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Book Review: Wanderings through the Garhwal Himalaya

Author Ganesh Saili’s readers are in for a treat. Five years after ‘Gupp and Gossip,’ ‘Mussoorie Years,’ and ‘The Letters of a Mussoorie Merchant’ by Niyogi Books, Saili’s latest book, ‘Wanderings through the Garhwal Himalaya,’ has just reached the stands. “It’s a blend of years of 40 years of photography, a lifetime of work and stars in my eyes,” says the author.

In two hundred pages or twenty-odd essays, the book takes you on a journey of, recording in words and images a world of magic. For someone who grew up steeped in love and lore for the mountains, he says: “This book is a one-way ticket to my roots, it’s inspired by frequent trips into the hills that were once our home in the hills.”

The Garhwal Himalaya begins with the author’s father, all of sixteen years old, leaving his home in the hills, the ancestral village of Sail, in the border district of Chamoli to find work in the hill station of Mussoorie. Saili writes: “Out here came my father, as a sixteen-year-old, with little more than his dreams. He had joined the male exodus from our village in the remote hills of Chamoli, in search of any job that would give him some money. If time travel were possible, you would have found a strapping lad, with little baggage other than his dreams, undecided what to do or where to go next.”

And little has changed since then. The villages of the Garhwal Kumaon Himalaya a stretch of 200 miles are bereft of male presence those left behind are women, young children and the elderly.

Wandering Through the Garhwal Himalaya makes for an excellent reading for those who left for the plains only to return, again and again, to the call of the mountains.

Text by Tania Bakshi

Images courtesy: Niyogi Books

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