Praven Dewan can send you to sleep about Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. If anyone has the Ultimate Dossier on this region, it is he, after years of running about India’s northernmost state, administering and adventuring his way around its valleys, peaks and rivers.
Along the way he chanced upon shrines located on Indian soil, the devotees of which lived mostly across the line of control and opened up to tourists the Pangong lake and other areas at around 14000 that are partly under the Indian flag and partly in China occupied territory.
Nature obviously, does not recognise man-made barriers. There are goats that graze on China-occupied pastures but come to the Indian side to scratch off their priceless shahtoosh wool. A flood that rapidly roared downhill through Indian hills devastating everything that it touched during the course of half a day, slowed down when it reached the plains occupied by Pakistan, causing havoc for several days, neither side could help the other much except to send back people swept away by the floods. But then came an earthquake that destroyed villages on both sides of the artificial line. The author was part of the official team that went across for several days with material help.
It is the same people on both sides of the line, the same architecture, polo, languages, songs, tales, culture and problems. Identical hills, lakes and mountain peaks. This is why travelers from third countries as well as the two Indian generations that have grown up after 1947 want to hear the study of the fabled land across the line of control.
In this book, which covers (almost) every aspect of the people and culture of the occupied territories that Pakistan calls Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, as well as territory occupied by China, Parvez Dewan shares in detail his excitement and interest in the fabled land that has been the arena of his adult life: through an up to date yet timeless guide to the magical trinity of occupied Jammu, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan-Ladakh that crowns the sub-continent of India.