Know before you go

Travelling to India maybe a little tricky and scary for you. Therefore read up on mystical India before you pack your bags.

It is always a good idea to know about something you are going to do for the first time. For example, reading an instruction manual before using any electric device, Taking lessons in swimming before you dive head on, blah! blah!

Similarly, if you are going to travel to a country for the very first time, it’s good to know something about the destination you would be travelling to, particularly its history, cultural context etc. – where it came from; where it is heading to. The idea is not to end up feeling a tad lost in a strange land. If nothing, it would de-mystify the experience and prepare you for what you’re about to set out to see, and give a highly meaningful context to your travel experience.

Invest some time in flipping through the pages of some of these books and you could be well-prepared for your journey into the heart of India.

  • John Keay’s India: A History


It covers the history of India and to some extent a history of the Indian history. In the time scale of Indian history, the author accords the British period the importance it deserves; or doesn’t. However be mindful of the fact that this book is, and ultimately remains an Englishman’s interpretation of the big events that have shaped India.

  • Romila Thapar’s History of Early India


With the insightfulness of a deft Wordsmith, Thapar weaves a compelling story of a  great civilisation – based on diverse, often contradictory sources that left indelible marks on the astounding buildings, architectural vestiges and myths and beliefs that still survive and thrive in India. Nonetheless, this book could be considered an authoritative account told with style and meticulous attention paid to detailed documentary by a leading authority on the subject.

  • Stanly Wolpert – A New History of India


Stanley Wolpert has condensed over 4,000 years of India’s history into engaging text. He discusses modern India’s rapidly growing population, industry, and economy, as well as predicts the prospects of India’s future. Wolpert strives to record India’s history fairly and truthfully, portraying the brightest achievements of Indian civilization as well as its lowest moments, and its persistent social inequities.

  • Arthur Basham The Wonder that was India


The Wonder That was India takes a look at the country’s history from the time of the Harappan and Indus Valley Civilization. It explores the possible causes for the decline of the Harappan civilization and settlements. The book talks about the possibility of the Harappans having moved towards the south and settled in the peninsular region.

  • Gavin Flood’s An Introduction to Hinduism


Providing a much-needed thematic and historical introduction to Hinduism, this text traces the development of Hindu traditions from ancient origins and the major deities to the modern world. Emphasis is given to the tantric traditions, Hindu ritual and Dravidian influences.


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