Road Scholar : Home
Enlightening Adventures in India and Arabia

Program Number: 21114RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/25/2013 - 3/13/2013;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Sri Lanka/Oman/India/United Arab Emirates
Price starting at: $1,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 42; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 15 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Explore the energetic cities, traditional villages and vivid landscapes of India and the ornate palaces, grand mosques and desert forts of the Arabian Peninsula on this voyage to two beautiful, exotic lands.




Activity Particulars

Walking a few miles per day. Some uneven terrain and stairs without railings.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Colombo (Sri Lanka), 1 night; aboard MV Minerva, 14 nights.



Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.


Days 2-4: Arrival Colombo (Sri Lanka) / embark MV Minerva:

Discover the diverse neighborhoods of Colombo and learn how Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism mix in Sri Lanka. Lodging: Elegant, historic hotel beside the Indian Ocean.



Day 5: Tuticorin (India):

Journey through emerald green paddies to the towns of Palayamkottai, a historic center of missionary activity, and ancient Tirunelveli with its colorful temples.



Days 6-7: Kochi and Kerala Backwaters:

Explore Kochi and see its unique Chinese fishing nets in action. Board a traditional vessel to sail the peaceful backwaters of Kerala and observe life in its villages.



Days 8-9: At Sea / Goa:

Venture to the magnificent Temple of Mahalasa. Continue to a spice plantation where black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon are grown.



Days 10-11: Mumbai:

Spend two days experiencing this energetic metropolis. Discover monuments, fine museums and the outdoor laundry of Dhobi Ghat. Venture to Elephanta Island to examine amazing cave sculptures.



Day 12: Porbandar:

Visit Kirti Mandir, the family home of Mahatma Gandhi. Ride through the streets in a tuk-tuk for an up-close look at everyday life in the “real India.”



Days 13-15: At Sea / Fujairah (United Arab Emirates):

Sail to the only emirate of the U.A.E. on the Arabian Sea, Fujairah. Explore the old quarter and a recreated traditional village.



Days 16-17: Muscat (Oman) / disembark / departure:

Complete your voyage in this enchanting port city surrounded by rugged mountains. An expert-led excursion includes the majestic Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.



MV Minerva

This stylish, newly upgraded vessel is operated by a long-established British company and boasts a loyal following of British travelers. It offers its 350 passengers two restaurants plus al fresco dining, a cinema, two bars, a library/card room, a swimming pool, a gym and a sauna. The spectacular Orpheus Lounge provides panoramic views of your surroundings.


Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Galle Face
  Colombo, Sri Lanka 1 night
   MV Minvera
  Aboard the MV Minerva, UK:England 14 nights
 Hotel Galle Face
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Galle Face Hotel is located in the heart of the city, bordering the Indian Ocean, allowing many rooms to have panoramic views. The hotel was built by British Entrepreneurs in 1864 is a Luxuruy Heritage masterpiece boasting Victorian architecture.
  Contact info: 2, Galle road,
Colombo 3,   Sri Lanka
phone: +(941) 125-410-10/16
web: www.gallefacehotel.com/
  Room amenities: Air-conditioned room with a garden view, refrigerator, mini-bar, TV and IDD facilities. Optional garden view with a/c, T.V. attached private bathroom with hot/cold water, hair drier and local/IDD facilities direct from the room.
  Facility amenities: 9 restaurants and 4 bars, Specialty restaurants, Wine Lounge combined with an underground wine cellar, 3 grand ballrooms and 6 function rooms, Wedding and Conference facilities, Galle Face Hotel Spa, a 20,000 sq. ft. spa inclusive of Colombo's largest saltwater swimming pool and gymnasium, Business Centre offering all Secretarial facilities, A Salon, Laundry Services, A Museum and Art Gallery
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for additional information.

