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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

Journey through India: From Royal Rajasthan to Kerala

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

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 EXIDA250. Buy these 4 items as a set for $69 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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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)

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)

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)

 
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)

Curry, A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors

Curry, A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors


by Lizzie Collingham

  • FOOD
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

This cultural history with recipes is appetizingly organized as a menu (biryani, vindaloo, chai, etc.). Collingham explores the origins and spread of Indian food and the interplay between Muslim, Hindu, Portuguese and British traditions on the subcontinent. (IDA319, $16.95)

Mangoes & Curry Leaves, Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent

Mangoes & Curry Leaves, Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent


by Jeffrey Alford | Naomi Duguid

  • FOOD
  • 2005
  • HARD COVER
  • 416 PAGES

In this latest book the roving, food-loving authors (Hot Sour Salty Sweet, Item SEA80) travel the seven countries of the Indian Subcontinent: Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, collecting not only 200 recipes but also engaging tales of the people, history and adventures. With color photographs of food and places throughout. (IDA320, $45.00)

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, $16.00)

The Idea of India

The Idea of India


by Sunil Khilnani

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 263 PAGES

Khilnani confronts the complexities, paradoxes and challenges of the nation in this brief, elegant survey of India since independence. (IDA160, $17.00)

Darsan, Seeing the Divine Image in India

Darsan, Seeing the Divine Image in India


by Diana L. Eck

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 115 PAGES

Tremendously useful for the traveler, this rigorous guide explains the significance and meaning of Hindu temples, festivals and ritual. Darsan, which translates as "seeing," reveals religious expression in India. (IDA75, $25.00)

Hindu Art and Architecture

Hindu Art and Architecture


by George Michell

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

An excellent survey of Hindu art and architecture, explaining the meaning and construction of principal images and buildings, as well as the development of Hinduism and the corpus of myths that have influenced its artistic tradition. (IDA147, $19.95)

Indian Art

Indian Art


by Vidya Dehejia

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

A beautifully illustrated, very readable history of Indian art and architecture. It considers the religious and intellectual contexts of three thousand years of Indian art, including the modern era. (IDA185, $29.95)

Indian Art, A Concise History

Indian Art, A Concise History


by Roy C. Craven

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE
  • >

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)

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)

A Fine Balance

A Fine Balance


by Rohinton Mistry

  • LITERATURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 624 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Set in 1975 in an unnamed Indian "city by the sea," tender novel follows the intermingled fortunes of a Parsi widow, her boarder and two tailors. A Booker Prize finalist. (IDA92, $17.00)

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)

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)

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)

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.