15 Books That Will Make You Fall in Love with INDIA

India, it is often said, is not a country, but a continent. Stretching from the frozen summits of the Himalayas to the tropical greenery of Kerala, its expansive borders encompass an incomparable range of landscapes, cultures and people. Walk the streets of any Indian city and you’ll rub shoulders with representatives of several of the world’s great faiths, encounter temple rituals performed since the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs, onion-domed mosques erected centuries before the Taj Mahal, and quirky echoes of the British Raj on virtually every corner.

Here is the list of 15 books which will not only make you fall in love with India but also helps you plan your trip to India, travel tips, less explored places to visit, etc. Click on the name of the book to buy.

1. Wonders Of The Himalaya

By Sir Francis Younghusband (Author)

Wonders of The Himalaya‘ is a work that details the authors adventures while travelling in the Himalayas. Francis Younghusband was born in 1863 at Munree, British India, the son of Major-General John W. Younghusband and Clara Jane Shaw. Younghusband travelled extensively throughout Asia, exploring the Changbai Mountains and areas of Manchuria. He also navigated an uncharted route from Kashgar to India through the Mustagh Pass, which earned him the honour of being elected as the youngest member of the Royal Geographical Society. He wrote widely on the subject of his travels, producing works such as: ‘South Africa of To-day’ (1899), ‘India and Tibet’ (1910), and ‘Kashmir’ (1911). He also wrote several works of a mystical nature.

2. The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta

By Kushanava Choudhury (Author)

“Everything that could possibly be wrong with a city was wrong with Calcutta.” And yet, after completing his education in the States, Kushunava Choudhury embodied his parents’ greatest fears by returning to the city they escaped for a better life. Arriving with grand plans, the flaws in which could not be detected while making them in the States, Choudhury returned to live in a city of concrete, mildewed buildings, political graffiti, jobless men arguing with the newspaper headlines in their pyamas, bazaars full of squatting fish-sellers, Communist bureaucrats increasingly accustomed to luxury and ubiquitous, inescapable grime. Sifting through the chaos and decay for those stories that are ignored by the papers, that don’t fall into any reporter’s beat, the Epic City is a soulful, insightful and meticulously researched account of everyday lives and an extraordinary portrait of a city which is a world unto itself.

3. When The Road Beckons

By Ravi Manoram (Author)

When the Road Beckons‘ is an inspiring odyssey that promises to transform a generation. Caught in the inescapable hurricane of life,the protagonist decides to snap out of the everyday mendacity and go on a 4000 km motorbike journey across Ladakh. Little does he know whether he can complete this arduous and uncertain journey and finds himself struggling with the whims and fancies of the mountain. But soon, his journey transforms into a metamorphic one, unsettling the dusts in his mind and teaching him invaluable lessons. The changing landscapes take him on a quest to discover his true identity as he learns to break free and introspect. He finds a connection to his past and finds his way to build his future, the future he always wanted to build but never had the courage to do so. He learns to annihilate the impediments on his path to creativity and entrepreneurship which were created by fear and uncertainty and goes on to follow his bliss. ‘When the Road Beckons’ is not merely a travelogue but a valuable read for anyone on a quest for meaning of life but is afraid to step into the unknown. It’s a story that will take you to that one person whom you are quite eager to discover. And that person is You.

4. Is That Even a Country, Sir!: Journeys in Northeast India by Train, Bus and Tractor

By Anil Yadav (Author), Anurag Basnet (Translator)

‘The story of India’s most neglected region told by the narrative voice of a poor, petulant reporter… Stripped of the exotic, the Northeast in [this book] appears bare, burnt and betrayed…’
—Scroll.in

When violence broke out before elections in Assam in 2000, in which Hindi-speakers from North India were massacred, two out-of-work journalists, Anil Yadav and Anhes Shashwat, decided to go there, braving violence and uncertainty, with the hope that their despatches would make them famous. At that time, they had very little knowledge about Northeast India and no strategy for their trip; they had few contacts and very little money.

On 29 November 2000, the pair embarked on what became an epic journey in which they crisscrossed Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur, staying in rundown hotels and guesthouses and in the homes of friends and strangers. They travelled by local buses through ambushes, they were forced to walk halfway down the highway from Shillong to Guwahati and, on one memorable occasion on the road to Sibsagar, Anil shared a tractor with a herd of goats.

They encountered, among others, a boatman on the Brahmaputra who clearly explained to them the politics behind the massacres of Hindi-speakers; former members of the ULFA who told them why they had surrendered; a former general of Zapu Phizo’s separatist army in Kohima who described to them his grueling march through virgin forest to China; a murderous raid in Shillong which gave them a glimpse of the insider-versus-outsider equation in Meghalaya; a Manipuri sculptor with whom Anil travelled to Tripura and who had to be rescued from the Army; and a barber who told them why an elephant was butchered by a mob in Dimapur.

Written with rare power and candour, Is That Even a Country, Sir! weaves history, politics, myth and gritty ground-zero reportage into an unprecedented and unforgettable portrait of Northeast India.