 MV Minvera
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: No matter which corner of the globe you choose to discover, after exploring ashore, you will always appreciate Minerva’s stately comforts: a relaxed lounge with entertainment, well-stocked library, restaurants, gym, Wheeler bar and Shackleton's bar. An elegant environment in which polished wood and gleaming brass are complemented by works of art and fresh flowers. With over 50 years experience in discovery cruising, Swan Hellenic knows all the ingredients for the perfect cruise. From the on board environment to inspiring itineraries, and from our knowledgeable reservations team to our European ship's officers and attentive crew, we are committed to providing you with the ultimate discovery cruise experience. You will travel with like-minded people and as you share the experiences of your voyage, you may find acquaintances turn into lasting friendships. Your cruise will be further enriched by the presence of distinguished speakers drawn from the academic, diplomatic and media worlds. Their presentations and the more informal conversations you can enjoy in the Darwin Lounge will really bring our destinations to life.
  Ship Information: Gross Tonnage - 12,449 Length - 437 ft Beam - 66 ft Draft - 19 ft Cruising Speed - 14 knots Passenger Decks - 6 Stabilisers - retractable fin Registration - Bahamas Passengers - 350 Crew - 160; mainly Filipino and Ukrainian Officers - British and European Entered Service - 29th April 1996
  Contact info: Swan Hellenic - North America
1800 S.E. 10th Avenue, Suite 205
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 866-923-9182
web: us.swanhellenic.com/homeus.html
  Room amenities: TV, Hairdryer and Personal Safe in Every Cabin
  Facility amenities: Facilities include: 44 Balcony cabins 100 Outside cabins (74% outside cabins including 23% balcony cabins) 2 Restaurants Orpheus Lounge Internet Lounge Livingstone Lounge Darwin Lounge Shackleton & Wheeler Bars Cinema Library/Card Room Boutique and Gift Shop Swimming Pool Gymnasium, Sauna and Spa Services Complimentary Launderette with Washers and Dryers Beauty Salon Medical Centre Telephone, Fax and E-mail Facilities
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins in the late afternoon on Day 2 in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the program hotel. You will be staying at Hotel Galle Face that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends on Day 17 after breakfast on board the MV Minerva. You will be staying at MV Minvera the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. **IMPORTANT: REGISTERING FOR YOUR CRUISE ONLINE** Swan Hellenic requires all guests to provide full passport details, including address and telephone number. They also require next of kin contact information in case of an emergency. This information must be received no later than 60 days prior to departure. Passengers must visit the website at www.swanhellenic.com - click on "Already Booked" then "Required Passenger Information" to enter your details. The embarkation date is the date you board the ship. Furnished data will be provided to foreign government immigration officials and is required for on-board administration. PLEASE NOTE: Your cruise documents will not be issued prior to your online registration, and embarkation onto the ship may be denied. If you did not receive a booking number or if you need assistance registering online, please contact our program department at 1.866.359.5966 and someone will assist you.
  Parking availability:
We do not recommend driving to the site
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains and buses are not available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Colombo
  Transportation to site: The Galle Face Hotel is located approximately 35 km from Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo. The transfer takes approximately 1 hour, or longer, depending on traffic conditions. Taxi service is available for participants who are not joining the group transfer. Taxi service in Sri Lanka is supervised by the Airport and Aviation Services (S/L)LTD which operates from a counter in the arrival Lobby. The Galle Face Hotel also has a reception counter at the airport if you need further assistance. Minerva will be berthed at the port of Colombo. The exact berth will not be confirmed until 24 hours prior to arrival.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Aboard the MV Minerva
  Transportation from site: Independent travelers may join the group transfer, if your flights depart at the same time or after the group flight. If you are transferring on your own, please note that all passengers must disembark the ship by 10:00 am. The ship will be docked at the Port of Muscat. The exact berth will not be confirmed until 24 hours prior to arrival. Taxis can be arranged through the Reception desk on board.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures from the US
(Monday, February 25)
   
 In Transit: Flights depart from various US gateways

Day 2: Flights arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Tuesday, February 26)
   
