Unseen Passage

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Silk Road Class 11 English Notes

Please refer to Silk Road Class 11 English Notes and summary provided below. The following summary and solved questions have been designed as per the latest syllabus and books issued by CBSE, NCERT, and KVS. By going through and learning the below notes for Class 11 English you will be able to understand the entire chapter and easily solve questions in your exams. Also, refer to the Class 11 English Chapter Summary for all chapters in your textbooks.

Class 11 English Silk Road Summary and Questions

The following Silk Road Class 11 English Notes and questions answers will help you to easily learn the entire chapter. You will be able to solve all questions in upcoming Class 11 English exams and score better marks


This article gives a record of a adventure from tenderly rolling hills of Ravu to Mount Kailash. The motivation behind this journey was religious. The storyteller wanted to finish the kora at Mount Kailash. Lhamo gave him a long-sleeved sheepskin coat to keep him warmer. The narrator and Tsetan took a short cut to get off the Changtang. This route would take them south-west, almost directly towards Mount Kailash. It involved crossing fairly high mountain passes. Tsetan said that there would be no issue if there was no snow. This alternate route took them crosswise over tremendous fields having parched fields. They saw a few gazelles and a great herd of wild asses. They noticed clouds of dust rising in the sky.

As the hills arrived again, they passed shepherds tending their flocks. These men or women were well-wrapped. They would pause and look at the vehicle. Sometimes they would wave as the vehicle passed by them. When snow-cappedok the car close to the sheep, the animals would try to avoid the speeding vehicle by dodging to one side track that, the narrator and Tsetan passed the dark tents of the nomads in lonely places. A huge black dog, a Tibetan mastiff would stand to guard outside. These dogs raised their enormous heads erect and viewed the narrator’s vehicle. As the vehicle came nearer they would begin yapping and kept running towards their vehicle. The dogs were totally fearless of their vehicle. Tsetan had to apply the brake and turn aside.

The dogs would quit barking simply in the wake of pursuing them off the property. Then, they entered a valley. The snow-topped mountains were visible on the hrizon. The river in this valley was wide and for the most part obstructed with ice. The track held near the river bank and wound with the curved banks. Gradually they gained height and the valley-sides closed in. They were climbing up the hill. The turns became sharper and the ride bumpier. Tsetan drove in third gear. The narrator felt the pressure building up in his ears. He held his nose, snorted and cleaned them. They struggled round another tight bend. Tsetan stopped. He opened his door and jumped. Daniel too left the vehicle. There was snow on the track. It stretched for about fifteen metres. Then it became smaller and the dirt trail reappeared. There was no way around the snow patch as there was snow on either side. Moreover, the bank was too steep for their vehicle to scale. They were at 5,210 metres above sea level. Tsetan grabbed handfuls of dirt. He flung them across the icy top layer. The narrator and Daniel joined him and threw dirt. Then Tsetan drove the car slowly and carefully on the icy surface. Daniel and the narrator stayed out of the vehicle to lighten Tsetan’s load. Ten minutes later, they stopped at another blockage. This time Tsetan decided to try and drive around the snow. The slope was steep and full of big rocks. Somehow Tsetan got past over the difficult route. Once he cut a very sharp bend. They continued to climb in the bright sunshine. They crept past 5,400 metres. The narrator’s head began to beat horribly. He took gulps from a water bottle. Finally, they reached the top of the pass at 5,515 metres. There was a large cairn of rocks. It was decorated with white silk scarves and ragged prayer flags. They took a turn round the cairn in a clockwise direction. The lower atmospheric pressure was allowing the fuel to expand. It could be dangerous. So, Tsetan advised them not to smoke. As they moved down the other side of the pass, the narrator’s headache soon cleared. It was at two o’clock. They stopped for lunch. They ate hot noodles inside a long canvas tent. The plateau was pockmarked with salt flats and brackish lakes. By late afternoon, they had reached the small town of Hor. They were back on the main east-west highway. It followed the old trade route from Lhasa to Kashmir. Daniel found a ride in a truck to return to Lhasa. Tsetan got the punctured tyres repaired. The narrator found Hor a grim, miserable place with no vegetation. They had tea in Hor’s only cafe. They left Hor after half an hour. They drove past rocks and rubbish westwards towards Mount Kailash.