5. 50 things to do in Lucknow

By David Riley (Author), Discover India (Author)

Lucknow is the largest city in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and has a variety of sights to offer people visiting the city. Along with Agra and Varanasi (Banaras), it forms a part of the 3 cities in the Uttar Pradesh Tourism’s Heritage Arc.

Historically it was the capital of Awadh, controlled by the Delhi Sultanate, then the Mughal rule, and later by the Nawabs of Awadh. It was later taken control by the British East India Company in 1856 and continued to be under the British Raj till Independence on 15th August 1947.

Lucknow is a potpourri of art, culture, cuisine, dance and heritage. And it has always been an important city, historically. So here are a list of ’50 things to do’ when visiting this gorgeous city.

6. Hot Tea Across India

By Rishad Saam Mehta (Author)

On Rishad Saam Mehta’s journeys — and as a travel writer and all-round road-trip junkie, he’s been on many — there’s a particular thing he noticed. There’s not a highway, road or dirt track in India where you can’t find a cup of chai whenever you want it. And with those cuppas come encounters and incidents that make travelling in India a fascinating adventure. In this riveting book, which includes stories of honey- and saffron-infused tea shared with a shepherd in Kashmir, and a strong brew that revives the author after almost getting lynched by an irate mob in Kerala, Rishad takes you across the length and breadth of India, from Manali to Munnar, from the Rann of Kutch to Khajuraho, with a wonderful combination of wit, sensitivity and insight.

7. 20 Things To Do In Manali

By David Riley (Author), Discover India (Author)

Located in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh, Manali has a little something for everyone. For the adventure seekers, it has some amazing activities like trekking, canoying, paragliding, rafting and skiing. For the families, it gives a wintery escape from the great plains of India. And for the backpackers, it has some hippie villages located just around the main town. Apart from that, Manali is famous for its temples, local wines, as well as the serene surroundings of the River Beas.

Surrounded by high mountain peaks in the beautiful valley, Manali attracts tourists from all over India (and abroad), all year round. It even forms the detour point for a trip to Ladakh and Spiti higher up in the mountains.

Apart from the many places to see in Manali, it also consists of several weekend getaways in the form of Manikaran, Bir, Lahaul; as well as several other destinations, all in the midst of the beautiful Himachal valleys.

So read the book, pack your bags and see it all for yourself; and capture the beauty of Manali with the most powerful lenses in the world, your eyes!

8. India Travel Guide: 101 Coolest Things to Do in India

By 101 Coolest Things (Author)

This India guide is here to give you the inside track on:

  • the most delicious things to eat and drink, whether that happens to be jalebis straight from the fryer or lots and lots of delicious masala chai.
  • the most happening festivals, from throwing painting around at the annual Holi Festival or enjoying the festivities of the Pushkar Camel Fair
  • jaw dropping historical and cultural sights you won’t want to miss like the incredible fortresses across Rajasthan and iconic buildings like the Taj Mahal
  • outdoor adventures you won’t forget in a hurry, whether you fancy scuba diving off of Havelock Island, or you’d prefer skiing on the mountain peaks of the Indian Himalayas
  • where to shop for authentic souvenirs so that you can remember your trip to India forever
  • the best places to catch a show, some live music, and make local friends
  • and so much more awesomeness besides!

9. 50 Things To Do In Chandigarh

By David Riley (Author), Discover India (Author)

Chandigarh stands as a symbol of planned urbanization and forms a capital of both Punjab as well as Haryana. It is quite different from the rest of India in terms of its cleanliness as well as the safety factor; you can roam around at any hour and feel safe. (But don’t try this if you’re afraid of street dogs.)

It is about a 5 hour drive or a 4 hour train journey away from the capital city of Delhi, and finds itself located along the foothills, perfect for a quick getaway to the hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, like Shimla and Manali.

The quality of life in Chandigarh is considered to have no match (at least in India). Along with that, it offers some amazing sceneries, as well as things to do; for both the residents of the city as well as tourists visiting it.

So, pack your bags and discover some part of Chandigarh that you’ve never experienced before, on your next trip to the city. Till then, here goes a list of ‘50 things to do’ in Chandigarh.

10. A Search In Secret India

By Paul Brunton (Author)

‘He found many marvelous things…But now and then a man of real spirituality set his feet on the way that finally led him to what he had looked and hoped for.’ New York Times Book Review

The late Paul Brunton was one of the twentieth century’s greatest explorers of and writers on the spiritual traditions of the East. A Search in Secret India is the story of Paul Brunton’s journey around India, living among yogis, mystics and gurus, some of whom he found convincing, others not. He finally finds the peace and tranquility which come with self-knowledge when he meets and studies with the great sage Sri Ramana Maharishi.

