For a number of years I lived in ashrams in India, before eventually retiring to Sri Lanka and ordaining. One of the things I remember most fondly about my time in the ashrams there was the Bhajan and Kirtan singing which generally took place each evening.
This is a well-researched and informative documentary about the Sacred Temple of Shri Tribhuvan Maheshwar that is now known as Banteay Srei, which stands 25km north-east of the main Angkor complex in Cambodia.
In this last episode we first visit Kashgar, the Town of Beautiful Tiles, which is where the Silk Road meets up again, after crossing the Taklamakan desert via two different roads.
The silk road featured some beautiful music by someone who was barely known at the time, and who was brought to prominence by writing the haunting theme music for the series, the Japanese musician Kitaro.
This week the expedition, which has been traveling along the southern trade routes, doubles back and explores the area along the northern route.
The theme that runs throughout this week’s episode is music and dance. It includes some of the most interesting ethnographic photography of the Uighars in Kucha along the southern route passing through the Tian Shan mountains.
Although there is little of archeological interest in this episode, it remains one of the most memorable as the team take a trip along the newly constructed Turfan to Korla railway, which must be one of the really great railway journeys in the world.
The expedition continues its journey westwards through Turfan, The Land of Fire, visiting a dried-up lake 150 metres below sea level, and the Fire Mountains on the way.
There is very little archeology or art in this episode. The expedition flies over the desert in search of the ruins at Dan-dan Oilik, which was visited by Aurel Stein, but fails to find it as it had been covered by the desert at the time.