A billion lives depend on the waters of the Himalayas; sixty million live in this mountain range, while the rest live in its foothills, on the plains of the Indian subcontinent. For them, the Himalayas are a providential water tower. Despite their astonishing diversity, all these peoples share the common belief that this is a “Sacred Land”, and this mountain range is, above all, the “Abode of Snow”—where pure water springs, rivers gush and lakes are crystal-clear. This volume shares with our readers the astonishing variety of bonds formed between man and water in the Himalayas.
Born from the eternal snows, in the most mystical land on earth, water perfectly embodies the essence of purity. In the Himalayas, water inspires a growing number of people even while it continues to frighten them. It can at times unite them and at other times divide them, provide for them and bring death. In this mosaic of peoples, languages, religions and lands, it plays a vital part in the geographical distribution of the various ethnic groups, their social organization and the way they see themselves.
About the authors
Serge Verliat is a professor of geography in Reunion Island, France, and author of several research papers on the Himalayas since 1980. He has a PhD in geography and a master’s degree in anthropology. Verliat is fluent in Nepali. Jean Philippe, a photographer, has exhibited his black and white silver prints at the Museum of Man in Paris in 1995 as part of the exhibition “The Meeting: Two Eyes.” He is also the author of two books, Mafate, Ile de La Reunion, and La Fournaise volcano Ile de La Reunion.