Books on the History
of Central Asia, India, Nepal and Tibet
from Pilgrims Publishing, Varanasi, India and Pilgrims Book House, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Click here for books on the history of:
Central Asia

Bhutan ***

Bhutan and Tibet: An Account of an Embassy to the Court of the Teshoo Lama in Tibet, Containing a Narrative of a Journey through Bootan and Part of Tibet, 1774-1783

by Captain Samuel Turner

In 1772 the Bhutanese invaded the neighbouring kingdom of Cooch Behar, whose rulers appealed to the East India Company in Calcutta, Bengal, to help them drive the invaders out of their kingdom. The British governor general, Warren Hastings, sent troops who drove the Bhutanese out of Cooch Behar and back into Bhutan.

Then the rulers of Bhutan, a dependency of Tibet, appealed to the Teshoo Lama (another name for the Panchen Lama) of Tibet to sue for peace and mediate with the British. A peace treaty was signed in April 1774 between Bhutan and the British. In May 1774 George Bogle was sent on a trade mission to Tibet, passing through Bhutan on the way (this expedition provided the first Western view of the isolated kingdom of Bhutan).

In 1783 another expedition travelled to Bhutan and then to Tibet. It was led by Samuel Turner, a draughtsman and surveyor, and one result was this book with its interesting journal and superb paintings providing a much more detailed view of Bhutan for Western readers.

Hardback. 501 pages.
Weight: 1600 g (56 oz).
Item No: 8177693131.
Price: $US 37.50. . Convert Currency


Political Missions to Bootan

by Ashley Eden

"A wonderfully Victorian account of Bhutan. Eden disliked the people and their habits intensely and after reading a few pages, you'll have a better idea of why Eden was treated so badly by the Trongsa penlop (governor) when he arrived in Panakha." -- Stan Armington, Bhutan (Lonely Planet)

Beginning with an historical overview of British relations with Bhutan in the 19th century, the book then gives exhaustive accounts of Hon. Ashley Eden's mission which left Darjeeling in November 1863 and Capt. R. Boileau Pemberton's diplomatic mission of 1837-38.

Reprint of the 1865 original edition.
Paperback. 394 pages. B&W drawings. Table.
Weight: 660 g (23.1 oz).
Item No: 8177693088.
Price: $US 9.50. . Convert Currency


Royal Bhutan

by Ram Rhaul

A short political history of the kingdom of Bhutan.

Hardcover. 101 pages. B&W illustrations. Bibliography; index.
Item No 8125902325.
Price: $US4.00. . Convert Currency


*** Central Asia ***

Early Jesuit Travellers in Central Asia, 1603-1721

by C Wessels

This unusual book gives an insight into the often forgotten pioneering travel and discovery by Jesuit missionaries in Asia, especially Tibet. This book is a compilation of geographical, historical and cultural information collected by the Jesuits during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Each chapter details fascinating first impressions of people and things unseen by any Europeans before. A valuable source of information for anyone interested in the early exploration of the Himalayan region.
"Although few of the European travellers to Tibet in the 19th century realised it, much of the ground that they were exploring had already been traversed by the Jesuit missionaries over 100 years before. This book, based on manuscript as well as printed sources, chronicles the journeys of all the Jesuits who reached Tibet. The most interesting journeys are those of Stephen Cacella and John Cabral (1626-32) who visited Gyantse and Shigatse, John Grueber and Albert d'Orville (1661-64) who travelled from China through eastern Tibet to Lhasa and then went on to India, and Ippolito Desideri (1714-22) who travelled from Kashmir along the Tsangpo to Lhasa." - John Whelpton, Tibet (Clio Press)

Paperback. 233 pages. Foldout map.
Weight: 255 g (8.9 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-105-3.
Price: $US 5.30. . Convert Currency



When Men and Mountains Meet: Explorers of the Western Himalayas, 1820-1875

by John Keay

Here is a classic and riveting account of the 19th Century explorations of the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges. This was the period of the Great Game of rivalry between British India and Russia. It was the time when Central Asia beckoned to adventurers and explorers as a domain of vast riches and fabled cities unvisited since the times of Marco Polo, blocked only by the towering Western Himalayas, a seemingly inpenetrable barrier between British India and Central Asia and Inner China beyond. For over 50 years, beginning with the great mountaineer Moorcroft, the explorers attempted to find a way across these huge mountains.

Hardcover. 277 pages. Bibliography; index.
Item No 8172233868.
Price: $US6.95. . Convert Currency


India ***

Delhi: City of Yoginis

by Suphal Kumar

Delhi: City of Yoginis searches into the innermost heart of the sacred space, known to the modern world as New Delhi. Suphal Kumar has amply described its history, both ancient and modern. He has created a whole new perspective in his vision of Delhi.

