Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Desde el Lago Del Cielo” as Want to Read:
Desde el Lago Del Cielo
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Desde el Lago Del Cielo

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,236 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
After two years as a postgraduate student at Nanjing University in China, Vikram Seth hitch-hiked back to his home in New Delhi, via Tibet.From Heaven Lake is the story of his remarkable journey and his encounters with nomadic Muslims, Chinese officials, Buddhists and others. ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 17th 2008 by Ediciones B (first published 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Desde el Lago Del Cielo, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Desde el Lago Del Cielo

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,321)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Moushumi Ghosh
Nov 16, 2007 Moushumi Ghosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vikram Seth's “From Heaven Lake: travels in Sinkiang and Tibet” is an unusual travel book. Steering clear of all Lonely Planet Guides and regular travel routes, Seth manages to sketch a picture of China, Tibet, and Nepal from a hungry (quite literally) student traveller’s perspective. He was at that time a student at the Nanjing University. Taking time and money off from the Standford University, Seth stays in China for 2 years. When the time comes for him to return home, he decides on a mega un ...more
Krishna Sruthi Srivalsan
What an incredible book and an even more incredible journey! Vikram Seth, while studying at Nanjing University in China, decided to take a rather unorthodox route on his return to India during his break. His journey starts at Turfan, buried in the Uighur region of western China. And from there, he proceeds further west on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau till he reaches Lhasa, and from there onto Kathmandu and finally Delhi. Remarkable journey, narrated with wit and humour. There are some pages where t ...more
Mohit Parikh
Jan 23, 2013 Mohit Parikh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Excellent travelogue. Unfortunately, I had to abandon this book mid-way as the cafe I was reading it in was closed on the last day of my trip in Himachal Pradesh.
If you have an ebook, please let me know. I'd really appreciate.

E' il racconto del viaggio in autostop che Vikram Seth intraprende per andare dalla Cina in India attraversando il Tibet e il Nepal.
Non avendo abbastanza soldi per un biglietto aereo e dopo aver ricevuto il visto per andare in Tibet (rarissimo da ottenere negli anni '80) decide di fare un viaggio più avventuroso.
Dalla Cina orientale alla Cina occidentale viaggia in treno ma poi inizia a cercare passaggi in camion che trasportano merci in Tibet. Deve affrontare la burocrazia cinese, torrenti c
Tariq Mahmood
Feb 05, 2015 Tariq Mahmood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
What is the best way to experience another culture? Learn their language and then promptly hitch hike your way across. This is precisely what Vikram Seth has chances upon. It is a gem of a travelogue, and what has won my admiration is that he is a Hindu pilgrim. Vikram captures the emotions of his friendship with the Chinese people, especially the tension between the majority Han and minority Uighars, mogols and the Tibetans. The travel abroad a truck as it crisscrosses across Sinkiang and Tibet ...more
Jun 27, 2009 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
A real gem of a travel book that I somehow overlooked until now.

My own trip to Tibet in 1998 was nowhere near as ambitious or arduous as this. Makes me a little jealous that I never learned Mandarin well enough to ride as a passenger in these Chinese trucks that Seth takes throughout the journey.

Lyrical and fast moving - I loved this one.
Jan 03, 2015 Sukhada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read in 2014. Vikram Seth is such an amazing writer yet one of the most under-read writers of today. This book is a beautiful account of his hitchhiking experience through China on his way back home to India. One of my favorite persons from the book is a Chinese truck driver named Sui, he was a delight throughout and so was his other companion in the truck, Ginseng, who for the most part is forgotten because he rarely utters a word except for his occasional singing.

Mar 17, 2010 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book on travelling in china. I love it particularly because its an Indian view on china which is so different to any other take on travelling there. Beautifully written too as you'd expect from Vikram Seth.
Apr 18, 2016 Francesca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: viaggio, rd2016
Viaggio di V. Seth, allora studente universitario, dalla Cina all'India, attraverso il Tibet ed il Nepal. Sono molto affascinata dai paesi himalayani, in particolare da Tibet e Nepal, e le descrizioni di questo libro hanno solo fatto crescere la mia voglia di visitare il Tibet (ho avuto la fortuna di visitare il Nepal, splendido paese che mi è rimasto nel cuore). E' un diario di viaggio, narra nei minimi particolari le difficoltà e le frustrazioni di un viaggio davvero in autostop in un paese di ...more
Dec 14, 2011 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, travel, china
As a graduate student in Nanjing University, Seth used his vacation to hitchhike home to Delhi via Tibet. The result is a wonderful book, full of witty observations, good, clear prose and profound meditations on India and China. It’s a fresh and interesting perspective to this American reader: there is very little comment on the lack of cleanliness or crowded conditions, as travelers in the West often harp about. Also, Seth is happy to give the Chinese political system the benefit of the doubt: ...more
Pradeep Chandkiran
From Heaven Lake was an impulsive pick.

