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12 Books That Will Make You Want To Pack Your Bags And Travel Across India

Fuel that wanderlust.

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1. Around India In 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh

What it’s about: In a bid to uncover her estranged country of origin, London-based author Monisha Rajesh embarks on an adventure à la Jules Verne except that she decides to travel across India in 80 trains. With a militant atheist as her companion, she discovers shady characters, peculiar smells, and the many delightful and rather bewildering stories that the Indian Railways have to tell.
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What it’s about: In a bid to uncover her estranged country of origin, London-based author Monisha Rajesh embarks on an adventure à la Jules Verne except that she decides to travel across India in 80 trains. With a militant atheist as her companion, she discovers shady characters, peculiar smells, and the many delightful and rather bewildering stories that the Indian Railways have to tell.

2. Non Stop India by Mark Tully

What it’s about: This book that explores the issues of farmer suicides, Maoist insurgencies, the unprecedented rise of corporate biggies, and the revival of the Indian subcontinent despite the problems plaguing it, Non Stop India is Mark Tully at his finest.
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What it’s about: This book that explores the issues of farmer suicides, Maoist insurgencies, the unprecedented rise of corporate biggies, and the revival of the Indian subcontinent despite the problems plaguing it, Non Stop India is Mark Tully at his finest.

3. Sea Of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

What it’s about: A Booker Prize shortlist, the novel set in colonial India is the saga of Ibis, a vast ship sailing across the Indian Ocean, just before the eruption of the Anglo-Chinese opium wars. Amitav Ghosh’s fascinating tale is woven around the lives of a bankrupt king, a widowed village woman, an American sailor and an opium merchant.
amazon.in

What it’s about: A Booker Prize shortlist, the novel set in colonial India is the saga of Ibis, a vast ship sailing across the Indian Ocean, just before the eruption of the Anglo-Chinese opium wars. Amitav Ghosh’s fascinating tale is woven around the lives of a bankrupt king, a widowed village woman, an American sailor and an opium merchant.

4. Butter Chicken In Ludhiana by Pankaj Mishra

What it's about: Pankaj Mishra delves into the raucous and pretentious side of India through the lives of its ambitious middle class. This hilarious book includes characters like Mr. Tomar, a hotelier who can’t stop boasting about his many successful contacts; a certain Mrs Shukla who is the proud mother of a convent-educated aspiring model, and Rajendra, a bookworm who is constantly struggling with internalised homophobia.
amazon.in

What it's about: Pankaj Mishra delves into the raucous and pretentious side of India through the lives of its ambitious middle class. This hilarious book includes characters like Mr. Tomar, a hotelier who can’t stop boasting about his many successful contacts; a certain Mrs Shukla who is the proud mother of a convent-educated aspiring model, and Rajendra, a bookworm who is constantly struggling with internalised homophobia.

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5. If It’s Monday, It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour Of India by Srinath Perur

What it’s about: Srinath Perur went on a conducted tour of ten of the most famous Indian sites and hated it. However, he turned his terrible experience into a book that is replete with humour and vivid descriptions of the slums of Mumbai, the deserts of Rajasthan and the backwaters of Kerala among others. Perur’s debut novel is a fabulous insight into the mind of the average Indian tourist.
amazon.in

What it’s about: Srinath Perur went on a conducted tour of ten of the most famous Indian sites and hated it. However, he turned his terrible experience into a book that is replete with humour and vivid descriptions of the slums of Mumbai, the deserts of Rajasthan and the backwaters of Kerala among others. Perur’s debut novel is a fabulous insight into the mind of the average Indian tourist.

6. Eating India: Exploring The Food And Culture Of The Land Of Spices by Chitrita Banerji

What it’s about: Celebrated food writer Chitrita Banerji will make your mouth water by taking you on a tour of the culinary landscape of India and how historical and cultural influences greatly shaped the same. Her resplendent descriptions of spices, vegetables, grains, and meats come together to form a delicious concoction for the reader to relish.
amazon.in

What it’s about: Celebrated food writer Chitrita Banerji will make your mouth water by taking you on a tour of the culinary landscape of India and how historical and cultural influences greatly shaped the same. Her resplendent descriptions of spices, vegetables, grains, and meats come together to form a delicious concoction for the reader to relish.

