Author can send you to sleep about Ladakh. H anyone has the ultimate dossier on this land, it is he, after years of running about India's northernmost region, administering and adventuring his way around its desert plains, passes and lakes. Along the way, he discovered that Kargil (Kartse Khar) and Leh (near Khaltse) had large Buddhas carved into the mountainside, noticed that the 'World's purest Aryans', the Drokpas, weren't amused by suggestions that there was mass kissing at their festival, and taught himself polo on the endless Kargyak plains, the highest inhabited place in the world.
Author created the Ladakh Festival in 1993 to promote Ladakh within India. A militant organisation threatened to kill every employee of the state Tourism department who worked on that festival. So, Parvez organised the festival with the help of two employees from outside, himself playing bus conductor and tour operator to the visiting media team. The Festival is now an established institution.
The next year seven thitherto 'restricted' areas (including the Pangong Lake, Tsomo Riri, Nubra and parts of Da Hanu) were thrown open to tourists because of. Parvez, but he got bounced back from Siachen. He introduced the Suru Valley and Goshan-Murad Bagh to the national and international media, and waited for weeks to sight the snow leopard. He was luckier with the wild ass,. Brahmini ducks and black-necked cranes, though.
The first officer of India's elite Civil service, the lAS, to be posted in Zanskar, Parvez Dewan's innings in Ladakh started on a note that was to bind him to the culture of this exciting land. On his third day in Zanskar, on a tour of the Char gorge, he found himself trapped in a huge snowstorm (inside a comfortable house, though). He spent that week learning the Bodhi (Ladakhi) alphabet. This later led to his writing Ladakhi-English and Ladakhi-German phrasebooks and translating a Ladakhi epic.
In this first-of-its-kind encyclopaedic guide to Ladakh, Parvez Dewan shares in detail his interest and excitement in the fabled land that has been the arena of his adult life: an up-to-date yet timeless guide to the magical trinity of Leh, Kargil and Zanskar that crowns the sub-continent of India.
Author: Parvez Dewan
Features: HB, Manas