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Home to over 1.2 billion people, India features a varied landscape that stretches from the Himalayas in the north to the flat coastline of the Indian Ocean in the south. In addition to the vast and diverse human population, the country also hosts plenty of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. Our recommended reading for travelers includes an ample array of Indian authors—from Rohinton Mistry to Pankaj Mishra, from Arundhati Roy to Salman Rushdie—to reflect the rich nuances of the country and its inhabitants.

Follow the links below to see recommended reading for each destination.

The Longitude Blog – India
Coming Home to Tibet
TBT177“China drew a blanket of complete silence over Tibet,” writes Tsering Wangmo Dhompa of the twenty years following the 1959 Tibetan Uprising against Chinese presence in Tibet. Since that time, the country has gradually opened to travelers, who discover the formerly isolated state transformed by the Chinese intrusion. For those who have yet to access the border, Dhompa acts as an intermediary. The daughter of a prominent Tibetan nomadic family, born in exile and raised in Nepal and India and now residing in San Francisco, she effortlessly ushers readers across borders and between worlds. Dhompa’s circumstances also leave her at a loss, searching for home and identity in her mother’s country.
The Conquerors
Early on in his new book The Conquerors, How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire, historian Richard Crowley describes a gorgeous work of cartography, housed in Lisbon’s Castle of St. George, depicting the topography of the known world from the perspective of fifteenth-century Europeans. The ten-foot map—commissioned by King Afonso and produced by Venetian cartographer Fra Mauro—is described by Crowley as “microscopically detailed and brilliant with gold leaf, wavy seas of vivid blue and the images of castellated cities.
Kaleidoscope City
“Perhaps for all of us,” Piers Moore Ede begins his new book Kaleidoscope City, “there is a single country, and within that a single place, in which some essential element of the world is illuminated for the first time.” For Ede that place is Varanasi, a city in Northeast India he first visited at 25 and later returned to for a year with the sole purpose of writing about it. India can be intimidating to travelers unused to its chaos and crowds. To Ede, Varanasi captures the essence of the larger country, melding the nation’s colors and contradictions into the microcosm of one city.