“A very happy time spent in rambling among some of the finest scenery of this lovely earth, may induce anyone to betake himself to Kashmir, he will achieve something worth living for and I shall not have spilt ink in vain.” ~ Major T.R. Swinburne
It is a treat picking up rare books on early travels in the Himalayas. An overzealous English Major T.R. Swinburne documentation of Early Kashmir needs a special mention. His books on his Kashmir travel has left a lasting impression on the readers and the curators.
His Book, “A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil” is a journal with day by day excerpts and on the spot sketches. The Book is an authentic pre-1923 historical reproduction of Kashmir Tourism as documented by Major T.R. Swinburne. A rare antiquarian book comes with 24 vivid coloured illustrated artwork. The account of author’s relationship with his wife (as they travel) is bemusing. His observations of fine subtleties of English ways and the clash of the attitudes and prejudices about local culture is hilarious. I chuckled in amusement reading through an exhaustive list of recommended equipment for the travel and the rationale behind it. The ‘Saheb’ style of travelling makes little sense now. And I can excuse the eccentric Majors idiocracy for a few good laughs it gave.
But what makes the book a treasure are the 24 coloured illustrated artwork. The original one in the first edition book are of highest quality. The digitalized copy fail to capture the grandeur of Kashmir illustrated work that comes out dismal at best.
I thought to share a few of the best-illustrated sketches from the book.
Citations and references from ‘A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil’ – Major T.R. Swinburne, Publisher: Smith, Elder & Co | Special thanks to Search Kashmir for scanned illustrated images.