The lesson "Kathmandu" is taken from Vikram Seth’s travelogue titled From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet. The book was published in \(1983\), following his visit to China for his research work. He was a student at Nanjing University in China from \(1980\) to \(1982\), going there as an exchange student from Stanford University in the U.S. The travelogue describes the road journey Seth took from China to India via Tibet and Nepal.
Seth travelled through China and Nepal to reach his home in India
In the summer of \(1981\), Seth travelled to his home in Delhi. The land route that he took on his hitchhiking journey originated in the deserts of northwest China. Before reaching the Himalayas, Seth crossed four Chinese provinces: Xinjiang (Sinkiang) and Gansu in the northwestern desert, the basin and plateau of Qinghai, and finally Tibet. From Tibet, he travelled to Nepal and from there to New Delhi.
The four provinces that Seth had visited
Heaven Lake is based on the experiences Seth had gained, memories he had made, personal journals he had maintained, and photographs he had taken during the journey.
The book attracted critical acclaim and won Seth the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award in \(1983\). The travelogue was praised for its detailed and raw depiction of Asia and Eastern culture and the humourous style of narrative that Seth had embraced.