‘The Great Game’ (also referred to as the Tournament of Shadows) is a term used to describe the political and diplomatic confrontation that existed during most of the 19th Century between the British Empire and the Russian Empire centered around Afghanistan and its surrounding regions. The classic Great Game period is generally regarded as running approximately from the Russo-Persian Treaty of 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907, in which nations like the Emirate of Bukhara fell.
Alexander Burnes was a British adventurer and employee of the East India Company during this turbulent era. He spoke Hindi and Persian and was nicknamed Bokhara Burnes for his role in establishing contact with and exploring Bukhara, which made his name. He was rumored to be a spy during the first Afghan War and was knighted by Queen Victoria for his clandestine services during the conflict.
Burnes kept a lively, detailed record of his trail-blazing journey across Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, the Indian sub-continent and beyond which he later published in three volumes to great acclaim, entitled Travels into Bokhara - A Voyage up the Indus to Lahore and a Journey to Cabool, Tartary & Persia.
This new digital edition of Travels into Bokhara - Volume I has an image gallery with illustrations referenced by Burnes, including a plate of the original Buddhas of Bamiyan, the giant Buddha icons dynamited and destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.