Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

Thomas Manning

Thomas Manning (1772-1840) was an eccentric academic and the first British traveller to reach Tibet. After donning a heavy disguise and much perseverance and patience he finally met the Dalai Lama, who was only seven years old at the time.

An excerpt from his account of his travels is a good reminder of how much better connected the travellers of old were to the incestuous relationship between the sun, time and direction.

We hurried into the town where we were to change

horses, but our haste was fruitless. There we were obliged to wait

until our baggage came up long, long after us, and until it was

adjusted upon fresh cattle. If we now had galloped all the way to

Lhasa the sun would have been in the south before we could have

been in the august presence of the Tagin. This was exceeding

discomfort to my Munshi, but great comfort to me. I much dis-

liked the idea of hurrying to Lhasa, and without any kind of

refreshment going before the mandarins, sweltering and heated, my

boots hurting me every step I set; and I could not comprehend

what crime it was for travellers like us who could not command

prompt attendance, arriving an hour sooner or an hour later.