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Spotlight on India

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXIDA410. Buy these 5 items as a set for $92 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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India

India

by Stanley Wolpert

  • HISTORY
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 281 PAGES
  • BEST SELLER

Wolpert's reflections on India -- its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics -- make for a literate, succinct primer. (IDA04, $29.95)

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

by Giles Tillotson | Mary Beard

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 190 PAGES

An enlightening pocket guide to the myth, meaning and legends of the celebrated tomb, "the queen of architecture." (IDA528, $14.95)

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

by William Dalrymple

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 350 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Dalrymple infectiously interweaves his own experiences over a year in Delhi with its art, architecture, history and literature. (IDA06, $17.00)

Insight Guide India

Insight Guide India

by Insight Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 496 PAGES

An illustrated overview of India, with essays on its attractions, history, nature and culture. Includes introductions to the major temples, forts and wildlife sites and plenty of color photos and maps. (IDA19, $24.99)

India Adventure Map

India Adventure Map

by National Geographic Society

  • 2011
  • MAP

The most detailed shaded relief map (at a scale of 1:2,100,000) of India available. (IDA18, $12.95)

 
Culture Smart! India

Culture Smart! India


by Becky Stephen

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

A concise, well-illustrated guide to both social and business customs in India. (IDA298, $9.95)

Love Delhi

Love Delhi


by Fiona Caulfield

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • BOXED
  • 184 PAGES

Packaged in very fashionable locally woven cloth, this beautifully made, discerning guide captures the soul of the city, pointing with authority to neighborhoods, shops, markets, restaurants and attractions. A labor of love by the Bangalore-based Fiona Caulfield and friends. Third edition. (IDA403, $50.00)

Love Jaipur, Rajasthan

Love Jaipur, Rajasthan


by Fiona Caulfield

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • BOXED
  • 172 PAGES

The exuberant Caulfield includes her favorite palaces and places, experiences, get-aways, markets, shops and must-sees in this rather remarkable, carefully curated hand-crafted guide. With sections on Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Agra and Rajasthan. Second edition. (IDA590, $50.00)

A Free Man

A Free Man


by Aman Sethi

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 230 PAGES

Sethi conjures Mohammed Ashraf and his indelible group of day laborer friends in the Old Delhi Railway Station in this searing portrait of life -- and injustice -- in contemporary India. (IDA689, $15.95)

Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God

Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God


by Jonah Blank

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 370 PAGES

Blank's entertaining portrait of contemporary India and Sri Lanka mixes reporting, anecdote and myth as he travels, sometimes in the footsteps of India's great hero Rama. (IDA250, $18.00)

Banaras

Banaras


by Diana L. Eck

  • HISTORY
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

This history of the holiest and oldest of Indian cities (now known as Varanasi), the home of Shiva, encompasses many millennia of Buddhist and especially Hindu practices along the Ganges. (IDA211, $32.00)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Behind the Beautiful Forevers


by Katherine Boo

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

A Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and writer at The New Yorker, Boo turns her four years among the people of a Mumbai slum into an absorbing tale of the clash of India, new and old, prosperous and disenfranchised. (IDA654, $16.00)

In Spite of the Gods

In Spite of the Gods


by Edward Luce

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 346 PAGES

Luce tackles the challenges and reality of the world's largest democracy with insight and balance in this portrait of a nation in transition. (IDA349, $16.95)

India, A Sacred Geography

India, A Sacred Geography


by Diana L. Eck

  • RELIGION
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 576 PAGES

Professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard, Diana Eck turns her interest in temples and places of pilgrimage into a celebration of the diversity of popular religious traditions in India in this richly rewarding travelogue. (IDA634, $16.00)

May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons, A Journey Among the Women of India

May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons, A Journey Among the Women of India


by Elisabeth Bumiller

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1991
  • PAPER
  • 220 PAGES

A wonderfully written and fascinating portrayal of Indian women from Bollywood stars to Indira Gandhi to prostitutes. It's an insightful portrait of the country as seen through the eyes of its women. (IDA37, $16.00)