 Arrive To: Colombo, Sri Lanka
 Afternoon: Flights arrive in Colombo in the late afternoon/early evening. Join your group leader and fellow participants for introductions and brief program orientation.
 Dinner: Late welcome dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Hotel Galle Face
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Colombo / Embark MV Minerva
(Wednesday, February 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Lecture: Check out from the hotel & proceed to a nearby conference hall closer to for the lecture on "The conflict between LTTE and the government and the way forward". The Sri Lankan Civil War was a conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. Beginning on 23 July 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant organisation which fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and the east of the island. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end. Following the lecture, set out to discover Colombo with visits to the following places: historic Fort and bustling Pettah, Cinnamon Gardens and Galle Face Green, the Hindu Temple at Sea Street – a street lined with goldsmith's shops – the Dutch Church at Wolfendaal, dating back to 1749, the historic Davatagaha Mosque, Independence Hall, B.M.I.C.H, see the replica of Avukana Buddha and the Independence Square and the National Museum.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: After lunch proceed to visit Bandaranaike Memorial International and see the replica of Avukana Buddha. Also visit Independence Hall, and the Independence Square and National Museum. Embark the MV Minerva for 28 nights. When you board the Minerva for the first time you will have your photograph taken; this forms part of the on board security system. You will also have to undergo security checks which involve passing through a security archway and having your belongings x-rayed. After completing check-in formalities you will be shown to your cabin. Your cabin keys will be in your cabin.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Colombo, Sri Lanka
(Thursday, February 28)

Note: Hats must be removed before entering the temple. Admittance to the temple may be denied to those wearing shorts (either sex) and to those whose shoulders are uncovered (shorts sleeves are accpetable).



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Free time to explore the port on your own, or relax on board the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Kelaniya Temple: Discover this fascinating modern temple – after the Temple of the Tooth the most visited Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka - decorated with frescoes telling stories of the Lord Buddha, Buddhism in Sri Lanka, and Kelaniya Temple history. Other highlights include ceiling paintings in the main hall, Buddha images, and rows of comical dwarfs and elephants, copied from Polonnaruwa’s Tivanka Image House. Later enjoy some free time in Kelaniya, a centre of traditional Sinhalese pottery. The ship is scheduled to depart Colombo at 19:00. Please note that a muster drill will be held on board prior to sailing.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Tuticorin, India
(Friday, March 1)

Note: Admittance to the temple may be denied to those wearing shorts (either sex) and to those whose shoulders are uncovered. Shoes must be removed before entering the temples (we recommend bringing a pair of socks). Cameras and videos are permitted at Christ Church and the Temples for a small charge payable directly to the local guide. The order of visits may vary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Pallayamkottai and Tirunelveli: In Palayamkottai, the headquarters of the Church Missionary Society, visit Holy Trinity Cathedral and Christ Church- built for the British in 1846. Continue to the market town of Tirunelveli, one of the oldest Christian centers in Tamil Nadu, where St. Francis Xavier began his ministry in the late 16th century. Here you can explore Krishnapuram Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu with its beautiful pillars and life size sculptures. A comfort stop will be made at a local hotel for refreshments before you journey back to the ship.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board as ship sets sail for Kochi, India
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Kochi, India
(Saturday, March 2)

Note: Basic toilet facilities are available. Photography is not permitted inside the Dutch Palace; video cameras are not permitted inside St Francis Church



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your study leader for a presentation on Indian History: Examine the various periods in Indian History so that you can better understand the significance of some of the sites visited during the program.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Discover colorful old Kochi. See the historic Fort Cochin area, including St. Francis Church - the first church built by Europeans in India, the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets - introduced by traders from the court of Kubla Khan, and the fish market. Continue to the Mattancherry district where other highlights will include a visit to the 16th century Dutch Palace, a visit to the Indo Portuguese Museum and a walk along Jewish Street.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Kochi, India
(Sunday, March 3)

