In 1903-4 British Mission advanced over high Himalayan passes and across the rugged Tibetan plains to enter the Forbidden City of Lhasa. The main objectives of the mission were to secure trading rights with Tibet and to investigate rumours of a Russian plot to take Tibet.
This account of that mission, however, is much more than the catalogue of a military advance; it contains a wealth of new knowledge about a mysterious land of which so little was known.
We are taken on a journey through the many magical landscapes. From the damp, wispy lichen-clad, fairytale, rhododendron and magnolia forests of Sikkim and the pine-scented forests of the Chumbi Valley, we climb higher them, dominate the barren featureless plains and deep blue lakes.
Then there a5re the fabulous monastic buildings and forts, the magnificent Palkor Choide at Gyangtse, Drepung monastery and finally, towering above them all, the incomparable Patala, in Lhasa. The life of the people and their often-strange customs are described, as well as some of the colourful characters we met along the way. Some intriguing historical background adds to the picture. He explains the complex and baffling aspects of Tibetan Lamaism. He journeys to the heart of Buddhism in Asia, the Jokhang temple.
Perceval Landon’s account is perceptive, the clarity of his description is as clear as the luminescent blue Tibetan skies. The quality and depth of his observations give the reader a comprehensive, almost spiritual, grasp of this magical land. He illustrates this illustrious land in such a way as to grip one with an overwhelming desire to travel back in time to see the treasures of Tibet as they once were. Stark, forbidding, mysterious, mediaeval, haunting, whimsical and enchanting, old Tibet, a land lost in the mists of time.