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Traipse the country through these books

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Traipse the country through these books

Want to travel but don’t have the time, energy or the resources?

No matter. Travel delights can also be found within the pages of a volume.  Fly on the wings of an author’s imagination to check out exotic locations, travel through time to discover your own city in another time zone. Or explore the world through the eyes of an adventurer, partaking in wicked dangerous exploits you wouldn’t dream of in real life.

Have a look at some of our favourite books on the country that’s called India. Some of them are popular tomes, some still fresh off the press and some undiscovered gems that you wont find on the front shelves in your favourite book store but are worth curling up with.

 

Right to Passage, Travels through India, Pakistan and Iran

 – Zeeshan Khan

75034_9789351508946In 2011, Zeeshan Khan decided to travel from his city Dhaka via India and Pakistan to Iran and on to Europe. This book traces his journey till he left the borders of Iran, a distance he completed in about 60 days. For Khan the journey was about travelling along a historical route steeped in cultures, languages, religions and races, all woven together as a single, indivisible whole.

The shared stories of these nations – culture, history, food, beliefs, religion, music and the arts are brought out beautifully in this travelogue. Among the places Zeeshan touched in his travels are Patna, where he tries to find the legendary Patliputra, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya, the birthplace of Buddhism and Amritsar, the seat of Sikhism in India.In Pakistan, he travels across the country, from Lahore, Karachi, Taxila, Peshawar to Multan and Quetta, while in Iran, Zeeshan covers towns of Neyshabur, Esfahan, Tabriz, Teheran and many more.

According to one review, Right to Passage is more than a historical account of these places though. Zeeshan has interesting observations in each of the places he visits. On how each place smells different, how facial similarities converge and diverge, what is common in religious rituals across the world, and how things change and remain the same.

 

Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
– William Dalrymple

9781408800614This 2009 travel book by Dalrymple has stories of nine Indians including a nun, dancer of Kannur, Devadasi, Rajasthani folk singer couple and a Hindu woman from Bihar who follows Sufism. Also, read about a Tibetan monk in Dharamsala, an idol maker from Tamil Nadu, lady from Tarapith in West Bengal who adopted the Tantric traditions and

The book  explores how traditional religions are observed in today’s India, revealing ways of life that we might otherwise never have known.

This is Dalrymple’s seventh book, and one which talks about India as seen by the author on his travels, explores the lives of nine such people, each of whom represent a different religious path in nine chapters.

 

 

The Hindus: An Alternative History

– Wendy Doniger

Doniger_The_HindusThis book raked up more controversy and hence racked up even more readership subsequent to it. Nevertheless, Doniger who is considered one of the world’s foremost scholars of Hinduism, takes a wry look at the faith through the lens of women and dalits to paint an evocative picture of contemporary India, one that gives rich insight into the country we thought we know. This is a great book for an insightful look into one of the world’s most complex religious and philosophical traditions.

 

 

Following Fish

– Samanth Subramanian

51xRibncq4L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_This is not an oft read book, but it’s a charming tale of coastal India’s relationship with fish, something everyone interested in India and its geography should know, considering we are ocean bound on all three sides. This was Subramanian’s first book and  as one review says, it captures with delicacy and warmth the slower rhythms of the seaside, and India’s love affair with its regional delicacies. If you’re heading south, and plan on gorging yourself on fish curries, this is the book for you.

 

 

A Strange Kind of Paradise

– Sam Miller

A-Strange-Kind-of-ParadiseThis book captures India as only a journalist who has spent two decades in the country and has an Indian spouse to boot, can.

It captures with precision the enchantment and repulsion this country engenders in everyone – right down from Alexander the Great to Steve Jobs. A Strange Kind of Paradise is an exploration of India’s past and present, from the perspective of a foreigner who has lived in India for many years. Sam Miller investigates how the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, Arabs, Africans, Europeans and Americans — everyone really, except for Indians themselves — came to imagine India. It could just change your perception of the country too.

 

 

Walking the Himalayas 

– Levison Wood

 51MwqkrecxL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Published in January this year, Levison Wood’s most challenging expedition yet begins along the Silk Road route of Afghanistan and travels through five countries. Following his trek along the length of the Nile River, explorer Levison Wood navigated the treacherous foothills of the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range. It is an interesting insight of an outsider into the rigours that the Himalayas can offer. Following in the footsteps of the great explorers, Levison recounts the beauty and danger he found along the Silk Road route of Afghanistan, the Line of Control between Pakistan and India, the disputed territories of Kashmir and the earth-quake ravaged lands of Nepal. Over the course of six months, Wood and his trusted guides trek 1,700 gruelling miles across the roof of the world.

Packed with action and emotion, Walking the Himalayas is the story of one intrepid man’s travels in a world poised on the edge of tremendous change.

 

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