Monday, January 21, 2013

My Choice Of Travel Books On India

I did once. And I never did it again. I’m not comfortable in doing postmortem of a book, especially which I love to read. There are plenty of them, which I read more than once, but I never dared to scrutinize it. Needless to say, I love to read, and over the time my propensity changes from fiction to academic; scholarly to philosophical. 

In general I like to read adventure literature including travel and other stories. Some of my all-time favorite are Into 'The Wild', 'Into Thin Air', 'Chander Pahar (in Bengali),' 'The Call of the Wild', 'Tibetan Book of Death' and others. Here I’m listing some travel book or related books on India that will inspire you to come to India, or at least read the literature once.

Room On The Roof by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond is a travelers' choice
I queerly relate this book with my own living for more than 5 years in Delhi. In this first novella (Ruskin Bond wrote it when he was 16 year old), Rusty, a 16-year-old Anglo Indian boy dissatisfied with declining culture of European community at Dehra Dun. He lived in a room on the roof and soon left his home and joined his friend. 

The best thing about this novella is the simplicity. The teenage imaginary, minute observation of nature, childhood innocence and vivid description of Dehra Dun is simply awesome. A must read for everyone to experience a fresh feeling.

Man Eaters Of Kumaon by Jim Corbett

1930s book still thrills travelers
While reading this book, I had become a tiger like, not preyed upon men but on words written by hunter writer, and Conservationist Jim Corbett. The detailing of Kumaon hills and villages, and traveled the arduous path of jungle stalking man-eater tigers is thrilling. His descriptive tale of villages, jungles coupled with incredible portrayal of suspense and action makes it a definite read.

Footfalls Of Indian History by Sister Nivedita

Scholarly item for serious readers
This is a scholarly book written in excellent English. Sister Nivedita discussed many facets of India, her glory, weakness and other. It’s a different genre than a regular India book; more stress on the basic understanding of India people, philosophy, religion, culture in the light of the subconscious mind of people.  Good read for serious readers.

Death Must Die by Ram Alexander

Enthralling account of a devotee
The book is a diary account of the Austrian woman known as Atmananda, died in India in 1985. She was among foremost disciple of mystic saint Anandamayee Ma. Atmananda’s diaries are an intimate record of her spiritual odyssey in close association with several of important spiritual figures. They also give a unique account of her fellow travelers, other western artists, intellectuals and spiritual seekers.

The book can easily inspire people, and personally I can read it multiple times. It is so overwhelming experience while reading those accounts because as a spiritual aspirant one can easily relate it with turmoil of her life. This book is something you can read more than once.

Nine Lives by William Dalrymple 

Spare prose with true Indian context
Undoubtedly a great account of religious lives of Indians in a simple, spare prose and direct voice. There are nine stories of nine people intermingle with historical and religious context of India. The journey leads to unwanted places of India where travelers seldom venturing in. The visualization of mud-built houses, the squatting sadhus, traveling singers and dancers is awesome.

Sadhus Going Beyond The Dreadlocks by Patrick Levy

Road movie
The French author Patrick Levy calls himself an atheist but religiously followed many paths of religion. He traveled the world in search of spiritual masters, satiating his curiosity and in the course of time also practiced Kabbalah, Sufism, Buddhism and Vendanta and published books about his experiences. This book is written in the form of a road movie. He traveled with different sadhus, recounting their everyday lives, practice their teachings, understand their philosophy and write a lucid description in the form of extending dialogues and anecdotes.

An impressive book but not so inspiring. But certainly gives a strong insight of wandering sadhus in India. If you are interested in sadhus, this book can satisfy your need to a certain extent.

Lonely Planet

Must things for every traveler
This guidebook is quintessential part of every travelers who come to India. The detailing, language, hotel information, and more than 1000 pages of this thick guidebook is not boring but quite interesting read. It is a guidebook, but you can also read it like a leisure reading if you are not addicted to reading stuff.

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  • alex Miller says:
    April 29, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    It's extremely enjoyable reading your post, i've gather sufficient concepts for my upcoming write-up. Also I have this in mind about luxury yacht hire to your travel stuffs.

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