From Heaven Lake is different from page one. Very few travelog'ers can take you along like Seth does, on his impulsive, stubborn and ambitious journey as he hitch-hikes his way from Heaven lake (in China) to Tibet, then Nepal and finally home, Delhi. The fast paced narrative (I say this because there are often twists in the plot which could have made for a good piece of fiction) is rich with metaphors, taking you on a cultural tour through rural China, ofte
Flute music always does this to me: it is at once the most universal and most particular of sounds. There is no culture that does not have its flute -- the reed neh, the recorder, the Japanese shakuhachi, the deep bansuri of Hindustani classical music, the clear or breathy flutes of South America, the high-pitched Chinese flutes. Each has its specific fingering and compass. It weaves its own associations. Yet to hear any flute is, its seems to be, to be drawn into the commonalty of all mankind, ...more
Dec 19, 2012 Katrin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite authors writes about one of the most interesting regions I've ever been to: Tibet. Based on a travel journal, this is a very personal account of Seth's hitchhiking journey from China, where he was an exchange student, through Tibet to reach Nepal to eventually fly home to his parents in Delhi. In the 80s, it was still difficult to get a visa for Tibet, and there wwre virtually no strangers there. Seth describes not only the beautiful landscape he his travelling through, but a ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Héctor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Novela que describe un viaje desde China hasta India haciendo autostop. Describe con un asombroso nivel de profundidad y detalle todas las vivencias de su viaje, ofreciéndonos una vista única hacia el interior de culturas milenarias como la china y la tibetana. Vikram Seth nos invita a viajar con él y descubrir las maravillas naturales que se encuentran en cada esquina de China y el Tíbet y la vida de los pobladores después de los revoltosos tiempos de la Revolución Cultural.

Sin dudas, una lectu
Santanu Dutta
Dec 20, 2013 Santanu Dutta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book last december. I got the book quite some time back and was lying in a corner of my bookshelf, because I thought i would not find it interesting.

However last december I forcefully started reading and after going through initial pages i got deeply absorbed. The narrative of desert lake and surrounding barren land is nicely put and vividly visualized. Also one would certainly like the long train journey across China. In a short span the author has narrated the land, the flood
Purvi Petal
May 31, 2015 Purvi Petal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Made for one o the most delicious reads, the travellogue was an exhilerating experience.
Mar 03, 2016 Vicky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seth is one of my favorite novelists but it turns out he is a perceptive, observant and lyrical travel writer as well. I especially enjoyed this book for two reasons: first, this is the young Vikram Seth, a graduate student studying in China in 1982 who decides to travel home to India via Tibet. It is a wonderful adventure. And although he confesses that he is a person of "fundamentally sedentary habits ", and the continuous wandering life is not for him, he manages to talk and work his way thro ...more
Li Sian
Feb 05, 2015 Li Sian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is my new fav travelogue, which actually made me want to travel to China. (Rare occasion!) Seth's descriptions are so gentle and sometimes a little cutting yet somehow wonderstruck, and the slice of place and time he captures is so unique (Western China and Tibet in 1981), that reading each and every page of his is a joy.

I've read some bits of Vikram Seth - but this is the book that's made me want to tackle the massive behemoth that is A Suitable Boy.

Some choice quotations include:
Ian Brydon
Before going on to write 'A Suitable Boy', probably the longest novel in English since Samuel Richardson's 'Pamela', and 'An Equal music' (the finest novel about music that I have read) Vikram Seth had enjoyed a lengthy and cosmopolitan career as a student. After studying in his native India he pursued postgraduate study in England and then California, before moving on to Nanking University in China in 1982.

Having embarked on an officially sponsored tour of some of Western China Seth became obse
May 13, 2011 Bakul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the book before leaving for my trip to China. Like travel books by Bruce Chatwin, this is a classic. My travel was tame in comparison to Mr. Seth's. However, I could imagine about the travel he described through his incomparable language and wit as I was making my progress through southern China. A must read
Apr 17, 2008 Dorothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Made me want to go on a long and aimless roadtrip, get in trouble with the police, and make strange friends. Either that, or I wanted to go make friends with Vikram Seth and bring him a big pot of vegetarian spaghetti or something. He's great on an aesthetic level, too.
Mar 14, 2015 Mleczny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Relato del viaje del autor desde Dunhuang hasta Katmandú, atravesando el Tíbet a finales de los años 80. El autor, estudiante universitario durante la época, pasó un año en Nanking antes de emprender este viaje, lo que le permite conocer las costumbres de China, su cultura, historia e idioma. Eso le sirve para interaccionar con la población local y hacer de vez en cuando interesantes digresiones sobre el país y su relación con su India natal.
Es, en definitiva, un muy atractivo relato de viajes e
Jul 19, 2012 Sunit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I have been wanting to read this book for a long time. In class 9th, the CBSE English textbook 'Beehive' contained a chapter named 'Kathmandu' which was an excerpt from the last chapter of this book: "Kathmandu;Delhi". I had always wondered about the details of Vikram Seth's complete journey, and now finally I was able to read it in detail!