11. No Path in Darjeeling is Straight: Memories of a Hill Town

By Parimal Bhattacharya (Author)

For a few years in the early 1990s—at a time when the embers of a violent agitation for Gorkhaland were slowly dying down—Parimal Bhattacharya taught at the Government College in Darjeeling. No Path in Darjeeling Is Straight is a memory of his time in the iconic town and one of the finest works of Indian non-fiction in recent years.
Parimal evocatively describes his arrival, through drizzle and impenetrable fog, at a place that was at odds with the grand picture of it he had painted for himself. And his first night there was spent sleepless in a ramshackle hotel above a butcher shop. Yet, as he tramped its roads and winding footpaths, Darjeeling grew on him. He sought out its history: a land of incomparable beauty originally inhabited by the Lepchas and other tribes; the British who took it for themselves in the mid-1800s so they could remember home; the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway—once a vital artery, now a quaint toy train—built in 1881; and the vast tea gardens with which the British replaced verdant forests to produce the fabled Orange Pekoe.
In the enmeshed lives of his neighbours—of various castes, tribes, religions and cultures—lived at the measured pace of a small town, Parimal discovered a richly cosmopolitan society which endured even under threat from cynical politics and haphazard urbanization. He also found new friends: Benson, a colleague whose death from AIDS showed him the dark underbelly of the hill station; Pratap and Newton, whose homes and lives reflected the irreconcilable pulls of tradition and upward mobility; and Julia and Hemant, with whom he trekked the forests of the Singalila mountains in search of a vanished Lepcha village and a salamander long thought extinct.
With empathy and in shimmering prose, No Path in Darjeeling Is Straight effortlessly merges travel, history, literature, memory, politics and the pleasures of ennui into an unforgettable portrait of a place and its people.

12. Essential Hindi Words And Phrases For Travelers To India

By Shalu Sharma (Author)

This book contains both Hindi words and phrases which will be a useful asset for trips to India. The book also contains conversational Hindi, a tourist might find useful for instance when they are shopping, booking a ticket, at the hotel, dealing with beggars, at the restaurant and so on.

So if you are traveling to India then this is the book to take with you. Or perhaps you are a student and planning a study trip to India then this book will be useful too. Perhaps you are learning Hindi and you wish to add something “extra” to your existing resource – or just simply you want to polish up on your Hindi.

The book is for those who do not have previous or very little knowledge of Hindi. Don’t be a stranger in India – learn some Hindi.

13. Travel Fearlessly in India: What Every Woman Should Know About Personal Safety

By J D Viharini (Author), Sharell Cook (Preface)

Travel Fearlessly in India, What Every Woman Should Know About Personal Safety” is a remarkably comprehensive, sensible, and astute book that’s packed full of perceptive information, tips and strategies. It covers everything from the mindsets of Indian men and how they conduct themselves to what you need to do if you have to go to the police. It’s a book every female should read, and reread, before traveling to India. — Sharell Cook, India Travel Expert for About.com

This book explains the cultural factors relating to women’s safety and gives many practical tips for minimizing and deflecting sexual harassment, along with strategies for dealing with potential problems. You’ll find uncommon insights into how visitors can live and travel safely in India, based on many years experience as well as extensive research. Ms. Viharini shows you how to acquire the necessary skills, understanding and confidence to feel safe in India. She explains how to present yourself in a way that makes you safer and how to avoid problems—and what to do if they arise anyway. understanding the cultural issues, which differ significantly from other cultures, and learning how to avoid problems. Many of these key cultural issues are at best dealt with superficially in other books.

In this book, you’ll find comprehensive information on:
• unique cultural factors relating to women’s safety
• how to have safe interactions with Indian men
• understand the Indian perspective on non-Indian women
• how to minimize harassment and deflect problems
• how to crowd source help in case of problems
• finding safe places to stay
• traveling safely
• and much more . . .

Knowledge is power—and this is knowledge you can’t afford to be without if you are a woman traveling in India. Empower yourself to feel safe in India—whether you are on your own or with a group.

14. Hyderabad: India, 99 Tips for Tourists & Backpackers

By Blether Travel Guides (Author)

Hyderabad – where the old meets the new – the brand new and cutting edge. This is now one of the most important cities in the world for we that live in the Internet age, with monolithic companies such as Google and Microsoft having their India headquarters based in the city.

All that thrusting technology sits side-by-side with the Old City, with it’s compelling historical narrative and exceptional architecture. The stories of dynasties past are told through the primary tourist attractions of Charminar, the Spanish Mosque, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Paigah Tombs, and Golconda Fort. If these walls could talk they would tell us of the ebbs and flows of fortunes of locally powerful families. Over the years Hyderabad was controlled by the Mughals, Nizams, and Qutub Shahis,

This travel guide will give you an insight into the history of the people, the rulers, and the events that shaped this important world city. The twenty-first century may well belong to India – and if it does it will be the people of Hyderabad that drive the country forward. Hyderabad – the old and the new – download this book now and start to plan your journey to fascinating Hyderabad.

15. Rajasthan: India’s ‘Land of Kings’

By Jo Coad (Author), Mike Coad (Author)

Rajasthan: India’s ‘Land of Kings’ is the first of a potential series based on the 4000+ photographs that we took whilst on our travels.

Whether you plan to visit Rajasthan yourself or you just enjoy photographic travel books in general, we hope that this book gives you an insight into one of India’s most colourful regions.

Hope you loved the collection. I’m sure this will add some value in your next travel. Feel free to share your favorite book about India in the comments. Excited to hear from you!!

Better World Books Good Reading

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