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Thubron, Colin, To a Mountain in Tibet (London: Chatto and Windus, 2011).

Mount Kailas is the most sacred of the world’s mountains – holy to one fifth of humanity. Isolated beyond the central Himalayas, it is claimed by myth to be the source of the universe created from cosmic waters and the mind of Brahma.

Its summit has never been scaled, but for centuries the mountain has been ritually circled by Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims.Colin Thubron joins these pilgrims, after an arduous trek from Nepal, through the high passes of Tibet, to the magical lakes beneath the slopes of Kailas itself.

This haunting and beautiful travel book links Colin Thubron’s sympathetic intuition with the force and poetry of his descriptive writing. He talks to secluded villagers and to monks in their decaying monasteries; he tells the stories of exiles and of eccentric explorers from the West.

Yet there is another dimension in To A Mountain in Tibet. Colin Thubron recently witnessed the death of the last of his family. He is walking on a pilgrimage of his own. His trek around the great mountain, revered by multitudinous others, awakes an inner landscape of solitude, love, grief, restoring precious fragments of his own origins.

This is travel writing at its consummate best from an author of unsurpassable experience, sensitivity, and sheer lyrical power.


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Studies in Travel Writing (journal)
Centre for Travel Writing Studies (Nottingham Trent University)

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