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The leader of the Tibetan caravan from the far northern Humla village of Limi has traveled over five days to trade changla sheep wool for walnuts and butter.  He bargains with a Bhotia woman from the village of Yakba for nuts, a mountain delicacy.
Bonds of tradition link old and young in a Mani dance at Limitang village.
Sarasoti, an exhausted but proud Chhetrini, pauses from pounding grain.  In addition to beaded necklaces from trading trips in India, silver coins from British-ruled India, fashioned by kamis, the blacksmith caste of Humla, adorn her chest.
The wealthy horse-shoe shaped Bhotia village of Bargaon.  At 9,700 feet, Bargaon is rich with terraced fields that overlook an endless ocean of misty blue mountains.
Melting mountain snow creates meandering glacial streams in the Chosa Valley basin, ideal for grazing animals.  No laws govern these grazing grounds, yet villagers respect the rights of those who come first.
Hidden Himalayas
Photographs by Thomas L. Kelly
Text by V. Carroll Dunham


Size: 9 7/8 x 9 7/8", 
Cloth, 200 pages
166 full-color illustrations
Published 2001
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0722-7
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An intimate gaze into one of the last truly exotic places on earth.

"Mr. Kellys photographs are beautiful. Both opportunistic and tactful, they...capture a moment at first glance picturesque, then luminously revealing." -- The New York Times Book Review

"With a wealth of color photographs and gifted words, The Hidden Himalayas captures the seasons of Humlas world, spectacularly beautiful as it is incredibly harsh." -- San Diego Magazine

"Its not your average traveler who treks through Nepal, but this fabulous collection of photographs provides the next best thing." -- McCalls

Two young Americans take us to Humla, an ancient territory at the edge of Nepal where no Westerner has ever lived before. In breathtaking photographs and evocative prose, Thomas Kelly and Carroll Dunham capture Humlas limitless vistas and disclose intimate details of the lives of its extraordinary people: yak herders, caravan drivers, shamans, and brides who are shared among brothers.

Here is a land of eternally snow-capped mountains and sweeping valleys. A land as eerie and forbidding as the landscape of some distant moon, its people all but forgotten by the rest of the world. Their lives are a struggle — the alpine soil metes out sustenance grudgingly, and long winters threaten to banish the warmth of life forever. Yet these lives yield untold riches. As if the splendid isolation and sheer altitude of the hidden Himalayas bring them closer to the gods, the people of this land are possessed of a spirituality few Westerners will ever know.

Kellys extraordinary photographs are accompanied by Dunhams evocative and lyrical account of life as the people of Humla conceive it: a cycle of fall, winter, spring, and summer. In a world made easy, accessible, and all too familiar by supersonic travel, television, and communication at the click of a mouse, here is an enlightening glimpse into the lives of a virtually untouched people.

Born in New Mexico and educated in Chicago and Rome, Thomas L. Kelly served as a Peace Corps volunteer and as a program director for CARE. Fluent in the Nepalese language, he has established an audiovisual business in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he now lives.

V. Carroll Dunham is an anthropologist and writer who is director of Sojourn Nepal, a program that promotes self-growth through interaction with Tibetan and Nepalese culture.

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