15 June, 2021

Our Snowy Guardian

From petroglyphs to myths, people to climate change—a fitting history of the Himalayas

Our Snowy Guardian

Tigers with wings, man-eating birds and petrified sea shells on the heights of Everest—Step­hen Alter has del­ved into the wilds of the Himalayas from top to bottom, covering every asp­ect. His is a natural history of the world’s greatest mountain range and the perfect extension of all his other mountain books. Living in Landour, at the hilltop town of the great mounta­INS, Stephen Alter has dedicated much of his time to exploring the hills and valleys of the Himalayas as they sprawl across the roof of the subcontinent.   

His quest to find what lies beneath the myths and the geology takes him across Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Tibet, the regions traversed by the mou­ntains. At one point, he writes that Raja Himalaya was compared to a man in the ancient texts, bathing, spreading his sho­­ulders and arms out on either side. The comparison seems quite fitting, bec­a­use the Himalayas were pushed up as the earth’s crust moved so that the peaks have whorled rocks with spiral shell imprints.


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