Land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains: a journey across India’s forgotten frontier, with Antonia Bolingbroke Kent
Journalist, author and producer of Joanna Lumley’s journeys through India programmes, Antonia Bolinbroke Kent in the most remote and rugged part of India
Arunachal Pradesh: the largest of the 'Seven Sisters' – the septet of states that make up India’s turbulent, tribal Northeast. Remote, mountainous, forbidding, it lies folded between the Tibetan plateau, the steaming jungles of Burma, the mountains of Bhutan and the flood-prone plains of the Brahmaputra Valley.
Travelling 2000 miles by motorbike and on foot, Antonia went from sweaty, leechy jungles bordering Burma's Shan state in the east, to the snow-dusted, gompa clad peaks of Tawang in the west. She met shamans with the power of flight, sat through the night by fires talking about tigers, yaks, yetis and spirit snakes; followed leopard tracks through the jungle; saw gory amounts of animal sacrifice; trekked deep into the sacred Buddhist kingdom of Pemako, sweated up mountainsides and got drunk with nuns.
More tribes live here, and more languages are spoken, than anywhere else in South Asia, yet Arunachal Pradesh remains almost unheard of outside India. Cordoned off from the outside world from 1873 until the end of the 1990s, today the harshness of its terrain, a sensitive political situation and the need for expensive and restrictive permits still make it a world unto itself.
A book about Antonia’s journey, Land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2017 and was shortlisted for the 2018 Stanford’s Travel Book of the Year.
Antonia is an author, TV producer and director of the travel company Silk Road Adventures. Her penchant for extreme travel has led to her writing three books, setting an unlikely Guinness World Record (for the longest ever journey by tuk tuk) and raising over £60,000 for charitable causes.
Her latest book, Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains: A Journey Across Arunachal Pradesh - India's Forgotten Frontier (Simon & Schuster, 2017) was Shortlisted for the 2018 Stanford's Adventure Travel Book of the Year. She also writes for The Telegraph, Geographical, Wanderlust, Guardian and more. Her latest TV credits were producing Joanna Lumley's India and Silk Road series for ITV.
Find out more at The Itinerant or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AntsBK