Mughal India, Splendours of the Peacock Throne

Mughal India, Splendours of the Peacock Throne


by Valerie Berinstain | Paul Bahn

  • HISTORY
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 159 PAGES

This illustrated pocket guide presents the history, culture and splendor of the Mughal court and its celebrated architecture in hundreds of archival photographs and drawings. (IDA50, $15.95)

Taj Mahal, Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire

Taj Mahal, Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire


by Diana Preston | Michael Preston

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 317 PAGES

A vivid narrative history of the creation of the Taj Mahal, a memorial created by Moghul emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife. (IDA340, $16.95)

Along the Ganges

Along the Ganges


by Ilija Trojanow

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

In this colorful travelogue, Trojanow follows the Ganges from its source in the Himalayas to the cities that it feeds, using the holy river as a means to ponder Hinduism, culture, ecology and the tension between ancient and modern India. (IDA294, $11.95)

Dreaming in Hindi, Coming Awake in Another Language

Dreaming in Hindi, Coming Awake in Another Language


by Katherine Russell Rich

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES
  • NEW

Rich skewers the hilarity and challenges of taking on not just a new language but also a new culture in this spirited tale of life in Udaipur. (IDA565, $14.95)

Gandhi, An Autobiography, or the Story of My Experiments with Truth

Gandhi, An Autobiography, or the Story of My Experiments with Truth


by Mohandas K. Gandhi

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 1993
  • PAPER
  • 528 PAGES

There is no substitute for reading Gandhi in his own simple, direct prose. A highly recommended glimpse into the personality and life of this remarkable figure. (IDA163, $16.00)

Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India


by William Dalrymple

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

From Sufi dervish and Buddhist monk to outcast and temple worshiper: nine people, nine lives, all captured by Dalrymple as he journeys throughout India in search of remarkable individuals transformed by religion. At turns bemusing, dazzling and heart-wrenching, this is his first travel book in 15 years. (IDA587, $16.00)

India, A Traveler's Literary Companion

India, A Traveler's Literary Companion


by Chandrahas Choudhury

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

Each of these 14 stories evokes place and landscape, providing an excellent introduction both to contemporary writers and to India's diverse cultures and history. (IDA598, $14.95)

Malgudi Days

Malgudi Days


by R. K. Narayan

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Wonderful tales from one of India's foremost writers about a fictional South Indian town populated by quirky characters whose unique approaches to tradition and modernity are the stuff of great short stories. (IDA59, $16.00)

Midnight's Children

Midnight's Children


by Salman Rushdie

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 533 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Crowned Best of the Booker in 2008, Rushdie's greatest novel is a madcap, comic take on the birth of modern India in all its splendid and unexpected manifestations. (IDA12, $16.00)

Mirrorwork, 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997

Mirrorwork, 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997


by Salman Rushdie | Elizabeth West

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 554 PAGES

A selection of 20th-century Indian prose, both fiction and non-fiction, compiled by Salman Rushdie and featuring work by Jawaharlal Nehru, R.K. Narayan, Satyajit Ray, Amit Chaudhuri and Vikram Seth. Published in celebration of India's 50 years of independence. (IDA293, $22.99)

The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things


by Arundhati Roy

  • LITERATURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

This luminous, Booker Prize-winning novel is part mystery, part family saga -- a tale of lost innocence set in Kerala during the tumult of the 1960s. (IDA31, $16.00)

The Moor's Last Sigh

The Moor's Last Sigh


by Salman Rushdie

  • LITERATURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 435 PAGES

A sweeping family epic that tackles many of the most complex aspects about Indian culture. In his characteristically rich prose, Rushdie tells the history of India, set among the spice traders of Cochin. (IDA89, $16.00)

Birds of India

Birds of India


by Richard Grimmett | Carol Inskipp | Tim Inskipp

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

Thoroughly revised, with 73 new plates and many others updated or repainted, the second edition of the masterful Birds of India now features all maps and text opposite the plates for quicker and easier reference. (FG43, $39.50)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.