Spiti – The Grace of The Sublime (Review)

Spiti

The twin passions of travel and reading books have been my companions for quite some time and hence when I got an opportunity from Notion Press to review a book, I jumped at the chance.

The book arrived in a neat package and I was really impressed with what I saw, when I opened it.

The book was titled,”SPITI-The Grace of the Sublime”. and co-authored by Pratik Sharma and Kshitij Bader. It was a Coffee table book, with an interesting front and back cover. The front cover featured the colorful image of a Buddhist prayer wheel set against a light brown background. The back cover was split into two vertical halves, one half featured a little girl against the backdrop of white fluffy clouds at Spiti Valley while the second half featured a blurb. Instinctively, I smelled the book and inhaled the fragrance of the freshly printed book, before quickly leafing through it. I was pleased with the stunning pictures I saw and resolved to set away a couple of hours to go through the book in detail.

Spiti
Spiti
Spiti
Spiti
Spiti

Now that I have finished reading the book, I would like to share my thoughts about the book here. At the outset, let me tell you that this is a Coffee Table book and hence is a testimony to the adage that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The book is full of pictures and interspersed with text in the form of captions for the pictures as well as a brief narrative. With my passion for travel, I found the book gripping, specially so for it was about the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, one of the Northern States of India. I had never been to Spiti,  but was fascinated about it as it was one of the least populated areas of India and was supposed to be a paradise high up in the shadow of the Himalayan ranges.

As I pored through the pages of the book, the beauty and serenity of Spiti seemed to dance bewitchingly before me. As I read the narrative, I realized the passion the authors had for their subject and how they were swept away by the enchanting beauty of the place. They aptly mention in the Foreword, “Spiti valley is a land that is lost in time and space, feels like a place that humanity forgot about.”

The narrative begins with how the author was first smitten with love for Spiti when he saw some photographs of the place clicked by a friend. He had to wait for an agonizing period of six years before he finally got the call from the sublime valleys of Spiti. The author feels that it is no less than divine intervention which decided as to when was the opportune time for him to visit the place. Finally one day all the pieces fell into place and off he was embarking on a journey of discovery that would begin from the Indian capital city of Delhi and culminate in a place that was literally close to heaven, Spiti.

The book takes the reader on a mesmerizing journey through spectacular landscapes that range from lush green coniferous forests, apple orchards, Snowy Mountain slopes to barren stretches of rocky land.

Spiti

One can glimpse the markets of Manali and then move on to the famed Rohtang Pass that connects the valley of Kullu with the Lahaul and Spiti valleys. As the author mentions metaphorically, it is a journey from the terrestrial to the transcendental.

As you progress through the book you feel one with the author as he progresses on his journey passing through sparsely populated villages. You can feel the simple flavors of a meal that he has in one of the pit stops in the journey which in spite of its simplicity seems to him to be the most gratifying meal he has ever had. As the journey continues, the coniferous forests of Himachal Pradesh start to recede and slowly this is replaced by wide expanses of barren land covered with snow. The road becomes harder and the terrain tougher. The path to heaven is obviously not paved and is full of obstacles in more ways than one. As the group travels higher and higher, they seem to be serenaded by white, fluffy clouds and they try to catch the clouds by putting their hands out of the car they are traveling in.

The narrative is generously interspersed with photos that bring to life various aspects of the Spiti valley. White clouds against a deep blue sky, brown and barren stretches of land, Monks deep in meditation, children with their divine innocence, animals in blissful ignorance, colorful temples and monasteries, all and much more are captured lovingly by an awed camera’s lenses and reproduced on paper as a silent ode to the tranquility of nature and the seamless harmony of Man and nature.

Spiti

The book gives a good idea of what one can experience in Spiti, as well as on the journey that leads to this pristine destination. The narrative borders on the metaphysical and appeals to one’s innermost feelings of spirituality. The authors succeed in creating the image of a divine destination with some stunning pictures and lyrical prose. They succeed in describing the mystical and sublime aura of Spiti by weaving a web of images and words around the reader and ensnaring him in a magical world where one can feel the force of an unknown power in the air, a power close to divinity.

I liked the descriptive narrative and it blends harmoniously with the pictures and the destination itself. However I would have loved to see more of the Human angle in the book. There are references to local life in the narrative and the pictures too include images of local people going about their daily chores, but it would have been really great if the book had included more of this as it would have made the narrative more interesting and absorbing to the readers. An element of human drama would have definitely enhanced the book’s narrative and made it more gripping.

On the whole the book is really worth a read as it is definitely going to take the reader on an epic journey from the mundane and boring plane of everyday life to a magical and esoteric plane. The sum effect of the book is to leave you yearning and pining for a place called Spiti. To wait for that moment of reckoning when the grace of the sublime blesses you and you hear the call of the divine and packing your bags, you head out towards a blessed destination called Spiti.