Note: There are no toilets on the boats (you will be on board for approximately 2 hours). This trip involves emarking and disembarking small boats and is not recommended for those who are disabled or have difficulty walking.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Drive to Allepy (1.5 hrs) to board a boat for a delightful cruise along the peaceful and wonderfully picturesque backwaters of Kerala. As you glide through the network of narrow canals and wide lakes you will see numerous unspoilt villages and, at close hand, many traditional activities which are so typical of this region's way of life. A photo stop will be made at the Chinese fishing nets before your return to Minerva.
 Lunch: A boxed lunch from the ship will be provided
 Afternoon: Make your way back to the ship in the port of Kochi.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cruising the Indian Ocean
(Monday, March 4)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your Study Leader for an exclusive Road Scholar lecture on the Religions and Mythology in India.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you sail the Indian Ocean.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Marmagoa (Goa), India
(Tuesday, March 5)

Note: Shoes must be removed before entering the temples, so we recommend bringing a pair of socks. Admittance to the temples may be denied to those wearing shorts/skirts above the knee and to those whose shoulders are uncovered (either sex).



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Free time in port to explore on your own, or relax on board the ship
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Temple and Spices: Visit the Shri Manguesghi Temple dedicated to Lord Mangueshghi, an incarnation of Shiva. One of Goa's largest temples, it was constructed in the 18th century and is adjacent to the Deepastambha, a seven story octagonal lamp tower. You can also enjoy a visit to the Savoi spice plantation, a well established plantation using organic methods. A walk through shady paths will reveal the different spices such as black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon as well as fruits in their natural environment. Learn about the production, preparations of curries and fruit juices as well as how the by products are used in local crafts.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Mumbai, India
(Wednesday, March 6)

Note: This excursion involves a steep climb of some 120 steps; some sedan chairs are available for those who do not wish to walk (at an additional fee). There are toilets on Elephanta Island. Video filming is permitted of the exterior of the caves only for a small fee. Still cameras and flash are permitted inside, but tripods are prohibited. Sunhats, sunscreen and comfortable shoes are recommended.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Morning at leisure
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Elephanta Island: Disembark early and drive to the Gateway of India and board launches to cross to Elephanta Island, named after a huge elephant statue that once stood near the shore. A climb will bring you to the impressive caves where you'll see remarkable bas-reliefs carved entirely from a single piece of stone and panels depicting the Hindu deity, Shiva, in symbolic guises.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Mumbai, India
(Thursday, March 7)

Note: Good walking shoes are recommended. The order of visits may vary.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Unexplored Mumbai:Stroll through an ancient temple complex where, in the narro streets, you will find the local barber, cobbler, blacksmith and residents of the area going about their daily life. Visit to the Bangenga, a sacred lake surrounded by 400 year old temples and modern skyscrapers. In the midst of the bustling city of Girguam is cocooned Khotachi wadi, the residential area belonging to the coastal community of Christians from Maharashtra and Goa who have preserved their heritage homes and culture. In the narrow streets are the picturesque houses built in typical Portuguese style with carved balconies and small gardens. Stop for tea at a local home and enjoy a chance to interact with the residents.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: After lunch you will have free time to explore the port on your own, or relax on board the ship.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Porbandar, India
(Friday, March 8)

