Bob Gibbons and Sian Pritchard-Jones have been visiting Nepal since the mid 1970s. They have returned each year, usually to lead treks or to drive overland tours across India or Asia. For some years now they have been helping with the editing and production of out-of-print books and other volumes for Pilgrims Publications in Kathmandu. Their first venture with Pilgrims was the publication of a trekking guide to Mustang and one to Tibet, which Sian also translated into French. They broadened their knowledge considerably with the research, collating and publication of the Erotic Art of the Kathmandu Valley. This was followed by a comprehensive cultural guidebook-Kathmandu: Valley of the Green-Eyed Yellow Idol.
A guidebook to Swayambhunath is currently also underway. In 2006 they wrote two books for Pilgrims Publications, entitled Ladakh: Land of Magical Monasteries and Kailash and Gage: Land of the Tantric Mountain. For Cicerone Press, a well known British publisher of walking guides, they have written a trek-king guide to Kailash as well as an updated guide to the Grand Canyon and several of the other canyons in Utah. They have also travelled extensively in and across Africa, and have written the fourth edition of the Bradt travel guide Africa Overland, plus updated editions of the Maldives and Cape Verde Islands guides for the same publisher.
To the northeast of Kathmandu City lies the fabled Stupa of Boudhanath, set like the jewel that it represents. The great structure presents an evocative vision of peace and serenity. The all-seeing eyes watch over the devoted throng. On a clear day, the distant glistening glaciers of Ganesh Himal to the northwest, and the peaks of Jugal Himal to Gauri Shankar to the east, stand sentinel over the mighty monument. This is the place to head for if you are tiring or feeling in need of release from the tensions of the modern city life. Away from the vistas of temples and their erotic displays, delightful Boudha has an all-pervading, calming atmosphere.
This place offers distractions of a very relaxing nature. Pilgrims, red-robed monks and devotees walk clockwise, turning prayer wheels, around the base of the giant, all-seeing-eyed stupa. Evocative chants of Tibet sing out across the magical scene. 'Om Mani Padme Hum...' Sweet incense and the soothing aroma of burning juniper fill the air. Time stands still.
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