1930s Ladakh – The Lost World

The crossroads of high Asia‘, ‘the land of Gods and humans‘, ‘the last Shangri-La‘, and ‘little Tibet‘ are just some of the names given to Ladakh by Western travellers who made their way to this Himalayan kingdom in the 19th, and early 20th centuries. An important trading route between India and China, Ladakh was at a strategic location, with unique geographical features and hardy people that has kept the place in the limelight to this day.

Between 1931, and 1934, Claude Rupert Trench Wilmot, a British officer stationed in Northern India, mainly in Rawalpindi and Multan (currently in present day Pakistan) made two journeys to the Himalayas, to indulge in his hobby of travel and natural history photographer. From his efforts, a superb collection of 150 black-and-white photographs of Ladakh emerge.

With unique geographical features and hardy people Ladakh has been in the limelight to this day.

Capturing the final days of the trade routes between Tibet and Kashmir, India and Yarkand, the photos show portraits of people, landscapes and Buddhist ceremonies taken by Claude. Notable for their careful composition, fine detail and engaging informality, this is a work of considerable historical and ethnographic interest.

Fully digitized and published in 2014, the book is available for free download here.

In the latter part of the 20th century, a traveller on a motorcycle explores Ladakh and the Spiti Valleys. In early 2013, I did my own ‘pilgrimage’ to Ladakh, part of my pan-India motorcycle trip.

Image source

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9 thoughts on “1930s Ladakh – The Lost World

  1. I had been looking for this! I had seen these images somewhere in Ladakh while I was biking around but I wanted to have the Book – the Download link doesnt work though, can you reshare it.

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