Clarke describes the location perfectly, but then we would expect that seeing as he based the location on his home Sri Lanka! The elevator itself is made possible by a technological breakthrough involving exotic materials based on carbon atoms arranged in a special lattice, rendering mere threads stronger than steel. And so over many years his project takes shape...
The interesting thing is, although this was penned in the 70s (based on a russian idea from the 60s) this is perfectly feasible due to the discovery of such a compound known as Buckminster-Fullerine, named after its discoverer, and there are scientists hoping to perfect this idea in the future!
The story evolves from a tale of monks and scientists and moves along smoothly into a kind of techo thriller,all the while providing snippets of ancient history- after all part of the story is based on real events!
The book itself I bought many years ago for £5 from a second hand book market somewhere, and is a first edition Gollancz with dust wrapper.
Hope everyone has a merry christmas and a prosperous New Year!