Important Points

Leaving Ravu:
The author left Ravu in the company of Daniel and Tsetan. Before leaving the place, Lhamo gave him a gift. She gave him a long-sleeved sheepskin coat. Their next destination was Mount Kailash and Tsetan knew a short cut. He said the journey would be smooth if there was no snow.

The sight of Drokbas:
As they passed by the hills, they could see the lonely drokbas tending their flocks. There were men and women, well wrapped. They would pause and stare at their car, occasionally waving as they passed.

The Tibetan Mastiff:
As they passed the nomad’s tents there were the Tibetan mastiffs. They would explode into action as they neared the tents. They barked furiously and completely fearless. They would chase the car for some distance and would then go back.

Ice blocking their way:
The turns became sharper and bumpier. The sudden and unexpected fall of snow started blocking their way. Both the author and Daniel got out of the car for Tsetan to drive it safely, taking sharp bends. They were at 5210 meters above the sea level. The icy top layer of the snow was very dangerous; the car could slip off the road. The snow continued blocking their way. As they reached 5515 meters above the sea level, the atmospheric pressure became very low and Tsetan opened the lid of the petrol tank to release the evaporated fuel. The author experienced severe headache.

The town of Hor:
By late afternoon, they had reached the small town of Hor. Daniel returned Lhasa and Tsetan repaired the flat tyre of the car. Hor was grim, miserable place. There was no vegetation whatsoever, just dust and rocks. There was the accumulated refuse everywhere. Unlike the past, the place no longer appeared holy.

Reaching Darchen:
By 10.30 p.m., they reached a guesthouse in Darchen. The author had a very troubled night. His sinus were blocked and he was not able to get enough oxygen and finding it difficult to sleep. Most of the night he sat up and was not able to sleep.

Visiting the Medical College:
The next day Tsetan took him to the Darchen Medical College. The doctor told him it was just cold and the altitude giving him troubles. He gave him some medicine and that night he was able to sleep well.

Tsetan leaving for Lhasa:
Tsetan left the author in Darchen and went away. He did not mind if the author would die in Darchen. He was a good Buddhist and believed in life after death. However, he was worried it could affect his business, as he may not get more tourists to be accompanied.

Dry Darchen:
Like Hor Darchen was dusty and heaps of refuse could be seen all around. There were not many shops in Darchen. The town appeared to be sparsely populated. He felt lonely, as they were not any pilgrims. He had reached there very early in the season.

Meeting Norbu:
The author wanted to reach Mount Kailash to do kora. But he didn’t want to do it alone. He was looking for someone who could speak or understand English. One day he was sitting in a café. When Norbu saw him reading an English book he came and introduced him to the author. He was a Tibetan, but worked in Beijing at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He too was there to do kora. But he was not a religious person. Both of them decided to climb Mount Kailash.

Short Questions

Question: Describe the first meeting of Norbu with the narrator.
Answer: The narrator met Norbu in a small and dark café in Dsrchen. Norbu came in and asked if he could sit opposite (to) him. He asked if the narrator was an English man and then they struck up a conversation. Norbu was a Tibetan who, like the author, was there to do Kora. He worked in Beijing at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences knew English.

Question: Why did the narrator feel that perhaps Norbu could turn out to be the ideal companion?
Answer: The narrator was heading for Mount Kailash to complete the kora. Originally, he had thought of making the trek in the company of devout believers. Then he met Norbu, who was a Tibetan and like the author, was there to do Kora. Norbu knew English and could answer many of his questions. He also suggested hiring some yaks to carry their luggage. All these things suited the narrator and so, he thought that Norbu could be an ideal companion for him.

Question: Why did the author take the short cut inspite of high mountain passes?
Answer: The short cut would take them southwest, almost directly towards Mount Kailash. Crossing high mountain passes posed breathing problems. Absence of snow meant a fairy good ride.

Question: What did the author notice in the vast open plains after leaving Ravu?
Answer: These vast open plains had only dry pastures. A few gazelles could be seen nibbling the grass in those arid pastures. When the plains grew stonier than grass, great herds of wild asses or “Kyangs” were seen moving together.

Question: Who gave the narrator “a farewell present and was the present given at Ravu?
Answer: The narrator was about to leave Ravu for Mount Kailash to do the kora when Lhambo, a Tibetan woman, wanted to give him a farewell present. She wanted to give the narrator some warm clothes. She gave one of the long sleeved sheepskin coats that all the men wore.