7. Calcutta: Two Years In The City by Amit Chaudhuri

What it’s about: A lyrical portrait of the "City of Joy", this book is undoubtedly Amit Chaudhuri’s best work. From the lanes and alleyways of a city stuck in a time warp to its artists, intellectuals and street vendors, the author knows his hometown like the back of his hand. You will yearn to visit Kolkata by the time you reach the last page of this book.
amazon.in

What it’s about: A lyrical portrait of the "City of Joy", this book is undoubtedly Amit Chaudhuri’s best work. From the lanes and alleyways of a city stuck in a time warp to its artists, intellectuals and street vendors, the author knows his hometown like the back of his hand. You will yearn to visit Kolkata by the time you reach the last page of this book.

8. City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi by William Dalrymple

What it’s about: For the best historical perspective of the Indian capital, look no further than this. William Dalrymple love for India is almost palpable as he traverses through ancient ruins, the Raj, mutinies, partitions and assassinations into what is modern-day Delhi.
amazon.in

What it’s about: For the best historical perspective of the Indian capital, look no further than this. William Dalrymple love for India is almost palpable as he traverses through ancient ruins, the Raj, mutinies, partitions and assassinations into what is modern-day Delhi.

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9. Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings On Mumbai edited by Jerry Pinto and Naresh Fernandes

What it’s about: This is one of those rare books that perfectly capture the undying spirit of India’s most dynamic city and how it becomes an inherent part of the lives of those who call it home. With essays by the likes of Saadat Hasan Manto, Suketu Mehta, Paromita Vohra and Salman Rushdie, this compilation should absolutely make it to your reading list.
amazon.in

What it’s about: This is one of those rare books that perfectly capture the undying spirit of India’s most dynamic city and how it becomes an inherent part of the lives of those who call it home. With essays by the likes of Saadat Hasan Manto, Suketu Mehta, Paromita Vohra and Salman Rushdie, this compilation should absolutely make it to your reading list.

10. Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra by Ruskin Bond

What it’s about: A collection of sixteen short stories, this classic traces a young Ruskin Bond’s journey from Java to Bombay to Delhi, and finally to the mighty Himalayas. There is a little something about Bond’s family and friends, and mostly, a whole lot about the hills and hamlets of Garhwal.
amazon.in

What it’s about: A collection of sixteen short stories, this classic traces a young Ruskin Bond’s journey from Java to Bombay to Delhi, and finally to the mighty Himalayas. There is a little something about Bond’s family and friends, and mostly, a whole lot about the hills and hamlets of Garhwal.

11. A Journey In Ladakh: Encounters With Buddhism by Andrew Harvey

What it's about: For those interested in Tibetan Buddhism and the many values it enshrines, this one is nothing short of a classic. Through this spiritual novel, Andrew Harvey takes you around the highest and the most scantily populated territory of the Indian subcontinent and introduces you to the many Buddhist monks who call Ladakh home.
amazon.in

What it's about: For those interested in Tibetan Buddhism and the many values it enshrines, this one is nothing short of a classic. Through this spiritual novel, Andrew Harvey takes you around the highest and the most scantily populated territory of the Indian subcontinent and introduces you to the many Buddhist monks who call Ladakh home.

12. Following Fish by Samanth Subramanian

What it’s about: A collection of nine splendid essays, this book explores India’s massive coastline and its natural obsession with fish, not only in terms of food but also in the context of culture and commerce.
amazon.in

What it’s about: A collection of nine splendid essays, this book explores India’s massive coastline and its natural obsession with fish, not only in terms of food but also in the context of culture and commerce.