Sometimes travelling is more than just destinations, sights and experiences. Travel serves the better purpose of familiarizing one with local customs and cultures.
Which is why, studying about your destinations are important. There is no shortage of great literature about Nepal written in English. Whether it’s about Nepal, its people and their manners, its mountains, hills and villages, stories set in the country you’re visiting will provide you with a new perspective and add another layer of excitement into planning your actual trip. If you are travelling to Nepal, spend some time reading these books. Reading about a country you will soon explore will make your adventures rich as knowledge makes it more fulfilling. There’s nothing like learning as much as you can before a trip to get the most out of it and to see the stories you read about come to life.
Mustang Bhot in Fragments –Manjushree Thapa
This book is an account of the two trips that Manjushree Thapa took to Mustang. It is a combination of history and geography culminating into a rich mosaic of interwoven stories of character that feel out of place and yet find relevance in a remote corner of a Himalayan country. The book is narrative, portraying the vast beautiful stretch of Mustang from the perspective of a perplexed newcomer. The writer uses conversations, analogies and anecdotes while also providing her reaction to the entire ordeal of living in the northern tip of the Himalayan country. The book is also part historical and provides a fresh social perspective on the culture, customs and pathos of the people of Mustang.
Shopping for Buddhas - Jeff Greenwald
This book takes the reader on a journey from the mountains to the labyrinthine alleys of Kathmandu in search of the perfect Buddha statue. In his search he encounters various amazing characters who give him an understanding of the life and times of the people of Kathmandu. The book also shares the dark side of Kathmandu especially when he talks about the 1990 revolution. It is as if his search for the right statue of Buddha is also his path to illumination. His narration is detailed and witty. In his journey he understands the Nepalese concept of art and spirituality that somehow seem to resonate amidst the chaos of Kathmandu.
Tiger for Breakfast-Michel Peissel
This is ideally a biography of the fantastically exciting and dramatic life of a Russian man, Boris Lissanevitch, tracing his childhood escaping the revolution, to his days living it up as part of a famous ballet troupe touring Europe and subsequent tour through Asia, leading to his setting up an exclusive club for socialites in Calcutta and finally becoming party planner and hotel owner in Kathmandu. The narrative explores the streets of Nepal
through this amazing character, intermingling whimsical incidents with a sound perspective of the country and its people. The descriptions of Nepal
are elaborate and there is never a dull moment throughout the book.
A Season in Heaven: True Tales from the Road to Kathmandu - David Tomory
This book deals with the history and culture of Asia through the true stories of travellers who have taken the hippie journey right up to Kathmandu in the 60’s. David Tomory had interviewed a bunch of travellers who went looking for enlightenment and peace and discovered a world that changed their lives forever. It deals with a wide range of subjects, from travel to drugs and then to eastern spirituality. These are stories and experiences that have a resonance that speak volumes to travellers who take the road to Kathmandu today. While Kathmandu has changed over the years, the general experiences and its enchantment remain the same. This book could still be about finding that enchantment even in a modern Kathmandu.
The Snow Leopard - Peter Matthiessen
This book is about the author’s two month stay in Nepal
. Along with biologist George Schaller, who is trying to study the elusive Blue Sheep, they hope to have a glance at the Snow Leopard. They make a journey
into the Himalayas and experience some surreal moments in the wild that have been brilliantly captivated by Matthiessen vivid narrative. His passages are evocative as he wonderfully describes the landscapes of Nepal
and its people. At some points in the book, it almost feels like the author is taking a spiritual journey
that compels him to find enlightenment or perhaps the Snow Leopard stands as a metaphor for his yearning for spirituality. This is a thought provoking book that gives you a great insight into Nepal