Ganesh Saili’s “Wanderings Through The Garhwal Himalaya”, Niyogi Books | Reviewed by Varsha Singh

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
— Marcel Proust.

Through the eyes of Ganesh Saili what we see cannot be simply claimed to be a book but a voyage in itself, holding multiple stories, histories, memories, anecdotes, geographies, artistry and much more in addition to it. Wanderings Through the Garhwal Himalaya published by Niyogi Books is more like a tapestry weaved with delicate language which is more poetic than prosaic. Enriched with crucial references and details of historical significance, Ganesh Saili does not miss a chance to keep his text intact along with catchy, authentic and appropriate photographs translated through his lens since years.

“It was Baille Fraser, an accomplished amateur artist in India in the first quarte of the nineteenth century, who gave us our first sketch of Gangotri in 1815, printed in Views of the Himanchal Mountains in 1820. Following him, forty years later came Simpson, a professional landscape artist. He stayed in India between 1859 and 1862, resurrecting this very same scene, in the course of his travels he visited the Gaumukh glacier, the source of the Ganga. In typical understatement he says: ‘I had my morning dip below the glacier, and I drank a little water’.”
(p. 13)

“One cannot hope to go past Tehri without remembering the valiant martyr Sridev Suman who joined the blazed a trail into history with an eighty four day hunger strike. Nor can you ignore the drums at Maletha evoking memories of the warrior Madho Singh Bhandari: ‘Ek singh ran koh/ ek singh ban koh, ek singh Madho Singh/ Aur singh kai koh?’ (One lion to the battle, one to the forest, one called Madho Singh, are there others?)”
(p. 15)

A collage of twenty two essays along with an introduction, the book is a treat for life.

‘You may break; You may shatter the vase, if you will
But the scent of the roses will cling to it still.’

This book is a delightful collection of introspective essays on the Garhwal Himalaya and life around it. The author draws from his memories of being brought up in the mountains, pictures that linger like a waft of sweet perfume on a breezy afternoon. With affection, Ganesh Saili writes of his many journeys through these valleys wrapped in the mist, travelogues that evoke details of natural history interwoven into the delicate social fabric of mountain life. The book is a living tribute to the large-hearted sons of the soil, who, down the ages, have yoked the hills together, through thick and thin, good times and bad times, have laughed at the thunder and mocked the skies, have left for the plains only to return, again and again, to the call of the mountains.

The Garhwal Himalaya have always been much more than lumps of rock and ice—an enigma, a constant companion for travelers and explorers. Wanderings Through the Garhwal Himalaya is a gripping study of this incredible part of the Himalaya, which will make you want to be out there in the mountains amid sleet, snow, rain and wind.

About the Author

Ganesh Saili was born in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand. Growing up in the hills of Garhwal, from an impressionable age, he has trekked the high mountains recording in words and pictures the magic of his beloved peaks. Numerous periodicals, columns, journals and several books translated into over two-dozen languages are a living testimony of this love for the sheer swiftness of the wind and the magic air from his perch in the Himalaya. In this book, he takes the reader, ever so gently by the hand, through the hills in search of the footsteps of those wanderers who, down the centuries, have walked this narrow path and left their hearts behind forever. With more than fifty years of research as his base, this quintessential free bird, weaves a mesmerizing tapestry in images. What emerges from these pages is a voice of the Garhwal Himalaya.

Varsha Singh (M.Phil., Ph.D.) is an Independent Researcher, Critic, Poet, Translator and Editor from Jharkhand. She writes in English and Hindi. Along with being the Managing Editor of Reviews, she edits for several national and international journals.

Her published books include Deluges: A collection of poems, 2014, (Authorspress), Unbangled and other Poems, 2015, (Authorspress), Bhor – A Collection of Hindi Poems, 2016 (Authorspress), The Midnight’s Grandchildren: Articulating the Postmodern Spirit in English Fiction of India, 2017, (Authorspress), Parbati the traitor and other poems, 2017, (Authorspress), Recluse: Contemporary Verses, 2017 (Ed., Authorspress), Building Bridges: Kannada and Hindi Poetry (Co-authored, Upcoming in 2018 from Authorspress), A Transformative Poetic Art of DILIP MOHAPATRA (Ed., Upcoming in 2018, Authorspress). She has been widely featured in several journals, books and magazines.

One thought on “Ganesh Saili’s “Wanderings Through The Garhwal Himalaya”, Niyogi Books | Reviewed by Varsha Singh”

  1. Densely written review where every single sentence is speaking a lot about the nature of the book. Would love to venture through the pages.

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