"This book should be an eye opener and a jolt back to reality and the realisation that it is time to search for one's roots not in the by lanes of London or New York but here in Delhi, the seat of a heritage still unfathomed by those closest to it." -- Christopher N Burchett

Hardback. 283 pages.
Weight: 350 g (12.3 oz).
Item No: 8177694928.
Price: $US 6.00. . Convert Currency


The Railways in Assam: 1885-1947

by Sarah Hilaly

The introduction of the railways into Assam by the British was a major event in the economy of India, and Assam in particular. The Railways in Assam describes the impact and changes the railways brought about on trading patterns, demographics, the local population and industrial development. Well researched and covering a wide canvas, it would be a perfect read for those interested in economic history, for those who would like to know more about the history of Assam, and railway buffs.

The author, Sarah Hilaly, is a senior lecturer in the Department of History, Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh. Sarah, born in Silchar, completed her post-graduation from North Eastern Hill University in 1984, and obtained her doctoral degree from Arunachal University in 2002. A member of the Indian History Congress and the North East India History Association, she has to her credit a number of research articles, covering various aspects of economic history of the North Eastern Region.

Hardback. 283 pages. Appendix. Tables. Glossary. Bibliography. Index.
Weight: 650 g (22.8 oz).
Item No: 8177694227.
Price: $US 13.25 . Convert Currency


A Short Account of the Antiquity of Hindu Medicine

by David C Muthu

Paperback. 53 pages.
Weight: 60 g (2.1 oz).
Item No: 8177692879.
Price: $US 1.75. . Convert Currency


Thug, or a Million Murders

by Colonel James L Sleeman. Foreword by Sir William T F Horwood

Here is the spine-chilling account of the notorious murderers known as Thugs whose speciality was waylaying and strangling unsuspecting travellers on the high roads of India in the British and pre-British period. Thugee was a mysterious and murderous religious cult which blotted the life of India for over three hundred years. The history of Thugee is recorded here by the grandson of Major General Sir William Sleeman, whose almost superhuman endeavours led to the final suppression of the cult.

The true details about the Thugs recounted here would seem an extravagant exaggeration even in the world of fiction. These Thugs were not so much common murderers as men brought up in a faith which regarded the killing of people as a legitimate sport both praiseworthy and lucrative. He executed his murders not by means of ordinary weapons of assassination but by the skilful use of the most harmless weapon in the world, the "ruhmal" or common handkerchief. The most astounding fact about the typical Thug is that as a rule, apart from from the murders he committed, he was a good citizen and model husband devoted to his family.
The description given here of the Thug expeditions and how they befriended and killed innocent travellers is compiled from actual facts. Several Thugs whose actual recollections and confessions are given in these pages strangled many hundreds of persons.

Hardback. 246 pages. B&W photographs and diagram.
Weight: 405 g (14.2 oz).
Item No: 81-7624-045-1.
Price: $US 5.99. . Convert Currency



*** Nepal ***

For books on Nepal's Maoist rebellion, click here

Advanced History of Nepal

by T.R. Vaidya

In this survey the author has dealt with two important aspects of Nepalese history: the expansion of Gorkha which unwittingly led to the formation of modern Nepal; and the long history of conspirational politics of the Nepalese court.

Hardback. 208 pages. Bibliography; index.
Weight: 380 g (13.3 oz).
Item No: 8170419972.
Price: $US5.75. . Convert Currency


Bahadur Shah: The Regent of Nepal - 1785-1794 A.D.

by B.R. Bajracharya

Shah ruled Nepal from 1785 to 1794. This book is based on unpublished documents and papers, from home and abroad, and is a rare piece of research.

Hardback. 363 pages. Index.
Weight: 540 g (18.9 oz).
Item No: 8170416434.
$US4.75. . Convert Currency


Caravan to Lhasa: Newar Merchants of Kathmandu in Traditional Tibet

by Kamal Tuladhar

Tibet, known as the Forbidden Land, was closed to outsiders. But Nepal enjoyed a special cultural and trade relation with Tibet following the royal wedding of Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti and Tibetan King Songsten Gampo in the seventh century. Many Buddhist teachers and artisans led by Arniko contributed to shaping and enriching Tibetan Buddhism. A considerable trade started by Singh Sarth Bahu of Thamel flourished between Nepal and Tibet.