Note: Admittance to the temples may be denied to those wearing shorts/skirts above the knee and to those whose shoulders are uncovered. As the streets are extremely narrow in the city, coaches will park on the main road and you will have to walk to the temples and sites. Shoes must be removed before entering the temples and Kirti Mandir, so you may wish to bring a pair of socks. There are steep narrow flights of steps to climb in order to reach the different levels of Kirti Mandir.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Porbandar City Tour: Experience the "Real India" and discover Kirti Mandir, the birthplace and family home of Mahatma Gandhi. You will also visit Sudama Mandir - a temple dedicated to Sudama, friend of Lord Krishna, with idols said to date back 5,000 years. Between Kirti Mandir and Sudama Mandir enjoy a local tuk tuk ride and enjoy street life. There will also be the opportunity to see the local street market. Please note: There might be a wait for the tuk tuk ride. The ride lasts approximately 15 minutes.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the port or relax on board the ship.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Cruising the Arabian Sea
(Saturday, March 9)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Join your Study Leader for an exclusive Road Scholar lecture on the societal facets of Indian culture, such as the caste system, arranged marriages and the sacred cow.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you cruise the Arabian Sea.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Cruising the Arabian Sea
(Sunday, March 10)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Lecture: Political trends in India from 1945 till date: Transfer of power (Independence), Partition, royal families, political parties, current situation.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Relax on board the ship as you cruise the Arabian sea towards the United Arab Emirates.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
(Monday, March 11)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Free time to explore the port on your own, or relax on board the ship
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Fujairah Heritage: With the Hajar Mountains providing a backdrop explore the main cultural sights of the only emirate on the Arabian Sea. Drive to the Old Quarter, with it's medieval fort, and visit the Fujairah Museum housing archeological finds from the region as well as collections of traditional costumes and tribal artifacts. Continue to the Heritage Village, a recreation of a traditional village where you can see typical dwellings and discover how the palm was essential to daily life. Continuing south, make a short stop to Khor Kalba, a large mangrove swamp and important conservation area. You will also visit 19th century Bait Al Sheikh Saeed, the private residence of the ruler's representative.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Muscat, Oman
(Tuesday, March 12)

Note: Photography is not permitted at the museum, nor during the drive through the embassy area. There is a 200-300m walk to view the Sultan's Palace and also to the entrance of the Grand Mosque. Ladies will be required to cover their heads (including their hair) to visit the mosque and must also cover their arms (to the wrists) and legs (to their ankles). Men will not be permitted to wear shorts for the mosque visit. Dress codes are strictly enforced. You will need to remove your shoes



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship
 Morning: Muscat City Discovery: Muscat has been described as a port unlike any other in the Arab world, enchanting visitors with its distinctive trading areas and beautiful Corniche, set against a mountainous backdrop. Enjoy visiting the Al Alam Palace area of Muscat, viewing Sultan Qaboos' official residence, a striking example of modern Arabic architecture, and the famous medieval Portuguese twin forts. Also enjoy a visit to the Grand Mosque built by the Sultan as a gift to the nation. The main prayer hall has exquisite, rich decoration whilst the floor is covered by a magnificent Persian carpet, said to be the largest in the world. You will also visit the Bait Al Zubair Museum, a private collection showcasing excellent artifacts from Omani heritage including jewelry, weapons, traditional clothing and manuscripts. The coach will drop you off at the Fortress Tower and Twin Forts, Mirani and Al Jalali. From here enjoy a walk through the grounds of the Sultan's Palace before returning to Minerva.
 Lunch: On board the ship
 Afternoon: Your afternoon is free to explore on your own or relax on board the ship.
 Dinner: On board the ship
   
Accommodations: MV Minvera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Muscat, Oman
(Wednesday, March 13)
   
 Morning: Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for flights home. Flights depart early in the A.M.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


An Autobiography, Or the Story of My Experiments with Truth


Author: Mohandas K. Gandhi


Description: There is no substitute for reading Gandhi in his own simple, direct prose. A highly recommended glimpse into the personality and life of this remarkable figure.



Birds of India


Author: Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp


Description: Thoroughly revised, with 73 new plates and many others updated or repainted, the second edition of the masterful Birds of India now features all maps and text opposite the plates for quicker and easier reference.



Culture Shock! United Arab Emirates


Author: Gina Benesh


Description: Subtitled A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, this pocket reference covers culture and society.



Culture Smart! Sri Lanka


Author: Emma Boyle


Description: A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture with a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.



