The Indian expedition that traced Marco Polos journey

New Delhi: Climbers who conquer Mt Everest, the world` tallest mountain, say they are often mesmerised by what lies ahead of them, the mysterious land of Central Asia that has lured adventurers, pilgrims, historians and legendary travelers from across the world for over 3,000 years.

"Yet, nothing you may have read or heard about the Silk Route can prepare you for the deep emotions that echo through your soul as you journey through this historic land," says Major H P S Ahluwalia who has penned "Tracing Marco Polo`s Journey: The Silk Route", an account of his fascinating adventure through the legendary route undertaken by explorers like Marco Polo.

The book was launched by the Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation, M S Gill in a function here late last evening.

Ahluwalia, vice president of Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation, and his team – a group of 20 adventure lovers had in 1994 set out on a 12,000 km expedition along the Silk Route through the Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan; China and Nepal.

The book published by Niyogi contains a vivid, first- hand account of the diverse, adventurous trip through cities as exotic as Bukhara, Samarkhand, Andhijan, Xian, Yarkhand, Kashgar and Lhasa; lush oases such as Hotan and Turfan; the grand Gobi and Taklamakan deserts; ancient monuments and mosques; and winding up finally at the monasteries in the Himalayas.