Passage International : Study Abroad, Experiential Education Program in South Asia

Study Abroad, Experiential Education Program in South Asia

Reading List

There is a variety of reading material online as well. Many resources can be accessed on the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library,


Description & Travel

Vignettes of Nepal – Harka Gurung
A Nepali geographer's account of his travels across Nepal, incorporating history, geography and culture.

The Snow Leopard – Peter Mathiessen
Account of a journey into Dolpo in pursuit of the elusive snow leopard. Vivid descriptions of the land interwoven with insights into the mind.

The Waiting Land – Dervla Murphy
Murphy's account of working in a Tibetan refugee camp (in Pokhara) in 1965.

A Guide to Trekking in Nepal – Stephen Bezruchka
The standard guide. Extremely detailed trail descriptions covering all major regions and a few minor ones.

Trekking in Tibet: A Traveler's Guide – Gary McCue
Comprehensive and up-to-date; the guide to Tibet.

Medicine for Mountaineering – James Wilkerson
The best medical book for trekking detailed yet simple enough for laymen.


Ethnic Group & Culture

Peoples of Nepal – Dor Bahadur Bista
Best overview of Nepal's varied ethnic groups.

Nepali Aama: Portrait of a Nepalese Hill Woman & Aama in America – Broughton Coburn
Photos of the life of an old and very spunky Gurung woman, combined with quotes from Vishnu Maya herself; provide rare insights into a Nepali life.

Sherpas: Reflections on Change in Himalayan Nepal – James Fisher
Observations on changing Sherpa society over the decades.

The Newars – Gopal Singh Nepali
The standard account of Newar culture.

Mustang: a Lost Tibetan kingdom – Michel Peissel
Account by a French adventurer who visited this restricted region in 1964.

Tibet, Land of Snows – Giuseppe Tucci
Survey of Tibetan traditions and religion, which also permeate northern Nepal.

Dangerous Wives and Sacred Sisters: Social and Symbolic Roles of High-caste Women in Nepal – Lynn Bennett
An exploration of the lives of Brahman/Chhetri women in a central Nepal village, revealing the frequent conflicts of traditional family life.


History & Culture

The Festivals of Nepal – Mary Anderson

The Gurkhas – Byron Farwell
From the 1815 skirmish with the British to the Falkland Islands, the story of the Gurkhas.

In Exile From the Land of Snows – John Avedon
Moving story of Tibetan refugees in exile.



Hindu Myths – Wendy O'Flaherty
Introductions to the major gods in their many moods

Hinduism – Gavin Flood

Open Secrets: A Western Guide to Tibetan Buddhism – Walt Anderson
Introductory book to Tibetan Buddhism, placing it in modern terms.

The Way to Shambhala – Edward Bernbaum
Account of the Tibetan tradition of "hidden valleys" and a good explanation of the many levels of Tibetan Buddhism.

Freedom in Exile: Autobiography of the Dalai Lama (Tibetan)
This compelling autobiography is the classic story of east-meets-west. It is such a good read that young adults will enjoy it as well. Details many aspects of the tulku (reincarnate lama) tradition.

Kindness, Clarity and Insight – the Dalai Lama
Good introductory text on Buddhism and daily life by the Tibetan religious and political leader-in-exile.

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism – Chogyam Trungpa
Seminal book about Tibetan Buddhism by one of the first Tibetan teachers to establish himself in the west.


Development & Politics

Fatalism and Development: Nepal's Struggle for Modernisation – Dor Bahadur Bista
Astute examination of how caste hierarchy and a fatalistic attitude hamper development in Nepal.

Nepal in Crisis – Blaikie, Cameron & Seddon
Taking the construction of roads as a starting point, the authors examine the complex problems of "development" in Nepal.

Travels in Nepal – Charlie Pye-Smith
Combining travel writing with analyses of foreign-aid projects, this book is a palatable way to dive into development issues and myths.

Politics in Nepal – Rishikesh Shah
Essays on the contemporary political scene, an updated version of a formerly banned book.

Bikas / Binas (Development / Destruction) – Ludmilla Tutig & Kunda Dixit, eds
Compendium of articles on environmental and cultural issues in the Himalaya, focusing mainly on Nepal. Examines the links between ecology, development, and tourism, and deals with cultural as well as environmental pollution.

The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama – Melvyn Goldstein
Puts the whole "Tibet Question" into an apt political and historical context by one of the leading Tibetan historians.


Natural History / Ecology

Birds of Nepal – Robert Fleming Sr. & Jr. and Lain Singh Bangdel
The definitive book on birds in Nepal.

Heart of the Jungle – K. K. Gurung
Well written account of the natural history of Chitwan National Park.

Vanishing Tracks – Darla Hillard
First–hand account of the author's 4-year study of the rare snow leopard in remote western Nepal.

Stones of Silence – George Schaller
Fascinating studies of wild cats, sheep and goats of the Himalaya.


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CPC 373
Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 977-1-4650723
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