Tropical leaves frame snow-covered peaks. A tiger prowls in the lowlands and a yak inspects his harem in the highlands. People follow the cycles of the agricultural year and the daily and weekly rhythms of urban markets. Women pray at Hindu shrines and monks sip tea in Buddhist monasteries. These are parts of the world where art evokes the deities and dances give joy to the spirit. These are lands and people of the Himalayas.
Created from the collision of the Indian subcontinent with the rest of Eurasia, the Himalayas rise up like a great wall effecting climate and life styles on both sides of the mighty ranges. Sid and Mary Lee Nolan explore Nepal from the Hindu cities of the Kathmandu Valley to the river threaded Terai lowlands with their famous Royal Chitwan National Park and Lumbini, birthplace of the Buddha. After an excursion to Pokaran, with its views of the dramatic Annapurna Range, the Nolan’s continue to Ladakh, India’s “Little Tibet”. After traveling along the upper Indus River during the harvest season, they explore the city of Leh, perched above the Indus River Valley at an altitude of 11,975 feet. Here, they learn more about Buddhist traditions before venturing beyond the city, to historic monasteries where monks preserve a Tibetan Buddhist heritage that was repressed in Tibet after the Chinese takeover there in the 1950s.