Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Deosai: Land of the Giant

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Book is available at Sang e Meel (042-3722-0100), Lahore

Deosai has long kept an aura of mystery. Long before the first European explorers ventured into this high altitude plateau, vague knowledge of its existence was current in the plains of the Indian subcontinent. Thence the word had been carried by the nomadic Gujjar cow herders who fattened their animals on the rich summer grasses of this vast uninhabited tableland. The Gujjar accounts wafted from person to person to become a confused tale of a plateau stretching flat, unbroken and treeless from the mountains north of the capital of Kashmir all the way to the deserts of Tartary. The myth was finally broken in the 1830s.

The earliest Europeans, both Britons, William Moorcroft and Godfrey Thomas Vigne, were over-awed by its sheer desolation. Both also noted that Deosai was inhabited by large numbers of Tibetan brown bear. Though the elusive snow leopard, fox, wolf and ibex prowl across it, it was the easily seen bear that became the signature species on the plateau.

But over the years all was not well for the bear. It became commonly believed that a diet of some of the bear’s body parts could cure sexual impotence, or that its body fat rubbed on arthritic joints could rejuvenate them no matter how worn out they might be. The result was a slow but systematic purging of the species.

By the late 1980s, only a handful of bears survived. That was when the protagonists of this book began the conservation effort to bring back this precious animal from the brink of extinction. Their efforts paid and there has been an increase in the bear population. But even though programme is now in the hands of the government, the bears still look ahead to an uncertain future.

Deosai: Land of the Giant tells the story of Deosai, its geography and history as well as the heroic effort of bear conservation and the establishment of a national park on the plateau. This publication of this book symbolises the hope that the effort begun in the late 1980s will not go waste and that future travellers will see groups of bears roaming on Deosai without persecution.

About the Author: Salman Rashid is Pakistan’s most widely travelled travel writer with few places in the country that do not carry his footprint. Acclaimed as ‘the most erudite travel writer of the country’, he is the author of eight books that include anthologies of his newspaper articles. This book is the outcome of nearly a quarter century of the Deosai romance over several visits to the plateau.

About the Photographer: Nadeem Khawar studied photography in Japan over a period of six years. Returning home to Lahore in 1995 he turned his passion into his profession. His work has since been displayed and printed as calendars and posters both within Pakistan and abroad. His first book was Sights in the Sands of Cholistan (Oxford University Press, 2007). His photography also appears in Governor’s House complimentary book (2008). Khawar worked in southern Nepal with the German writer Gilbert Kolonko for his book Auf in mein Lieblingsreisland, auf nach Pakistan. Two decades of experience in landscape and portrait photography now bring you Deosai: Land of the Giant.

Excerpt - Land of the Giant 

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:00,


At 20 September 2013 at 12:59, Anonymous Liaqat Jatoi said...

Should be a great read (like all your books). Will sure lay my hand on this one when it comes out.

At 20 September 2013 at 13:08, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you for the appreciation. I hope you enjoy it as much as Nadeem and I enjoyed working on it.

At 20 September 2013 at 14:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy happy.

At 1 October 2013 at 17:54, Anonymous Shaukat Ali Eshai said...

I am eagerly waiting for Deosai,the land of giants.I am an old fan of yours.
I was at Deosai on the 22nd of Sept 2013.Where Mr.Zulfiqar of Sialkot,who
was filming and collaring the Brown Bear for BBC !He mentioned you new book.Best wishes.

At 4 October 2013 at 20:37, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you, Shaukat. You met Kamran from Sialkot, not Zulfiqar. But thank you very much for the good wishes.

At 31 October 2013 at 23:14, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks very good and promising. My reading days, as far as books r concerned, seem to b over. Wish u the very best of luck for its commercial success.


At 1 November 2013 at 08:52, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

For Goodness Sake! How can anyone's reading days ever be over? Once a reader, you carry on reading until your last breath. You stop only when you go blind.

At 16 July 2014 at 02:48, Blogger Unknown said...

Congratulations! salman uncle, on writing such a marvellous are the real image of Pakistan patronizing tourism in Pakistan.May God bless you :-)

At 16 July 2014 at 02:55, Blogger Unknown said...

Congratulations salman uncle for such a marvellous book patronizing tourism in Pakistan you are the real image of Pakistan may God bless you


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days