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Passage to 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

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India

India

by Stanley Wolpert

  • HISTORY
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 281 PAGES

Wolpert's reflections on India -- its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics -- make for a wonderfully 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)

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)

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)

Eyewitness Guide Delhi, Agra and Jaipur

Eyewitness Guide Delhi, Agra and Jaipur


by Anuradha Chaturvedi

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

With chapters on Taj Mahal, Amber Fort Palace, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Red Fort and dozens of other highlights for the traveler, this compact, gorgeously illustrated guide to Delhi and its environs features 900 color photographs, maps and site plans. (IDA151, $25.00)

Lonely Planet India Phrasebook

Lonely Planet India Phrasebook


by Omkar Koul

  • LANGUAGE & PHRASEBOOKS
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 398 PAGES

A palm-sized handy guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler. (IDA538, $10.99)

Love Mumbai

Love Mumbai


by Fiona Caulfield

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • BOXED
  • 160 PAGES

This beautifully made, affectionate guide, printed on hand-made paper, captures the soul of the city, pointing with authority to neighborhoods, shops, markets, restaurants and attractions. Third edition. (IDA389, $50.00)

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, $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 Unveiled

India Unveiled


by Robert Arnett

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2007
  • HARD COVER
  • 215 PAGES

A celebration of the people, landscapes and traditional culture of India, organized regionally and featuring 268 beautiful color photographs. It's a revealing, insightful portrait of the country combining history, geography and travelogue. (IDA107, $55.00)

India, A Wounded Civilization

India, A Wounded Civilization


by V.S. Naipaul

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

A vivid and unsentimental cultural portrait that draws together conversations with Indians, news reports, politics and literature, paying particular attention to the Hindu confrontation with the West. (IDA224, $12.95)

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, $14.95)

Indian Art, A Concise History

Indian Art, A Concise History


by Roy C. Craven

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

This convenient volume in the acclaimed "World of Art" series is a crisp, illustrated overview of the range of Indian art over the centuries. (IDA16, $21.95)

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal


by M.C. Joshi | Jean-Louis Nou | Amina Okada

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1993
  • HARD COVER
  • 231 PAGES

This lavish portrait features 158 full-color photographs (including four magnificent foldout panels) by the extraordinary Jean-Louis Nou. With grand exterior views, filigreed inscriptions and bejeweled floral mosaics. (IDA108, $75.00)

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)

The Ajanta Caves, Ancient Paintings of Buddhist India

The Ajanta Caves, Ancient Paintings of Buddhist India


by Benoy Behl

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

A beautifully photographed overview of the ancient murals and paintings of the life of Buddha carved into a hillside in western India. (IDA316, $34.95)

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)

Slowly Down the Ganges

Slowly Down the Ganges


by Eric Newby

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

In 1963, the author and his wife set out an 1,200-mile voyage down the Ganges River. The title could apply as easily to the ruminative attitude Newby takes towards his journey as to the many mishaps which bedevil the quest. (IDA179, $18.95)

A Fine Balance

A Fine Balance


by Rohinton Mistry

  • LITERATURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 624 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Set in Indira Gandhi's "Emergency Raj" of 1975 in an unnamed Indian "city by the sea," which bears a striking resemblance to Bombay, this tender novel follows the intermingled fortunes of a Parsi widow, her boarder and two tailors. (IDA92, $17.00)

Kim

Kim


by Rudyard Kipling

  • LITERATURE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 432 PAGES

For the sheer pleasure of its prose, insight into the British in India and its extraordinary sense of place, you can't do better than Kipling's Great Game classic about a boy who travels the Grand Trunk Road with the Dalai Lama. (IDA65, $9.00)

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)

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 White Tiger, A Novel

The White Tiger, A Novel


by Aravind Adiga

  • LITERATURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Mordant, funny, angry, horrifying, this Booker Prize-winning tale of a village pauper turned success (and murderer) skewers the ambition, inequity and corruption of 21st-century India. (IDA542, $16.00)

Travelers' Tales India

Travelers' Tales India


by James O'Reilly | Larry Habegger

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 496 PAGES

A collection of 45 descriptive and thought-provoking short excerpts on Indian life and culture, including contributions from Rushdie, Naipaul and Dalrymple, plus some valuable excerpts from books long out of print. (IDA05, $19.95)

Wild India, The Wildlife of India and Nepal

Wild India, The Wildlife of India and Nepal


by Guy Mountefort | Gerald Cubitt

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

An informative introduction to the natural history of the region in a handsome oversize volume. With hundreds of extraordinary photographs of the wildlife and landscapes of the Himalayas, the Indo-Ganges Plain and the Deccan. (IDA02, $29.95)

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)

Mammals of India

Mammals of India


by Vivek Menon

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 200 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

A Princeton Field Guide edition of Menon's authoritative survey of 400 mammalian species from tropical lowlands to the Himalayas. With large, clear photographs, range maps and introductory chapters on the groups of mammals, conservation and protected areas. (IDA546, $35.00)

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.