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A stunning trek from the vale of Kashmir, via Sind Valley and Kargil and Lamayaru Monastry

Amateur film 1943 25 mins Silent


These stunning colour images give us a rare tour of the remote, mountainous regions of India's far north, approaching the Tibetan border. They document a 400-mile trek by intrepid traveller and amateur filmmaker John C. Jewell, from the vale of Kashmir, via the Sind Valley, and the Lamayaru Monastry, 3.5 km above sea level. Along the way we see the Indus River, Spituk Gompa, Leh, Khardung La, and the Kangi gorge and pass. While the scenery is stunning, we also meet local people and get a taste of their culture, including a village dance.

This was one of a collection of well over 100 films shot by prolific amateur filmmaker John C. Jewell to document his travels (as well as his sporting interests). Jewell travelled extensively in Europe, Africa and elsewhere with his Swiss-made 8mm cine camera, but his films around India between 1940 and 1945 are among the collection's highlights. Conciously or not, Jewell's Kashmiri trek saw him following in the footsteps of explorers such as the celebrated German botanist and anthropologist Alfred Meebold and the Liverpool-born Marco Pallis, who travelled to Ladakh around 1936 on his way to Tibet.