Kamal Tuladhar comes from a Newar family that had a trading house, Ghorasyar, in Lhasa He narrates the story of Katmandu's Lhasa Newar traders through the personal experiences and incidents encountered by the members of his family and the people who had served as assistant salesmen in his family business in Lhasa. And he has successfully captured the spirit and environment of the period prior to the 1950s.

Paperback. 136 pages. B&W photographs. Map.
Weight: 200 g (7 oz).
Item No: 9993387851.
$US2.50. . Convert Currency


Diary of Events in Nepal, 1841-1846

by B.R. Bajrachary

Hardback. 121 pages. Bibliography.
Weight: 275 g (9.6 oz).
Item No: 8174881662.
Price: $US3.50. . Convert Currency


Heroes and Builders of Nepal

by Rishikesh Shaha

The great men and women who have ruled, defended and influenced Nepal over its long history are vividly brought to life in this book.

From ancient Nepal we meet the Buddha who founded the world religion and Princess Bhrikuti who took Buddhism from Nepal to Tibet. From medieval Nepal we make the acquaintance of A-ni-ko, the architect and artisan of genius who worked for Kublai Khan in China, and the Malla kings who presided over a golden age of wealth and architecture in the Kathmandu Valley. From modern Nepal, we meet Prithvi Narayan Shah, who unified Nepal; Balabhadra, a brave Gurkha warrior who so impressed his British enemies that they erected a monument in his honour; Bhanubhakta, who first translated the Ramayana into Nepali; and King Tribhuvan and King Birendra, who have overseen Nepal's transition to democracy. Many other Nepali heroes are also described in detail.

This book was recommended by: Hugh Finlay, Nepal (Lonely Planet).

Paperback. 105 pages. B&W photograph and map.
Weight: 140 g (4.9 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-131-2.
Price: $US 2.95. . Convert Currency


The King Versus the People

by Bhesh Jung Badal

Discusses the Nepali constitution and constitutional developments in Nepal in the 19th century.

Paperback. 151 pages. B&W illustrations.
Weight: 170 g (6 oz).
Item No: N00004029.
Price: $US2.95. . Convert Currency


Making of Modern Nepal

by Ram Niwas Pandey

A study of the history, art and culture of the principalities of Western Nepal. Making of Modern Nepal is a mammoth tribute at the creative energy of the people of Western Nepal in shaping the fate and distinct identity of the Himalayan kingdom. Dr. Pandey is one of Nepal's most highly acclaimed historical and cultural critics.

Hardback. 811 pages. B&W illustrations. Bibliography.
Weight: 1055 g (36.9 oz).
Item No: 8185693374.
Price: $US18.25. . Convert Currency


Memoirs of Jail

by Siddhicharan Shrestha. Translated from the Nepali by Laxmi D Rajbhandari.

Memoirs of Jail tells the shocking story of the imprisonment of the great Nepali poet, Siddhicharan Shrestha, in the 1940s when Nepal was under the autocratic, tyrannical rule of the Ranas. It depicts the dreadful and torture-filled prison life of Shrestha and his fellow political prisoners, many of whom were executed for their opposition to the Ranas.

The book is a living historical memorial to the suffering and growing rebellious spirit of the people of those times. It will inspire present and future generations to defend and uphold democracy.

"This book is not a fantasy, but is built on lives really lived; precious lives that were selflessly spent by the author and the martyrs for the right to live as human beings." -- Laxmi D Rajbhandari

Paperback. 150 pages. B&W photographs.
Weight: 250 g (8.8 oz).
ISBN: 8177691945.
Price: $US 2.00. . Convert Currency


Nepal and the British India

by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Hardback. 374 pages. Bibliography.
Weight: 650 g (22.8 oz).
Item No: 8174881840.
Price: $US9.25. . Convert Currency


Nepal and the Nepalese

by Lieut. Col. G.H.D. Gimlette

Nepal and the Nepalese is one of the most authentic and useful histories written on Nepal. The author was a residency surgeon in Kathmandu between 1883 and 1887 and this book, based on his personal experiences, describes many important events during that time, including the coup of Bir Shamsher and his brothers against their uncle and the prime minister.

"[This book's] major value lies in its description of contemporary politics [of the 1880s], and in particular of the 1885 coup, during which the surviving members of Jang Bahadur's family took refuge in the Residency." -- John Whelpton, Nepal (World Bibliographical Series)(Clio/ABC)

Hardback. 209 pages.
Weight: 410 g (14.4 oz).
Item No: 817041797X.
Price: $US7.00. . Convert Currency


Nepal: A Study of Socio-Economic and Political Change

by T.R. Vaidya

Thoroughly original and authorative, the book will remain a significant contribution to the general reader interested in Nepalese history.

