Inside Forbidden Tibet
When Lowell Thomas Jr.s' father, received an invitation from his holiness, the Dalai Lama, to visit Lhasa, in the year 1949, it was he beginning of great adventure. The route selected for this journey was through Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, via the caravan route over Nathula-a 14,800 foot pass. Even till the year of 1949 Lowell Thomas and his father were just about the eighth set of Americans to officially reach Lhasa.
This was the early years of India's independence and a time of turmoil for the fourteenth Dalai Lama, at that time, a sixteen year old lad. This travelogue encounters some interesting characters like the last British in Indian Foreign Service, Hugh Richardson; Madame David Neel, the first woman to reach the Forbidden city and one of the most remarkable oriental scholars - Sir Charles Bell the closest Westerner to the Dalai Lama and one who was his dearest friend and advisor, when his holiness was in exile in Darjeeling. Above all the author's encounter with the young Dalai Lama is the central focus of this remarkable narrative.
The author gives graphic descriptions of the Tibetan religion and life of ordinary Tibetans which even at the middle of this century was untouched by western technology or culture. Even a visit to Lhasa had to be on foot as nothing on wheels could enter the holy city.
This is a famous travelogue by a famous author, remarkable for its rare insight and photographs.
Dalai Lama fled to India to escape Chinese persecution in 1959. New generation of Tibetans born in free India, now know what freedom means. But they are not citizens of India, but still refugees. Their voice is weak and not heard by world bodies.
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