Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime – 20 December 2020 – 20/12/2020 – Sunday – BBC Two

Himalaya: Journey of a Lifetime

This special episode sees Michael revisit his fifth travel series – Himalaya.

For Michael, this epic journey across the world’s highest mountain range is the fulfilment of boyhood dreams inspired by the 1953 ascent of Everest by Hillary and Tensing. Beginning in the famous Khyber Pass, he travels through Pakistan and India and ascends into Nepal and Tibet to reach Everest base camp itself, before venturing into the mountain kingdom of Bhutan.

But Michael’s journey isn’t all about scaling peaks – it’s also about finding out what life is like for the people who live in some of the harshest environments on Earth. He is curious to see countries that were cut off by the mountains for centuries and that have developed their own distinct cultures and ways of survival, to discover the different ways that religion influences society here, and to meet the hardy inhabitants of the mountains.

Along the way, Michael sees Pakistan’s historically volatile North West Frontier region and narrowly avoids a bull during a bull-racing festival. Crossing the border into India, he visits the Sikh city of Amritsar and the Golden Temple, where he learns about Sikhism and eats with the thousands of pilgrims who come there. And in Dharamshala, he learns about Buddhism and meets the Dalai Lama – who turns out to be a Palin fan.

Moving ever upwards into the mountains, Michael suffers from altitude sickness, and at one point thinks he might have to give up. But he recovers and is rewarded with stunning views of the Annapurna range. Eventually, he reaches Everest base camp, where he reflects on the achievement of walking in the footsteps not only of Hillary but of the earlier British explorers Mallory and Irvine, who were childhood heroes of his.

Being curious to find out how people live up at high altitude, he spends time with a Nepalese yak-herder and his family, making a real connection despite not speaking their language. In Nagaland, he has a chat with an elderly headhunter, who turns out to be much friendlier than he looks. Finally, Michael journeys through the isolated and magical nation of Bhutan, before descending to sea-level in Bangladesh.

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About Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime

Michael revisit his TV travels, and fans reflect on his achievement.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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