Hardback. 232 pages.
Weight: 390 g (13.7 oz).
Item No: 8170416809.
Price: $7.00. . Convert Currency


The Palace in Nepalese Politics - with Special Reference to the Politics of 1951-1990

by Sanu Bhai Dangol

Paperback. 271 pages. Bibliography.
Weight: 300 g (10.5 oz).
Item No: N000023801.
Price: $US7.75. . Convert Currency


Prithvinarayan Shah: The Founder of Modern Nepal

by T.R. Vaidya

Prithvinarayan Shah was the chief architect of the expanded Gorkha state. Gorkha, though a small state, would rise to power and become the founder of Greater Gorkharajya, which, later on, became Nepal.

Hardback. 447 pages. Bibliography.
Weight: 600 g (21 oz).
Item No: 8170417015.
Price: $US11.50. . Convert Currency


A Short Account of the Antiquity of Hindu Medicine

by David C Muthu

Paperback. 53 pages.
Weight: 60 g (2.1 oz).
Item No: 8177692879.
Price: $US1.75. . Convert Currency


Social History of Nepal

by T.R. Vaidya, T.R. Manandhar and S.L. Joshi

The main issues pertaining to the social history of Nepal from the earliest times to the 1950 movement are thoroughly analysed by the three authors, all educators and historians on Nepal.

Hardback. 343 pages. Bibliography.
Weight: 485 g (17 oz).
Item No: 8170417996.
Price: $US9.25. . Convert Currency


The Rise of the House of Gorkha

by Ludwig F Stiller

This book describes the unification of Nepal under King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha in the 18th century and traces Nepal's expansion up until the defeat by the British in the 1814-16 war.

"Clear narrative of the main events [and] careful analysis of the economic and political situation before reunification" -- John Whelpton. Nepal. (World Bibliographical Series) (ABC/Clio Press)

"Academic but readable account of Nepal's unification and war with Britain, written by Jesuit priest turned Nepalese citizen." -- David Reed, Nepal (Rough Guides)

"One of the many scholarly works produced by Jesuits in Nepal, this is the story of Prithvi Narayan Shah's rise to power." -- Kerry Moran, Nepal Handbook (Moon Publications)

Paperback. 336 pages. B&W illustrations. Bibliography; index.
Weight: 440 g (15.4 oz).
Item No: N000006592.
Price: $US2.25. . Convert Currency


Tibetans in Nepal

by Dr Hari Bansh Jha

The escape of the Dalai Lama from Tibet 1959 in the wake of the Chinese aggression marked a turning point in the history of Tibet. Some two hundred thousand Tibetans followed him and arrived in Nepal, Sikkim, India and Bhutan. The story of their alienation from the motherland and subsequent plight of becoming refugees is pathetic.

The author of this book presents an exhaustive study of the socioeconomic aspect of the condition of Tibetan refugees who migrated to Nepal.

Hardback. 128 pages. Tables.
Weight: 420 g (14.7 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-003-0.
Price: $US 9.50. . Convert Currency


*** Tibet ***

The Fire of Hell

by Lobsang Yonten

Lobsang Yonten was a political prisoner in Tibet for twenty years. Years of brutal physical and mental torture as well as hard work at labour camps almost killed him. But he was saved from a cruel death with the help of his religious faith and his devotion to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Fire of Hell is a seering record of one person's life in modern day Tibet. It is also a record of the state of everyday life and culture under Chinese occupation.

"This book by Lobsang Yonten Pelgong tells the story of the suffering he and other inmates underwent in Chinese prisons and labour camps. The younger generation of Tibetans should read this book to understand the consequence of losing freedom as well as to derive inspiration for dedicating themselves to the cause of freedom in our country." -- H H The Dalai Lama

Paperback. 148 pages.
Weight: 150 g (5.3 oz).
Item No: 90-76943-05-2.
Price: $US6.40. . Convert Currency


A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise Of The Lamaist State

by Melvyn C. Goldstein

"This monumental, even awe-inspiring study will questionably be the standard scholarly work on the subject for many years to come. Drawing on a wealth of sources, including oral interviews, unpublished memoirs, government documents, and Tibetan archives, many of them previously unexplored, Professor Goldstein has produced a detailed and unbiased account of modern Tibet, which, whilst recognising the importance of Buddhism, does not allow it to predominate, and which gives due weight to internal political developments as well as to international relations, thus redressing the balance of many previous works. Indispensible to a proper understanding of modern Tibet." -- John Pinfold, Tibet (World Bibliographical Series) (ABC/Clio Press)

Hardcover. 898 pages. B&W illustrations. Bibliography; index.
Weight: 1190 g (41.7 oz).
Item No: 8121100801.
Price: $US10.25. . Convert Currency


A History of Western Tibet: One of the Unknown Empire

by Rev A H Francke

Wars, migrations. religious battles, conversions, ethnic changes and influences... a panorama of events spread over a vast span of time from 200 BC to 1900 AD... This is the subject of the book, A History of Western Tibet: One of the Unknown Empires.

