Desideri's Himalayan Circuit (24.9.1714 - 18.3.1716 Lhasa 28.4.1721 - 20.4.1722)
The first circulambulation of the Himalayas
Map and timetable of the memorable Desideri's journey all around the Himalayas.
«Desideri left Leh in August 1715 and travelled in the train of a Tatar princess with a large caravan and many attendants through Gartok and past Manasarowar to Lhasa, where he arrived in March 1716. He had accomplished a journey which ought to make his name for ever famous. It was not till quite 188 years later that the next European expedition – under Captain Rawling and Major Ryder – passed through the valley of the upper Brahmaputra. Father Desideri was the first European who travelled along the whole of the Trans-Himalaya along its southern flank» [Sven Hedin, Trans-Himalaya. Discoveries and adventures in Tibet, MacMillan and Co., London 1909-1913 (3 vols.: vol. III, 1913, p. 125].
«Desideri must be regarded as the first European traveller who has visited and described the Manasarovar, and at all events he is the European discoverer of the Kailas. He is the first explorer in recent times to start the question and controversy about the situation of the source of the Indus, a problem which should become finally solved only 200 years later. It must, however, be confessed that he has conjectured the situation of the source of the Indus very near its real place. He was the first to start the problem of the source of the Ganges, which should be solved more than a hundred years later. […] He has given a very correct and clear account of the pilgrimages to the sacred mount and lake. Beyond doubt he is the first European who ever crossed the famous and important pass of Maryum-la (p. 278). […] Desideri, in Maryum-la, has discovered the water-parting between the Satlej and the Brahmaputra. Desideri is, finally, the first European who has followed the course of the Tsangpo the whole way from Maryum-la to Chetang […]. Add to this the general merit of his narrative, the absence of fantastical speculation, the quiet matter-of-fact way in which he gives his observations and nobody will call it an exaggeration if I regard Ippolito Desideri as one of the most brilliant travellers who ever visited Tibet, and, amongst the old ones, by far the most prominent and the most intelligent of all (p. 279)» [Sven Hedin, Southern Tibet. Discovery in former times compared with my own researches in 1906-1908, Lithographic Institute of the General Staff of the Swedish Army, Stockholm, 1916-1922 (9 voll. di testo, 3 voll. di carte), Vol I, Lake Manasarovar and the source of the great Indian rivers. From the remotest antiquity to the end of the eighteenth century, 1917].