isolated while elsewhere motor-roads, and all that those entail, were abruptly ending a way of life that had survived almost unchanged for millennia.  Travels in Zanskar is both a gripping adventure story (every detail rings true) and a sensitive interpretation of an ancient culture on the eve of its demolition ... our reward here is a travel book in the classic tradition.”From the Foreword by Dervla Murphy

“I enjoyed reading this … such a unique journey, through a world I had never heard described before .... The fact that the author was travelling through such uncharted territory meant one never knew what was going to befall him next ... the world would love to learn about Zanskar past and present.”  -   Manchán Magan, The Irish Times

“This is a compelling and fascinating read. Mark Boyden has imparted the glory and the uniqueness of the place with care, and the story has left me with a sense of wonder.  His respect for the subject is pervasive and somehow reassuring in these times of the goldfish bowl traveller.” – Clem Cairns, Fish Publishing

About the Author

In his youth Mark Boyden trekked into the Sierra Nevadas, the Canadian and American Rockies, the Pacific Coast Ranges, the Alps and the Himalayas.  He is now an Ecologist and Environmental Educator, creator of the StreamScapes Aquatic Education Programme. He lives in Bantry, County Cork.






Additional Information

Additional Information

Author Boyden, Mark
Editor No
Print Format Paperback
ISBN-10 No
ISBN-13 9781908308511
Illustrations Colour illustrations throughout
Date of Publication November 28, 2013
Number of Pages 200