SUBJECT: 4/5 WRITING STYLE: 2.5/5 PICTURES: 3.5/5 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5 OVERALL: 2.5/5
“The mount peak is where the ultimate aesthetic Shiva sits and meditates with Parvati which is the myth of Hinduism. It is the seat of the first Jain Tirthankara and is called Mount Sumeru. It is also known as the mystical mount in Bon religion which is a specific religion of the Tibetan people. In Tantric Buddhism, the Kailash is the home of Demchok Buddha and is a divine place that is most revered. All these religions see the Kailash Mansarovar as a divine place with vibrant spiritual energy.”
Anuj Tikku, Shankara: The Mansarovar Odyssey
Travelling is a drug and it is the only drug that I am addicted to. And because I am also a book lover the best combination of my two loves happen when I read a travel book or when I read a book while I am travelling. Hence, it is quite obvious that I love all kind of books about travel – be it travel guides, travel writing or travel stories.
I recently had a chance to read author Anuj Tikku’s latest book, Shankara: The Mansarovar Odyssey. Anuj Tikku is a blogger who blogs at www.tikkustravelthon.com. Read on to know my thoughts on the book and to know about my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect a book that is essentially a travel memoir but not a travel guide. Expect a book that takes you to the beautiful world of Kailash-Mansarovar yatra and takes you through the entire experience in just 50 pages. Expect a book that also has a lot of pictures to complement the author’s personal experiences of the journey.
Finally, expect a book that specifically talks about the experience of the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra which the author had undertaken as a part of Isha foundation’s annual tours.
Who can read?
Shankara: The Mansarovar Odyssey can be picked up by just anyone because of the simple language and a flowy style of writing.
The beautiful pictures
One of the best things about this book are the pictures that the reader gets to feast her eyes on. Just one look at all those amazing pictures of the snowcapped Kailash Parvat and the pristine blue lakes is enough to calm one’s mind and boost the reading experience manifold. Not to mention a slight tang of jealousy that the reader feels on missing out on such an invigorating experience.
A Bonus of sorts
A surprise bonus is when the reader realizes that not just Kailash and Mansarovar but the book also takes us on a journey to the mystic land of Bhutan and the calm and serene Spiti Valley. Reading about Bhutan and its many wonders is indeed an inspiring experience.
What did I like?
Shankara: The Mansarovar Odyssey not just takes you through the yatra but also gives some very useful practical tips and advice. The specific details of how to obtain the permits, how long the yatra lasts, how to prepare for the yatra, and what kind of costs are involved are some of the useful things that I learned with the help of this book.
With the aid of his candid writing, Anuj is also able to take the reader along on his yatra. This book has a spiritual bend and I absolutely love the way the intangible takeaways of the yatra have been described.
What I did not like?
The worst part about the book is its editing. In addition to spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and poor sentence construction, the book also lacks a good copy editing. There are chapters that are mentioned under incorrect sections, chapters which have been repeated in totality and many such obvious issues that greatly reduce the reading pleasure.
What could have been better?
I felt that the book was a little too short for my liking. Had it been a tad lengthier with more chapters on the yatra itself, I would have liked it much more. An ideal travel book should at least be a hundred pages or more in length. Also, the chronology of the book was a little messy. Chapters that should have been included in the beginning are featured towards the conclusion part and vice versa.
In the end
In the end, Shankara: The Mansarovar Odyssey is a mediocre read which definitely has a lot more potential than it actually ends up delivering. I can’t help but reiterate that with a little more effort and determination the book can be turned into a really engrossing experience.
Pick it up if
- Travel and travel writing interests you.
- You want to read about the personal experiences of a travel blogger who has been to the holy yatra of Kailash-Mansarovar.
- You are looking for a really short read.
Skip it if
- You don’t like books on travel or travel writing.
- You can’t stand poorly edited books.
- You don’t like short and crisp reads.
- You aren’t interested in reading about the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy a copy of Shankara: The Mansarovar Odyssey using the link below.