About the Authors

Pratik Sharma is a professional photographer and interior designer as well as an avid traveler. It is his photographs that bring alive the beauty of Spiti on the pages of this book.

Kshitij Bader is the wordsmith whose lyrical style transports the reader into a world filled with the music of flowing rivulets, undulating pine trees and wildly beautiful landscapes. Kshitij is an Engineer with a Masters degree in Mass Communication.

About the Publisher

The book is from the stable of Notion Press, a technology start-up which provides publishing services to authors in India.

Spiti

Spiti
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Voyager - Sandy & Vyjay

We are a travel and lifestyle blogging couple, founder of Voyager site. We love to experience and enjoy this world and share these experiences with others to inspire them. We are self-confessed social media addicts.

56 thoughts to “Spiti – The Grace of The Sublime (Review)”

  1. Wow! From your words alone and the images you places here from the book you’ve captured my attention. My husband and I love to visit more remote areas in the world as they tend to offer a unique perspective on a place that you just can’t seem to find anywhere else. We recently went to Kinosaki Onsen in Japan and it was very nice to spend some time away from the busy cities and relax. I will definitely have to look into Spiti more.

  2. Its so great to go through your review. I was feeling so mesmerised even though I have already been to that place… it somewhere touched deep down my memories and reminded me of my journey

  3. My goodness, this book really takes your breath away. I can understand why you want to visit this area. After reading this, I would like to visit as well. The photos are stunning and so unique. Very nice review. Enjoyed reading it tremendously.

  4. Wow, some of the pictures really leave me speechless! Especially the on with the fortress reminds me so much to Gondor from Lord of the Rings. Just beautiful. Since I am very visual orientated I love to see these “picture experiences” because they give you already a very good impression.
    Spiti. I will not forget the name of this place since it is very clear to me now that I want to see this with my own eyes. Thank you a lot for sharing this!

  5. I love good travel books. The more colourful pictures, the more I like them. It´s also nice to read about travel strories, real things that happened to people while traveling, not just the travel guides with facts. This looks like a great book. Awesome find!

  6. WOah !!! The pictures are incredible . Its in my top priority to read this book and look at the beautiful images . I want to visit this place and feel the beauty but not to forget that the photographer has done theh justice to the beauty of SPITI !. Amazing .. Spiti – The Grace of The Sublime

  7. This is going to sound pretty odd but I too enjoy the smell of a freshly printed book.

    Anyways! I’ve heard amazing things about Himachal Pradesh (my friend raves about the hiking there) but I’ve never seen photos of the place… Those images are simply breathtaking! I’m usually horrid at buying gifts (be it birthday, christmas, whatever occasion) but this looks like an ideal gift – for myself!

  8. ”SPITI-The Grace of the Sublime” this is very interesting book, i would like to buy my own copy and look for any related books with it. thanks for sharing

  9. I love travel books because they inspire me to travel! These are all so lovely! The pictures are mesmerizing and I’m sure you’re going to feel like traveling after reading this!

  10. Seeing those pictures immediately made me want to read it even without coffee and a table! I love how you even described the outer parts of the book, that’s always a nice way to “judge a book by its cover”. India’s always a fascinating setting.

  11. India, myth and fantasy all combined makes me giddy to read all about it! This is certainly a great way to have a companion on the road with the characters involved!

  12. Wow! I love to read too! You are so lucky to get to review a nice book! I wish I will have an opportunity in the future to do a book review on my blog too. It is such a lovely book with all stunning captured photos! Cheers, SiennyLovesDrawing

  13. I have a bit of an addiction to coffee table books and love flicking through them. This one looks like a great read and the pictures look stunning too!

  14. This book really seems like the perfect gift for any traveler. I’d really love to see those images on paper and not a screen. Beautiful review, I really want to give the book a read now!

  15. Ah how I wish I had a coffee table to put this book on! I don’t know about the book inspiring me to visit Spiti but your words and descriptions of it have really inspired me to read this book. The images you have used are stunning. thanks for sharing.

  16. No wonder you have been asked to write a review, your post was very well-written and enjoyable. The book looks great too. I appreciate good travel pictures. Are you going to plan a trip to Spiti?

  17. From your description it seems like an incredible book. What an amazing looking place to share with the world. The land that time forgot sounds like a negative thing but it really is a positive in this case since it is so lovely there.

  18. Not really a bookworm but I find this book interesting. Though not really my line but sure that I would be interested in giving this a try of reading only if I get a copy. 😉

  19. The pictures in the book are so stunning and your write-up is also beautiful. We will definitely try to grab of copy of this book. We especially loved the cover of the book.
    We wish we could go to Spiti someday. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Wow! A very well written detailed review. I have been to Spiti Valley twice and still, I am not done with it. The name Spiti itself brings happiness to me and I get lost in the Midland landscapes. It is a Gods pure land and can surely turn anyone into a storyteller. I would love to check out this coffee table book.

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