Reading list inspiration for travel
City and region specific
Books & eBooks
- 660 CurriesView on Amazon Easy to follow recipes with curries from throughout India. Includes both traditional, regional curries and contemporary curries. By Raghavan Iyer.
- Approach Guides to IndiaView on ApproachGuides.com* Our guidebooks focus on India's premier sites for art and architecture: the ancient caves of Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta; Delhi & Agra's Mughal architecture (incl. Taj Mahal); the Hindu temples of Khajuraho; and the temples of south India.
- Gandhi: An AutobiographyView on Amazon The Indian inspiration in his own words. By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
- Ganges Water MachineView on Amazon Not only is the Ganges river basin one of the most densely populated in the world, but it also undergoes dramatic physical changes with the onslaught of the wet monsoon, where over one-meter of rainfall occurs in the span of three months. In this scholarly work, the author constructs an atlas of projects that harness the river. By Anthony Acciavatti.
- Glimpses of World HistoryView on Amazon A sweeping history of the world, penned as letters by the India's first-prime-minister-to-be from 1930-34 to his daughter Indira. By Jawaharlal Nehru.
- IndiaView on Amazon A succinct, pointed portrait of the country. A great introduction for the first-time traveler. By Stanley Wolpert.
- India: A Traveler’s Literary CompanionView on Amazon Fourteen short stories from some of India's best writers provide a telling portrait of the country. Edited by Chandrahas Choudhury.
- India: Sacred GeographyView on Amazon A Harvard professor explores the sacred places of India, taking the reader on an extraordinary trip through the beliefs and history of this rich and profound place. By Diana L Eck.
- Midnight’s ChildrenView on Amazon An award-winning fictional account of the birth of an independent India in 1947. By Salman Rushdie.
- Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s PartitionView on Amazon A few bloody months in South Asia during the summer of 1947 explain the fractured Hindu-Muslim world that troubles us today. By Nisid Hajari.
- Passage to IndiaView on Amazon This classic tells of the clash of cultures in British India as three English newcomers to India attempt to build a friendship with an Indian local. By EM Forster.
- The Rehla (Journey) of Ibn Battuta: India, Maldives and CeylonView on archive.org The famous Moroccan explorer's impressions of India, Maldives and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), drawn from his mid-14th century visit. English translation by Dr. Mahdi Husain.
- UntouchablesView on Amazon The story of escaping from lowest rung in India's caste system. By Narendra Jadhav.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “Citizens Jain”View on NewYorker.com Why India's newspaper industry is thriving. By Ken Auletta.
- “Cultivating a Wine Region in India”View on NYTimes.com Nashik, a picturesque area about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Mumbai, is turning into a popular wine destination. By Shivani Vora.
- “Ganges River: Revered, Soiled and Symbol of An Election Campaign”View on NYTimes.com Varanasi and the state of the river. The article has excellent video content also. By Shreeya Sinha.
- “India: Art and Culture”View on MetMuseum.org A wide-ranging review of country's art produced in the 14th-19th centuries. By Stuart Cary Welch.
- “India’s ‘High’ Holiday”View on TheAtlantic.com During Holi, Hindus welcome spring with bursts of color and marijuana-laced treats. By Ankita Rao.
- “Tibet and India”MetMuseum.org Traces the transformation of Buddhism as it spread from India to Tibet. By Kurt Behrendt.
- “Varanasi: India’s Soul City”View on Afar.com India’s holiest city embraces the cycle of life. An excellent evocation. By David Farley.
- “What Does Modi’s Victory Mean for the World?”View on NewYorker.com Narendra Modi's sweeping victory holds much potential. By John Cassidy.
- “Why Partition?”View on London Review of Books Examining Nehru's decision to partition the country. By Perry Anderson.
- “India’s Hidden Tiger Poachers”View on RoadsandKingdoms.com Almost all of India’s tigers are poached by its tribesmen. By Kim Wall.
- “Water From Elephants”View on TheMorningNews.com Humans have kept elephants for thousands of years, longer than we’ve domesticated chickens. Yet the great animals’ capacity to cry for freedom comes as a shock. By Jake Flanagin.
If you won’t have ready access to wifi during your travels, consider saving these articles for offline reading using the Instapaper app.
- AUM: Symbol, Sound and SilenceVisit ApproachGuides.com* Everything you need to know about AUM.
- Booze Around the WorldVisit economist.com This graphic reveals that India lags the rest of the world in per capita alcohol consumption.
- Global Population Forecasts By CountryVisit economist.com This graphic reveals that India will become overtake China to become the country with the world's largest population by 2020.
- How to Eat ThaliVisit ApproachGuides.com* Our tips for eating thali in India.
- India’s Best BloggersVisit IndianBloggers.org An excellent curated collection of India's top bloggers. Peruse the site and choose who best meets your interests.
- Indian Curries: A Guide by RegionVisit foodservicewarehouse.com A good review of the types of curries you'll encounter throughout the subcontinent and what makes them unique.
- Tigers in IndiaVisit ApproachGuides.com* The best parks to see tigers in India.
- Travelers’ Health | IndiaVisit CDC.gov Get the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for vaccines and medicines.
- World Bank | IndiaVisit worldbank.org A great resource for the country's quality of living indicators, economy and climate change data.
- Ajanta’s Buddhist Cave Paintings | King of Varanasi’s Hunting ExpeditionListen on soundcloud.com In this BBC podcast, listen to William Dalrymple explain the Buddhist cave paintings of India's Ajanta, focusing on the oldest, specifically those of Caves 9-10.
- British Rule in IndiaListen on soundcloud.com In this public address from 1951, Lord Radcliffe — famous for his role in the Partition — lays out the nature the institutions of British rule in India.
- Joseph Campbell on the Face of GloryListen on Spotify.com The great mythologist tells the story of Shiva and kirtimukha (face of glory), a frequently-encountered design motif in Hindu and Buddhist iconography, the symbolism of which gets to the heart of life's purpose.
- Mahatma GandhiListen on soundcloud.com Gandhi gives his thoughts on the nature and existence of God, recorded at London's Kingsley Hall in 1931.
- The Sounds of India: HindustaniListen to the Spotify playlist Listen to a personal collection of tracks featuring north India's signature Hindustani music compiled by Trip Reads founder Jennifer Raezer. The perfect pre-trip soundtrack.
Just for Kids
- Chaat and SweetsView on Amazon Rhymes and tempting illustrations bring Indian snack foods to life for children. By Amy Wilson Sanger.
- Eyewitness: ElephantView on Amazon Full-color guide to the world of elephants -- their natural history, behaviors, and the role they've played in human history. By Ian Redmond.
- The Little Book of Hindu DeitiesView on Amazon Entertaining book that brings the gods, goddesses, and stories of Hindu mythology to life. By Sanjay Patel.
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Adam RobertsFollow @ARobertsjourno The Economist's South Asia bureau chief based in India (and covering Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc)
- Twitter: Annie GowenFollow @anniegowen India correspondent for The Washington Post.
- Twitter: Incredible IndiaFollow @IncredibleIndia The official twitter feed of the ministry of tourism.
- Twitter: scroll.inFollow @scroll_in Indian News. Politics. Culture.
- Twitter: The CaravanFollow @thecaravanindia A journal of politics & culture. India's only narrative journalism magazine.
- Twitter: Times of IndiaFollow @timesofindia For English-language news on the country.
- Twitter: Vivek DehejiaFollow @vdehejia Economics professor @Carleton_U Columnist @livemint Co-author of Indianomix: Making Sense of Modern India