Goa, and the Blue Mountains or Six Months of Sick Leave


Author: Richard Burton


Description: A facsimile edition of Burton's first book, an account of travels in Goa, the Nilgiri mountains and cities along the Malabar coast of southwestern India, first published in 1851.



Hindu Art and Architecture


Author: George Michell


Description: An excellent survey of Hindu art and architecture, explaining the meaning and construction of principal images and buildings, as well as the development of Hinduism and the corpus of myths that have influenced its artistic tradition.



In Spite of the Gods, The Strange Rise of Modern India


Author: Edward Luce


Description: Luce tackles the challenges and reality of the world's largest democracy with insight and balance in this portrait of a nation in transition.



India


Author: Stanley Wolpert


Description: Reflections on India - its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics - by the dean of the country’s American historians: beautifully written and provocative as well as evocative.



India South Map


Author: Nelles


Description: A double-sided colorful regional map of India south of Mumbai, including Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar islands, at a scale of 1:1,500,000. With maps of Goa, Hyderabad, Bangalore (Bengaluru), Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.



India, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: Chandrahas Choudhury (Editor)


Description: Each of these 14 stories evokes place and landscape, providing an excellent introduction both to contemporary writers and to India's diverse cultures and history.



Islam, A Short History


Author: Karen Armstrong


Description: Armstrong brings authority and experience to this vivid, clear-headed survey of the history and impact of Islam from the birth of Muhammad to present-day challenges. The best short introduction to the subject.



Lonely Planet Oman, UAE, & Arabian Peninsula


Author: Lonely Planet Publications


Description: A practical guide to the gulf states including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.



Lonely Planet South India & Kerala


Author: Lonely Planet, Lonely Planet Publications


Description: Featuring maps, a good overview of culture, history and nature, and information on accommodations, excursions and sightseeing.



Malgudi Days


Author: R. K. Narayan


Description: Wonderful tales from one of India's foremost writers about a fictional South Indian town, populated by quirky characters whose unique approaches to tradition and modernity are the stuff of great short stories.



Midnight's Children


Author: Salman Rushdie


Description: Crowned Best of the Booker in 2008, Rushdie's greatest novel is a madcap, comic take on the birth of modern India in all its splendid and unexpected manifestations.



Mumbai Fables


Author: Gyan Prakash


Description: Starting from the catastrophic floods and terrorist attacks of recent years, Prakash reaches back to the sixteenth-century Portuguese conquest to reveal the stories behind Mumbai's historic journey.



My Bombay Kitchen, Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking


Author: Niloufer Ichaporia King, Alice Waters (Introduction)


Description: A detailed guide to the culinary traditions of the Parsi population of India features 165 tempting recipes that capture one of India's most colorful regional cuisines and offers a personal overview of the ideas, tastes, ingredients, and cooking techniques of Parsi cuisine.



The Ajanta Caves, Ancient Paintings of Buddhist India


Author: Benoy Behl


Description: A beautifully photographed overview of the ancient murals and paintings of the life of Buddha carved into a hillside in western India.



The God of Small Things


Author: Arundhati Roy


Description: This luminous, Booker-prize winning novel is part mystery, part family saga -- a tale of lost innocence set in Kerala during the tumult of the 1960s.



The Man Who Knew Infinity, A Life of the Genius Ramanujan


Author: Robert Kanigel


Description: Not just a biography of the unschooled clerk turned master mathematician at Cambridge, this fine book also paints a vivid picture of daily life in Madras at the turn of the 19th century.



The White Tiger, A Novel


Author: Aravind Adiga


Description: Mordant, funny, angry, horrifying, this Booker Prize-winning tale of a village pauper turned success (and murderer) skewers the ambition, inequity and corruption of 21st-century India.



What the Buddha Taught


Author: Walpola Sri Rahula


Description: A classic account of Theravada Buddhism by a respected monk and scholar from Sri Lanka. Provides translations from original texts with explanations for Western readers. A good foundation for any visitor to Southeast Asia.





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