Prince Peter's 7 years in Kalimpong: Collecting in a Contact Zone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The main protagonist of this paper is H.R.H. Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark (1908–1980), an old-world ethnographer and explorer who went to Kalimpong in the 1950s, first as a member and later as the leader of the Third Danish Expedition to Central Asia. The expedition’s aims were to explore and document empty spots on the map and to rescue the remnants of local cultures in Upper Asia. With the developing crisis in Tibet, however, Prince Peter was stranded in Kalimpong, waiting in vain for permission to enter Tibet. Yet unfavourable political circumstances turned into great opportunities for the expedition as the advance of the People’s Liberation Army into Tibet led to a stream of refugees into Kalimpong: “We had been denied entry into Tibet, but Tibet had come to us.” In this article, we explore Prince Peter’s seven years in Kalimpong and how he navigated this particularly intense contact zone, negotiating difficult political, personal, and professional circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranscultural Encounters in the Himalayan Borderlands : Kalimpong as a ‘Contact Zone’
EditorsMarkus Viehbeck
Number of pages27
PublisherUniversitatsverlag Heidelberg
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Cite this