The author has achieved a unique feat of historiography by reconstructing the historical sequence of events of one of the most inhospitable and inaccessible regions in the East. He has reconstructed the history of Western Tibet and Ladakh from primitive local records, edicts and folklore.

Among the available sources, on the one hand there were purely subjective accounts documented by court poets and writers in praise of their masters, at times utterly exaggerating their martial exploits. On the other hand, there were accounts recorded by foreigners, mostly Westerners, not much familiar with the language, customs, mythological references and sociocultural jargon.
Yet the author has struck a credible balance. He has presented here a coherent, interesting and generally reliable history of the region, amply substantiated by maps, photographs and illustrations.

Hardback. 191 pages. B&W photographs, drawings and maps.
Weight: 300 g (10.5 oz).
Item No: 81-7624-031-1.
Price: $US 6.00. . Convert Currency


India and Tibet: A History of the Relations which have Subsisted between the Two Countries from the Time of Warren Hastings to 1910, with Particular Account of the Mission to Lhasa of 1904

by Francis Younghusband

"Younghusband's own account of his mission to Tibet in 1904­5 and its consequences was first published in 1910. It is clearly written with the aim of showing that his and Curzon's policy was the correct one and the later repudiation of the mission by the British government led to a series of lost opportunities culminating in the occupation of Lhasa by the Chinese in 1910." - John Whelpton, Tibet (Clio Press)

Paperback. 416 pages.
Weight: 390 g (13.7 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-106-1.
Price: $US 6.25. . Convert Currency


Lhasa: An Account of the Country and People of Central Tibet and of the Progress of the Mission sent there by the English Government in 1903-4 (Vols. 1 & 2)

by Perceval Landon. Introductory Note by F E Younghusband.

This remarkable and profusely-illustrated work gives a unique portrait of the people and culture of Tibet as they were in 1903-04 at the end of a period where Tibet had been secluded from foreigners and foreign influences for some centuries.

Tibet had just been opened to the outside world by a British military expedition led by the last great proponent of the 'Great Game' between Britain and Russia, Col. Francis Younghusband.

This work, written by the correspondent for the London Times newspaper, is the official record of the military campaign. But more than that, it also gives a view of Tibet as it was just after the "first contact" -- the land, people, art, religion, government, history and way of life of this isolated land.

Hardback. 2 volumes. vii + 414; ix + 426 pages.
Profusely illustrated with B/W photographs. Fold-out map.
Weight: 1400 grams (49 oz.).
Item No: 8177690574 (set).
Price: $US 36.75.
. Convert Currency


Tibet Past and Present

by Sir Charles Bell

In this volume Sir Charles Bell presents riveting accounts of his experiences in south Asia, most notably Tibet in the early twentieth century. He provides in-depth explanations of how social, economic and political factors influenced Tibet and the rest of the region during the British rule of India.
Bell's historical work provides its readers with a unique insight into the current situation between Tibet and China.
Not only is this book noteworthy from a political perspective but it also allows the reader to gain a deep understanding of the relevance of Tibetan Buddhism to all aspects of Tibetan life.
Furthermore, Bell's close personal relationship with the thirteenth Dalai Lama and insights into his life promise to excite the reader with previously unknown anecdotes.
A "must read" for all those interested in the history and culture of Tibet.
Recommended by: John Whelpton, Tibet (Clio Press)

Paperback. 251 pages. Foldout map.
Weight: 290 g (10.2 oz).
Item No: 81-7303-083-9.
Price: $US 5.30. . Convert Currency


Travels of a Consular Officer in Eastern Tibet, together with a History of the Relations between China, Tibet and India

by Eric Teichman

Should the vast Tibetan plateau be part of China? Should Tibetans, with their distinct religious and cultural identity, be Independent of China? Are the Chinese correct in believing that historically Tibet has always been part of China?

These questions sound modern but they were debated at length much earlier -- such as in this important book on the Tibetan life and politics around 1918-19 when the author, a British diplomat and adventurer, travelled and worked in the region

Paperback. 248 pages. B&W photographs.
Weight: 515 g (18 oz).
Item No: 81-7769-054-X
Price: $US 10.95. . Convert Currency




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