Question: Do you think Norbu was a better substitute for Tsetan? Justify your answer.
Answer: The author was in a disturbed state of mind when he met Norbu at Darchen. He felt that Norbu could be an ideal companion for him. Since Tsetan had left, the narrator knew no one in Darchen who knew English to answer even his most basic questions. Then he met Norbu. He knew English better than Tsetan. Norbu was an academician who, like the author, was going to Mount Kailash to do the kora. So, I think Norbu was even a better substitute for Tsetan.

Question: Who are “drokbas”? What were drokbas doing in the “rocky wilderness”?
Answer: Drokbas are a hill tribe. They wear long-sleeved sheepskin coat to protect themselves from the cold of the high mountains. They would pause and stare at the travelers and their cars. Occasionally they waved at the passing travelers. Drokbas lived in dark tents guarded by huge black Tibetan mastiffs. As hills started to push up once more from the arid pastures, solitary men or women drokbas were seen tending their flocks in the rocky wilderness.

Question: How did the author pass the first night at Darchen? How did he get relief?
Answer: It was a very troubled night. The author suffered from cold. He breathed through his mouth. His chest felt heavy as he gasped for oxygen. He tried his best to sleep but in vain. Almost the whole night, he kept awake. Tsetan took the sick author to Darchen Medical College where, he was given a five-day course of Tibetan medicine, which helped him to get well.

Long Questions

Question: Write a note on the author Nick Middleton’s stay at Darchen and his meeting with Norbu.
Answer: Nick Middleton and Tsetan, the driver, reached Darchen at 10:30 P.M. The author checked into a guesthouse for the night. He could not sleep because of a blockage in his nose. He spent a troublesome night. In the morning, Tsetan took him to the Darchen Medical College, where a Tibetan doctor gave him medicine. When the author got well, Tsetan went back. The author was alone in Darchen, waiting for the pilgrimage season to begin. He had arrived early and was disappointed to see no pilgrims. He became restless and forced himself to think positively. It was then that he met a man called Norbu, in a cafe. He was Tibetan, who worked in Beijing and was writing academic papers about the Kora to Mount Kailash. The author was relieved to meet Norbu as he was the ideal companion to do the Kora with.

Question: Describe Nick Middleton’s journey from Ravu to the height of 5210 metres.
Answer: The author Nick Middleton started on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash. He was to do the Kora. He left Ravu, one early morning in the taxi of Tsetan. A Lhambo woman gave him a long sleeved sheepskin coat as a farewell present. Such coats are worn by the Drokbas, to keep away the cold. Tsetan took a short cut that would take them directly towards Kailash. During the drive, they crossed vast, grassy plains followed by the stony plains and then arid pastures. They saw a few gazelles and wild asses called Kyang. Then came the hills where a few solitary, Drokbas tended to their flocks. There were nomads’ dark tents, guarded by Tibetan mastiffs. Soon they approached the snow-capped mountains, where the ride became bumpy with sharp turns. The car had to be stopped, as there was ice on the track for nearly 15 metres. Tsetan and the others threw dust on the ice and the car could move on. This happened at the height of 5210 metres. The author started developing a headache.

Question: What impression do you form of the life on the hills in India from the account given by Nick Middleton in Silk Road?
Answer: The life of the people on the hills in India is very different from urban life. The people are simple, hard working, cut off from the luxuries of urban life. They are usually farmers or shepherds making a living in the grassy, arid plains. They live in a pollution free environment; some of them are nomads travelling from place to place. At the same time, they are gentle and kind. The poor Lhambo woman gave the author a sheepskin coat to keep him away from cold. Tsetan, the driver took good care of the author. He took him to a Tibetan doctor and ensured that he got well. The people have a simple heart and live on simple food. They are close to Nature and enjoy the lonely life.

Question: Describe the author’s journey from the top of the pass to his stay at Hor.
Answer: A large cairn of rocks marked the top of the pass at a height of 5515 metres. They took the car in a turn around the cairn, according to tradition. The author, Daniel and Tsetan, the driver, careered down the pass to the other side. The author’s headache cleared and they stopped for lunch at 2 P.M. By late afternoon, they reached the small town of Hor, which was on the shore of the sacred lake, Manasarovar. Daniel parted company and went to Lhasa.Tsetan had to repair the punctured tyres, so he sent the author to a cafe for half an hour. The town did not attract the author. Though it was near Mansarovar, it was dirty and full of refuse. When Tsetan returned, the author was glad to continue on his journey.

Silk Road Class 11 English Notes

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