Visual Chronicles from an Ancient Valley
Because of its rugged terrain, Bhutan, a country tucked away in the eastern end of the Himalayas, has remained blissfully cut off from the rest of the world. Only recently have people started exploring this ancient kingdom that endorses happiness over anything else. Serena Chopra, author of The Ancients, Bhutan Diaries, a book comprising photographs and diary entries by the author, cataloguing her journey as she traverses across this challenging territory, familiarising her senses with the land and its people, will be launched on May 29.
Published by AF-Academic Foundation, under their new imprint, Limited Editions, Malvika Singh is the series editor, the book contains 130 medium format photographs. “Some of these are iconic images. The Yak Cham or Yak dance in Merak, East Bhutan, re-enacts the story of the Brokpa tribe in Merak, and Sakteng and their origins. My friend Dorji in Ugyen Choling village in Bumthang, bathing her newborn baby outdoors, with her mother-in-law’s help, was another precious moment, and there have been many others like these,” says Chopra.
Every night that she camped on the trail in Bhutan, Chopra wrote in her diary, recounting the highlights of the day. “I discovered that Guru Rinpoche, a Buddhist Tantric master, had brought numerous teachings to the Himalayan countries, including Bhutan. His followers were later known as Nyingmapas, the ancients, and they constituted the first Buddhist school in Tibet. That was the inspiration for the title of the book. After 12 years I have carefully juxtaposed my diaries and photographs to create a visual journal of my Bhutan experience,” she says.