Samuel Bourne, one of the early pioneers of photography, spent 7 years in India between 1862 and 1869. In this time, he travelled extensively and took the photos that were to revolutionise photography in the country. Bourne sold these photographs to an inquisitive British public, kickstarting a tourism craze in the country. He would go on to establish the famous Bourne & Shepherd outlets in Shimla and Kolkata. The most sustained and ambitious of these photographic expeditions was Bourne’s foray into the Himalaya in 1866. Along with an army of forty porters and heavy and unwieldy photographic equipment, Bourne traipsed around the Himalaya for six months, with the stated goal of photographing the origin of the Ganges. His travels took him through the Kullu, Lahaul and Spiti valleys and then down to the Sutlej and Baspa valleys. He ended his trip after crossing the Neela Pass into Garhwal and succeeded in photographing Gaumukh in the Gangotri glacier. Along the way, he set an altitude record for photography with his image of the Manirang Pass in Spiti, at a height of 18,600ft. This record was to stand for many years.    

 

Preparing to cross the Beas River on buffalo skin floats
A stunning view of the Kye Monastery in Spiti


Shivling photographed from the Gangotri Glacier
A view of the Spiti Valley from the Hampta Pass
High peaks around the Bara Shigri Glacier in Lahaul
Dusk over the Spiti Valley from Dhankar Monastery
The Manirang Pass in Spiti
A view of Gaumukh on the Gangotri Glacier
Rock pinnacles in Kullu Valley
The Bhagirathi gorge at Bhairon Ghati


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