Northeast India is wedged between the borders of Bhutan, Myanmar, and Tibet, this little-visited outpost of India is a land of dense forests, meandering rivers, and sprawling tea gardens. The wildlife is rich, especially in the UNESCO-listed Kaziranga National Park, and 90% of the local population are adivasis, members of India’s indigenous tribes.
Join Rosemary Crill, a leading authority on India’s textile traditions and history, as you travel through India’s most fascinating yet little-known regions. Odisha (formerly Orissa) in East India offers ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples with rich traditions of village craft production and tribal culture. This unique programme also includes some of the key traditional textile centres in the southern state of Telangana. During the trip you will gain insight into the extraordinary range of textiles still being made today.
The Hindu and Buddhist temples of Angkorean Cambodia are some of the most evocative monuments to survive from the ancient world. Begin in the modern city of Siem Reap visiting the pearls of Cambodian Hindu and Buddhist architecture in Angkor itself. See the walls and gates of Angkor Thom, the decorated Elephant and Leper King terraces, and the ’Tomb Raider‘ temple of Ta Prohm. Travel to the oldest standing temples in Cambodia at Sambor Prei Kuk, dating from the 7th century CE.
Traverse the Kingdom of Bhutan, entering at Paro in the west and departing from the south east along the land border to Assam, India. During the journey you will explore the major building blocks of the Himalayan mountains and discuss their role in throwing up the highest mountain range on Earth and their impact on the Bhutanese who live amongst them. Journey with specialist Professor Nigel Harris who has published extensively on the geology of the Himalaya since 1985, when he crossed Tibet with Professor Augusto Gansser, the grandfather of Himalayan geology.
The continent that stretches from Central Asia to the East China Sea boasts some of the richest and most varied cuisine on earth. Accompanied by English-speaking chef and author Ms Jen Lin-Liu, journey through some of the most important centres of Chinese regional cuisine. Discover the historical origins of China’s most famous delicacies and the role they have played in everyday life for thousands of years. This is a hands-on learning experience and there will be cooking classes in each destination.
The term ‘Silk Road’ did not refer to a single route but a vast network of roads stretching from Xi’an to the Eastern Mediterranean. Linking India, Europe and the Far East, routes passed through spectacular cities and tiny hamlets, through harsh forbidding mountains, gentle steppe lands and hot deserts. Along its length, intrepid merchants traded in a huge number of items such as beautiful silks, porcelain, jade and fine carpets. Dr Greenbaum will show that the Silk Road was not simply a highway for the trade of precious items: it was the main East–West artery for the flow of ideas.
Resting between the steppes of Asia and the fertile crescent of the Mediterranean, Iran is a stepping-stone between East and West. Persia’s vast empire once stretched from India to Egypt. Discover this land of incomparable beauty with some of the finest monuments in the Islamic world and extraordinary archaeological sites. Accompanied by Professor Michael Roaf, explore Iran’s vaulted bazaars of turquoise domes and exquisite gardens where the sound of running water and the chatter of the tea house is never far away.
Journey through Israel and Jordan, whose origins date back to the dawn of civilisation. Learn more of Israel’s fascinating history, encompassing the Old and New Testaments and the more recent Israeli–Palestinian peace process. Discover Israel society today and its unique mix of history, people, religions and cuisine. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a well-travelled bridge between sea and desert, East and West. It is a land of beauty and contrasts, from the fertile and everchanging Jordan Valley to the remote desert canyons.
China has a tradition of garden-making and landscape appreciation considerably older than that in the west. The journey will introduce the historical and stylistic development of different types of garden in China, particularly imperial, scholarly and merchant gardens, setting them in the context of the appreciation of landscape in the Chinese tradition. There will also be several visits to some of China’s most inspiring landscapes. Dr Alison Hardie is a leading expert on Chinese garden history, and a cultural historian of lateimperial China.
Few landmarks have tantalised the minds of travellers more than the legendary cities of Central Asia. Originally caravanserais on the Golden Trade route across Central Asia, they developed into thriving centres of commerce and culture.