Kallol Bhattacherjee testimonials The ‘Other’ Shangri-La, by Shivaji Das

A journey by means of ‘new’ Tibet, a place of amazing attractiveness, also considers myths, legends and ties with China

In 2020, we ought to have celebrated the 70th anniversary of India-China’s diplomatic relations, instead it will be remembered for the skirmishes in the Himalayas. However bilateral ties have been overshadowed by the disaster, there is a complete new earth to discover as considerably as China is anxious, and Shivaji Das requires readers on a journey to the western Sichuan region and the Tibetan highlands in his travelogue, The ‘Other’ Shangri La.

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Like a desire

It is a intriguing account of the incredible splendor and lifestyle of the region wherever the Tibetan plateau merges into China and also the myths and legends of Tibet. The writer requires the reader into a desire-like tour of Tibet’s magical mountain peaks and the elegance of its individuals. He blends easy heritage, well known anecdotes and private practical experience to carry to daily life Tibet as perfectly as Tibetan-Chinese day-to-day exchanges to the reader without the need of more than burdening it with politics.

Das describes Tibet’s famed monasteries and their legends. At Chonggu Gompa, also recognised as ‘Bandit Monastery’, he and his wife meet up with a group of monks who are sunbathing, dropping no trace of a boisterous previous. The monastery has a reputation of becoming an abode of infamous criminals who in spite of staying job-monks terrorised neighbouring locations. It is now recognized for ‘miracles’ and “sometimes the confront of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of fantastic knowledge, quickly appears in these mountains.”

Equally exciting is the introduction to Tibet’s famed peaks like Jambeyang which at 5,958 metres is one of the tallest peaks in the world. But it is the appearance of the mountain that the creator presents in an evocative manner — “A sharp pointed splendor, wanting like a magician’s wand hidden powering a white handkerchief.”

Then and now

Writings on Tibet and western Sichuan are uncommon and the very last time we examine these types of an evocative narrative was most likely Vikram Seth’s From Heaven Lake (1983) in which he introduced the organic splendour of Tibet as perfectly as the bureaucratic machinery of China. The e book by Das is an easier browse in comparison which exhibits that irrespective of the many years in among, the other-worldly attractiveness of Tibet stays unspoilt.

Nonetheless, there are sizeable variances involving then and now. In Das’s narrative, Tibet is infrastructurally far better put. He writes about his go to to Daocheng which at 4,411 metres is 1 of the highest airports in the environment. The airport is applied for quicker journey to Sichuan which is well recognized for its cuisine all more than the earth.

The accounts of Sichuan are distinct from Tibet but present the relationship among mainland China and the Tibetan Autonomous Region. While Sichuan is brimming with its spice and western affect, Tibet has played a crucial part in drawing tourism to the location as showcased by the extensive existence of the popular caterpillar fungus in airport shops which are eaten in excellent quantity these days throughout China.

The area on Sertar in Tibet, a person of the best and surreal cities recognised for the exercise of Tibetan Buddhism, is perhaps the high stage of the ebook. The writer and his Singapore-centered Chinese spouse, Lobo, also experienced the playful side of the inhabitants. A single evening, a bunch of youthful Tibetans, who experienced experienced also a great deal to consume, saw the author and “pounced” on him — all for a photograph with an Indian. Lobo was temporarily worried.

The e-book reminds us that people-to-persons exchanges can continue to salvage relations concerning the two Asian giants.

The ‘Other’ Shangri-La Shivaji Das, Konark Publishers, ₹299.

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