This is a book on high-altitude trekking in the magnificent Himalayan range in Himachal Pradesh, India, and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. It is also much more. The treks described in such detail are pegs on which the author has draped the entire tapestry of the mountains - the life of local communities, their customs, mythology, the challenges of 'development' in ecologically fragile landscapes, the politics of environmental conservation, the rapid transformation overtaking these remote regions and much more.
Avay Shukla belongs to the Indian Administrative Service and has served in Himachal Pradesh for 30 years. He is president of the Himachal Pradesh Trekking Association, and a founder member of the Ecotourism Society of India. He is an unapologetic conservationist and has quite often found this clashing with his role as a government servant, a trait portrayed honestly in this book. His passion for nature has seen him tramping up and down the remotest areas of this mountain state for the last 20 years. His detailed account of some of the major and more difficult treks is unique in that he brings to bear on these journeys his administrative insights and experience, which adds depth and perspective to his observations and narrative.