The creation of this web site has been a collaborative effort between Heather, who contributed the research, writing, photography, and graphics, and her brother Stuart who mentored Heather during the conception and design of this, her first web site.
In 1998, Heather completed a graduate degree in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Calgary in Canada. Her program included completion of a year of coursework, many months of library research, and two field trips to India. She spent the first of these in Uttarkhand (now Uttranchal State) doing participant observation along the route to Hemkunt Sahib and the Valley of Flowers. On the second trip, she participated in an intensive Punjabi language and culture studies course offered by Columbia University.
When not studying or doing research, she has travelled the length and breadth of Punjab and beyond visiting historical gurdwaras and many other places, sacred and mundane. Much of the material she has gathered has been compiled into an M.A. thesis in cultural anthropology. Titled Walking in the Footsteps of the Guru: Sikhs and Seekers in the Indian Himalayas, it presents a discussion of the significance of sacred journeys and sacred places within Sikh tradition and community. One sacred journey to one sacred place (Hemkunt Sahib, of course!) is examined in detail.
During 1999, Heather was in India leading the Sri Hemkunt Sahib Environment Safai Seva Project, a special team effort to clean and protect the natural environment along the route to Sri Hemkunt Sahib. The project was successful in installing dustbins and signs all along the yatra route, in educating the users of the area, and in encouraging the cooperation of locals, pilgrims, workers, management, and government.
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Dasam Guru Granth Sahib Ji. 1979. Volume 1. Amritsar: Bhai Chatar Singh Jiwan Singh.
Narotam, Pandit Tara Singh. 1884. Sri Guru Tirath Sangrah. Kampambala: Temple Press.
Santokh Singh, Bhai. n.d. Sri Gur Pratap Suraj [Prakash] Granth, 14 volumes, originally published 1843. Lahore: Caxton Press.
Smythe, F.S. 1985. The Valley of Flowers, originally published 1938. London: Cadogan Books.
Vir Singh, Bhai, ed. 1993. Sri Kalgidhar Chamatkar, originally published 1929. New Delhi: Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan.