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Finding Shangri La: Visions of Ladakh and Spiti

Finding Shangri La: Visions of Ladakh and Spiti

Mahendra Singh

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Ancient adventurers have often spoken of a mystical land of perfect harmony and eternal bliss nestled in the forbidding remoteness of the Tibetan Plateau – the legendary Shangri La. No one has managed to pinpoint its exact location on a map. In the local belief system, Shangri La may well not be a place at all but rather the mental state of a pure and exalted body, speech and mind.

 Fascinated by this concept, the photographer and author Mahendra Singh set out on its quest. Most of it currently occupied by China, the Tibetan Plateau has been significantly distorted over time under state pressure. Therefore, the author travelled through some of the last surviving remnants of authentic Tibetan life found in the valleys of Ladakh and Spiti; often and justifiably referred to as ‘Little Tibet’.


He travelled through remote valleys, ventured across stark landscapes and visited the improbable green oases of human habitation, culture and religion, to bring together this comprehensive portrait of the region through his vivid photographs and meticulously researched text. This book aims to take the readers on a journey of discovery and reflection, and hopefully, a little further along the path to finding their own Shangri La.

As an officer of the Indian Revenue Service, Mahendra Singh has served in various capacities in the Income Tax Department all over the country. Despite the hectic schedule of his official responsibilities, for more than three decades, he managed to carve time out to pursue his private passion for wildlife and travel photography simultaneously. A total dedication to his craft when he is out with his cameras, coupled with careful research on his subjects of choice, has helped compensate for the paucity of time devoted to this parallel endeavour. 


Keen to develop a deep and a sensitive understanding of his subjects, Mahendra Singh has been eager to share his experiences with a larger audience, both through his photographs and writing. He has always found time to give talks on photography, wildlife and the environment. The meaningful images created by him and the meticulously researched articles have regularly been published in various newspapers, journals and periodicals. Several exhibitions of his photographs have been held, the last one at Jehangir Art Gallery of Mumbai. Having published two illustrated books on his travels earlier, he is in the process of finalising yet another one on his experiences with some of the large feline predators of India.

Roli Books
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Published Date
15 / 10 / 2021

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