The book is great, the details beautifully described. Although I'm not a fan of the author's lazy demeanor. Hey, this is a travel book! The main thing I notic
Kirat Kaur
Nov 28, 2011 Kirat Kaur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who doesn't generally like reading travel writing, I really enjoyed this book. Seth's account of his journey as a young man through parts of China one doesn't normally consider when thinking about this vast country is interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking. He wrote this almost 30 years ago now, and with China changing so rapidly, I really wonder what he would have to say if he retraced his journey today. There are descriptions of the natural beauty of the terrain he visits, ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth

Ostensibly From Heaven Lake is a travel book. The description is both apt and limiting. It is worth musing on the idea that travel may be merely a way of collecting a pool of nostalgia for future regurgitation. But this particular description of the author’s journey through China – initially west-east and then north-south in the early 1980s – does not seem to have added very much potential fuel to future’s recollected fires.

At the time it was hardly common for an i
Robert Isenberg
Seth's journey is better lived than read: Yes, I'd love to travel through China and Tibet, hitchhiking through mountain ranges and meeting charming folks wherever I go. Yes, it would be fantastic to speak fluent Mandarin -- especially as an outsider, and particularly for a citizen of India. I certainly identified with his financial woes, appearing in an exotic country without any assurances of visas or sufficient pocket-change.

But Seth's style is incredibly dry: "First I did this, then I did tha
Noopur Mishra
Nov 02, 2013 Noopur Mishra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rewiews
As part of the civil services training we were all supposed to pick up a non fiction book and write a book report on it. It was a difficult task for me as I generally read fiction only. I took my time picking up a non fiction which wasn't very long ( only 178 pages) and also appeared interesting. Now after finishing it, I am really glad I chose this one, as it has been delightful going through this sweet, kind, funny and detailed travelogue about a land of which I had little idea despite its pro ...more
राहुल नागर
Vikram Seth a graduate student at Nanjing university , Beijing embarks on a journey which takes him from East Turkestan to the highest country in the world "Tibet". With his writings he takes you on a remarkable journey through China in 1980's. He describes everything in such detail and profoundness that it feels like you are travelling with him.

Seth studied at Nanjing University for two years and when the time came to return home he took rather a road less travelled and made his way back home t
Oct 06, 2015 Aarthi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vikram seth 'From heaven lake' is a beautiful travelogue peppered with generous doses of philosophy and sprinkled with subtle humour (the kind you share with your best friend where your eyes meet and you suppress the laughter so that others shouldn't get it). The author beautifully describes his adventure of taking the land route from China to India through Tibet and Nepal. He chronicles the truck rides,people he meets on the way,the impact of Mao s rule and particularly it's effect on Tibet. I ...more
Vikram Seth hitch-hikes through Xinjiang and Tibet and what's great is that the book isn't about that sensational feat. It isn't about how "off-the-beaten-path," "past the edge of the map," unconventional or risky his travel. It is about the journey and the people he meets. He has fascinatingly ordinary encounters with people living ordinary lives. These otherwise ordinary encounters are made remarkable because he is participant, rather than tourist, throughout them.
On part of the harrowing tru
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 77 78 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China
  • Danziger's Travels: Beyond Forbidden Frontiers (Paladin Books)
  • Video Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East
  • The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong
  • Forbidden Journey
  • The Sindbad Voyage
  • Chasing the Monsoon
  • Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land
  • Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet
  • A Journey in Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism
  • Slowly Down the Ganges
  • News From Tartary
  • Across China
  • Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
  • Hunting Mister Heartbreak: A Discovery of America
  • In Xanadu: A Quest
  • Magic and Mystery in Tibet
  • The Marsh Arabs
Vikram Seth is an Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, children's writer, biographer and memoirist.

During the course of his doctorate studies at Stanford, he did his field work in China and translated Hindi and Chinese poetry into English. He returned to Delhi via Xinjiang and Tibet which led to a travel narrative From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983) which won
More about Vikram Seth...

Share This Book