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Title:Lands of the Thunderbolt: Sikhim, Chumbi and Bhutan
Remarks:B&W Photographs, Index and Map.
Size:140 x 215 mm
Like an angry, wrathful demon whose spirit is aroused to a fiery tempestuousness, the thunderbolt crashes to earth with an indestructible power, with venom as strong as a vicious serpent.
The thunderbolt is known in the Himalayas as the Vajra or Dorje. It is an unusual elongated bell-shaped vessel whose configuration belies its strength in the hearts of the Himalayan people. It is a symbol of unity and strength across Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan.
Lord Ronaldshay's explorations take him from hillsides of tea plantations, through Tolkienesque, impossibly luxuriant forests, to juniper bush moorlands, across barren plateaux and to the foot of the sublime sentinels of the Himalayas. Along the way he endeavours with perception, wit, humour and insight to illuminate the story of Buddhism in these jasmine-and juniper-scented mountains.
The pure Buddhism of the Gautama is lost from the Indian plains, metamorphosed by Tantrics. Carried across the mountains, it merges with pagan animism, reincarnated in L complex and baffling form. Its concepts adapted and broadened; its purity visible but masked by imagery of fanciful daring.
A remarkable tale of adventure, learning, excitement and culture, this volume stands the test of time, a classic, a fascinating record of the colonial exploration of the northeastern Himalayas.