North India Reads
Reading list inspiration for travel
Books & eBooks
- Ajanta, Ellora and ElephantaView on ApproachGuides.com* Our guidebook explores the art and architecture of India’s magnificent rock-cut caves of Ajanta, Elephanta, and Mumbai's Elephanta Island.
- Approach Guide to Delhi & AgraView on ApproachGuides.com* Explore the incredible Islamic architecture of Delhi and Agra — including the famed Taj Mahal — with our guidebook for curious travelers.
- City of Djinn: A Year in DelhiView on Amazon The author explores the seven earlier "dead" cities of Delhi as well as the eighth city - today's Delhi. By William Dalrymple.
- Empire of TeaView on Amazon With a particular focus on India's Assam, two highly-respected anthropologists explore the way tea has shaped politics, culture, and the environment throughout history. By Iris MacFarlane and Alan MacFarlane.
- 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.
- Guide to the Temples of KhajurahoView on ApproachGuides.com* Our guidebook profiles the city's famed temples and their erotic sculptures.
- 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.
- Islamic Gardens and LandscapesView on Amazon An academic, yet accessible review of the history, symbolism and function of Islamic gardens. By D Fairchild Ruggles.
- Kaleidoscope City: A Year in VaranasiView on Amazon Drawn back to the city after an initial encounter, the author presses his ear to its heartbeat to discover what it is that makes the spiritual capital of India so unique. By Piers Moore Ede.
- 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.
- Songs of KabirView on Amazon A compelling, engaging vernacular translation of the 15th century mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings influenced the Bhakti movement. Translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.
- Tea: History, Terroirs, VarietiesView on Amazon An excellent review of this culture-defining beverage, the authors offer a historical account and then move on to production in China, India, Taiwan and Japan. By Kevin Gascoyne, Francois Marchand and Jasmin Desharnais.
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.
- “In the Shadow of the State”View on RoadsandKingdoms.com Trekking in India's most remote Himalayan river valley. By Max Bearak.
- “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.
- “Islamic Calligraphy”View on MetMuseum.org An excellent, highly visual review of the subject by the renowned Harvard professor. By Annemarie Schimmel.
- “Making Perfume From the Rain”View on TheAtlantic.com Indian villagers have found a way to bottle the fragrance of monsoons. By Cynthia Barnett.
- “The Art of Gandhara”View on MetMuseum.org Ancient Gandhara, located in the rugged foothills of the Himalayas in what is today northwest Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, was was one of the birthplaces of anthropomorphic Buddhist art. By Kurt A Behrendt.
- “Tibet and India”MetMuseum.org Traces the transformation of Buddhism as it spread from India to Tibet. By Kurt Behrendt.
- “Unplugging in the Unofficial Capital of Yoga”View on NYTimes.com With her cellphone turned off, the author journeys to Rishikesh, India, where some people think yoga was born. By Mary Pilon.
- “Varanasi: India’s Soul City”View on Afar.com India’s holiest city embraces the cycle of life. An excellent evocation. By David Farley.
- “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.
Online Sources & Blogs
- AUM: Symbol, Sound and SilenceVisit ApproachGuides.com* Everything you need to know about AUM.
- Google Maps Street View of the Taj MahalVisit Google.com Get a Google Maps "Street View" of the Taj Mahal.
- Guide to the Call to PrayerVisit ApproachGuides.com* Our quick review of the intoxicating, ever-present call to prayer.
- 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.
- Islamic Prayer TimesVisit Islamicfinder.org Get up-to-date times for the five-daily prayer sessions.
- Tigers in IndiaVisit ApproachGuides.com* The best parks to see tigers in India.
- Varanasi: History, Sunrise, and the GhatsVisit ApproachGuides.com* An overview of the history of Varanasi and the importance sunrise and the ghats play in daily life.
- 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.
- The New IndiaListen on wnyc.org Ever wonder what it's like to work at a call center in Delhi? Hear Siddhartha Deb, creative writing teacher at the New School and journalist, who went undercover at just such a place, discuss his study of post-globalization India.
- 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.
- Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of ColorsView on Amazon Wonderfully illustrated, this book magnificently captures the world of Islam, celebrating its beauty and traditions for even the youngest readers. By Hena Khan and Mehrdokht Amini.
- 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.