Beyond the Himalayas 4, On The Roof Of The World

Beyond the Himalayas 4, On The Roof Of The World

This is the fourth part of a five-part series about an expedition along the Silk Road across Central Asia, Xinjiang and Tibet. The film is mainly an Indian project (hence the name), but with production help from the UK.

In this section the team finally begin the ascent into Tibet which is the aim of their journey, passing through wide barren spaces, and across nomadic lands, until they come within sight of the capital Lhasa.

Along the way we learn some of the history of previous expeditions and visitors to Tibet, focusing interestingly on some of the western women who went there in the 19th century, such as Susanna Rijnhart and Alexadra David Neal. We also hear about Sven Hedin and his expeditition.

In Lhasa we visit the Potala Palace, and also the Jakhang Temple, before seeing the outlying monasteries of Sera, Drepung and Ganden. All along historical footage and narration of historical events is used to explain the situation of Tibet in the 1990s, and we learn about the Chinese invasion and takeover, the attempted destruction of Tibetan culture, and the way its culture has been affected.

The story is really a sad one, but the resilience of the Tibetan people is legendary, and the filmmakers do highlight how they were trying to rebuild on the ruins of the old. Looking at it now, it is remarkable how much has changed again in the past 20 years, and the film is in itself now a historical record of things that have passed.


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