William McKay Aitken

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Bill Aitken
Bill Aitken.jpg
Bill Aitken in his Mussoorie garden in 2009
Born 1934
Tullibody, Scotland
Occupation Traveller
Nationality Indian (at birth: British)
Period 1975–present

William McKay Aitken (Bill Aitken) is a Scottish born,[1] naturalized Indian travel writer and a mountain lover.[2] He is the author of a number of books about India, its mountains, rivers and its steam trains.[3]

Born in Tullibody in Clackmannanshire, Scotland in 1934, Aitken attended Handsworth Grammar School Birmingham and completed his M.A in comparative religion at the University of Leeds. In 1959, he hitchhiked overland to India and taught for a year at Hindi HighSchool in Calcutta. From 1960 to 1972, he lived in Himalayan ashrams at Kausani and Mirtola. In 1972, he became a naturalized Indian citizen. With their Guru's blessings he joined Prithwi Bir Kaur, the dowager Maharani of the erstwhile Sikh Princely state of Jind as companion. Based in Delhi and Mussoorie, Aitken travelled widely in India, covering the religious landscape in a dozen travel books. Bill Aitken's writings are characterized by a free-wheeling description of his travels, interspersed with intimate details of the land and its people, and their religious beliefs. He has been President of the Friends of the National Rail Museum in New Delhi and hon. Librarian of the Himalayan Club.

Since the 1970s, he has lived in the hill station of Mussoorie in the Lower Western Himalaya. The surrounding region, especially the Garhwal Hills, has provided much of the material for his writings. With the passing of Prithwi Bir Kaur in 2010, he remains a trustee of the Maharani Prithwi Jind Memorial Trust.



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