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Travel Map

For a lover of maps, the era of GPS and Google is both a blessing and a cause for concern.  It is nice to be able to go online and immediately research an area for which a mail order map might take days to arrive.  But the generic look of these mapping tools suggests the same blandness and absence of character that people fear when they use the term “globalization” as a pejorative.

I have boxfuls of maps, and can’t imagine having too many.  Some are from travel planning sessions that never materialized, but many were acquired on the road, in their place of origin.  I still have trekking maps from Nepal, circa 1973, and although their style invited skepticism about accuracy and scale, the information within never let me down.  Today, they provide wonderful memories, and give me the greatest pleasure when I zoom into that same area on Google Maps and find nothing but a few place names against a blank background.

Trekking Map Pokhara to Jomosom Mandala Maps Detail

Nepal - Tukche to Jomosom // Detail of early 1970's trekking map.

As an exercise, I went online to see who could provide a similar map today, and came up with Omnimap.

Having never ordered from Omnimap, I cannot personally recommend them, but any map company that turns up first in a search on the phrase “trekking map Pokhara to Jomosom” has my respect.  A bit more poking around the net and my initial enthusiasm was dampened somewhat by Steven Flower, who informs us that “…the most commercialised short teahouse trek in Nepal, the Jomosom or Kali Gandaki trek is ideal for beginners or those on a time limit. Apparently a lot has changed in Nepal in the last 36 years, and my rare map test is no longer sufficiently exotic.  But I digress.

The map source I have used almost religiously over the last ten years is International Travel Maps and Books, or ITMB.

These folks don’t just sell maps, they make their own, and they are wonderful.  Especially wonderful are small notes sprinkled around the maps regarding points of interest, many of which I have not found anywhere else.

The Travel Chronicle family of travel websites relies on a hodge-podge of mapping sources.  We don’t shy away from the purely electronic when that best serves a need, but we make a special effort to show you portions of the more interesting, beautiful, and sometimes quirky maps that we’ve encountered along the way.  We assume that giving credit to those to whom it is due will avert any copyright complaints.

Regarding our trekking map of Nepal, we don’t know if International Graphic Art, DBA Mandala Maps, of Jhochen, Kathmandu, is still in business. Omnimap lists eight maps under the heading, “Himalaya Maps by Mandala, and though none are titled Pokhara to Jomosom, it is very likely the same company.  If we ever find their website, we’ll include the link here.


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