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Chasing The Monk’s Shadow

Chasing The Monk’s Shadow

A Journey In The Footsteps Of Xuanzang

Mishi Saran
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An Indian woman with a China craze retraces the footsteps of a Chinese monk with an Indian obsession
In the seventh century AD, the Chinese monk Xuanzang (earlier spelt as Hiuen Tsang or Hsuan Tsang) set off on an epic journey to India to study Buddhist philosophy from the Indian masters. Travelling along the Silk Road, through the desolate wastes of the Gobi desert and the icy passes of Central Asia, braving brigands and blizzards, Xuanzang finally reached India, where his spiritual quest took him to Buddhist holy places and monasteries throughout the subcontinent. By the time he returned to China eighteen years later, carrying with him nearly 600 scriptures which he translated from Sanskrit into Chinese, Xuanzang had covered an astonishing 10,000 miles. He also left a detailed record of his journey, which remains a valuable source of historical information on the regions he traversed. Fourteen hundred years later, Mishi Saran follows in Xuanzang’s footsteps to the fabled oasis cities of China and Central Asia, and the Buddhist sites and now-vanished kingdoms in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan that Xuanzang wrote about. Travelling seamlessly back and forth in time between the seventh century and the twenty-first, Saran uncovers the past with consummate skill even as she brings alive the present through her vivid and engaging descriptions of people and places. Her gripping chronicle includes an extraordinary eyewitness account of Kabul under the Taliban regime, just one month before 9/11. Running parallel to the account of her travels is the moving story of the author’s inner journey towards a new understanding of her roots and her identity. With its riveting mix of lively reportage, high adventure, historical inquiry and personal memoir, this delightfully written book is a path-breaking travelogue.

Imprint: India Penguin

Published: Aug/2018

ISBN: 9780143064398

Length : 458 Pages

MRP : ₹475.00

Chasing The Monk’s Shadow

A Journey In The Footsteps Of Xuanzang

Mishi Saran

An Indian woman with a China craze retraces the footsteps of a Chinese monk with an Indian obsession
In the seventh century AD, the Chinese monk Xuanzang (earlier spelt as Hiuen Tsang or Hsuan Tsang) set off on an epic journey to India to study Buddhist philosophy from the Indian masters. Travelling along the Silk Road, through the desolate wastes of the Gobi desert and the icy passes of Central Asia, braving brigands and blizzards, Xuanzang finally reached India, where his spiritual quest took him to Buddhist holy places and monasteries throughout the subcontinent. By the time he returned to China eighteen years later, carrying with him nearly 600 scriptures which he translated from Sanskrit into Chinese, Xuanzang had covered an astonishing 10,000 miles. He also left a detailed record of his journey, which remains a valuable source of historical information on the regions he traversed. Fourteen hundred years later, Mishi Saran follows in Xuanzang’s footsteps to the fabled oasis cities of China and Central Asia, and the Buddhist sites and now-vanished kingdoms in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan that Xuanzang wrote about. Travelling seamlessly back and forth in time between the seventh century and the twenty-first, Saran uncovers the past with consummate skill even as she brings alive the present through her vivid and engaging descriptions of people and places. Her gripping chronicle includes an extraordinary eyewitness account of Kabul under the Taliban regime, just one month before 9/11. Running parallel to the account of her travels is the moving story of the author’s inner journey towards a new understanding of her roots and her identity. With its riveting mix of lively reportage, high adventure, historical inquiry and personal memoir, this delightfully written book is a path-breaking travelogue.

Select Preferred Format

Mishi Saran

Mishi Saran is a writer and journalist. She has an undergraduate degree in Chinese Studies from Wellesley College (USA), and her articles have appeared in a variety of international publications, including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune and the Asian Wall Street Journal. Her first book, Chasing the Monk's Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang, was shortlisted for the 2006 Hutch-Crossword Award for Literary Non-Fiction, and longlisted for the 2006 Lettres Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage. Her first novel, The Other Side of Light, was shortlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. Her short stories have won awards and been broadcast on the BBC.

Saran was born in India, and after spending the first ten years in New Delhi, she has lived in Switzerland, Indonesia, the United States, China, Hong Kong and Korea. She lives in Hong Kong, where she is working on her third book.