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India’s Holy Ganges River: Rituals, History and the Sacred City of Varanasi

Program Number: 21260RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/15/2014 - 10/1/2014; 2/27/2016 - 3/14/2016; 9/16/2016 - 10/2/2016; 1/14/2017 - 1/30/2017; 2/11/2017 - 2/27/2017; 3/11/2017 - 3/27/2017;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: India
Price starting at: $3,796.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats; History & Culture
Meals: 40; 14 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 12 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Fed by the mighty Himalayas and emptying into the Bay of Bengal, the Ganges is one of the world’s great rivers. To Hindus, it is something yet greater: a goddess, the physical manifestation of the sacred. Delve into the spiritual meaning of this river on a voyage to the holiest places along the Ganges — not just for Hindus but for Buddhists, Sikhs and more — plus experience the river’s importance in day-to-day life.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; uneven walkways and stairs.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Varanasi, 3 nights; Bodh Gaya, 1 night; aboard Rajamahal, 6 nights; Kolkata, 3 nights.

Days 1-2:
Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 3-5:
Arrival Varanasi (India)

Experience Varanasi, the oldest city in India and the holiest in Hinduism. During boat excursions on the Ganges, observe people carrying out rituals at the ghats — 84 stepped embankments, each with its own significance. Take a field trip to Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first teachings. Visit Banaras Hindu University and interact with students. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Days 6-7:
Coach to Bodh Gaya / coach to Patna to embark Rajmahal

Journey to Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha obtained Enlightenment after three days and nights of meditating under the Bodhi Tree. Step inside the spectacular Mahabodhi Temple at this pilgrimage site. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Day 8:

Explore this city including its magnificent Gurdwara, one of the holiest places of worship for Sikhs. As you set sail, pass the East India Company’s old opium warehouses.

Day 9:

Go ashore for an excursion to Nalanda. This great center of learning, active from the 5th through 12th centuries, attracted scholars from as far away as China and Greece.

Day 10:

Discover Monghyr Fort, a majestic riverside fortress occupied by several different empires. Sail to the village of Sultanganj, an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site.

Day 11:

In this town renowned for its fine silk, visit a weaving village and the mansion of an East India Company magistrate. See the idyllic riverside temples of Bateshwar.

Day 12:

Venture into the emerald hills of Rajmahal to find the ruins of ancient palaces, fortresses and mosques partially hidden by vegetation.

Days 13-17:
Farakka / disembark / train to Kolkata / departure on overnight flight to the U.S.A.

Leave the Ganges behind as you board a train to Kolkata (or Calcutta), the metropolis of East India. Discover the Belur Math temple, which fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic architectural styles. Visit Mother Teresa’s mission and learn about her work. Visit the city’s great museums and learn about India’s favorite sport, cricket. Lodging: Historic five-star hotel.


This brand new riverboat, purpose-built to navigate the shallow waters of the Ganges River, sailed its first voyages in 2014. At 167 feet long, it can accommodate up to 40 passengers in its spacious staterooms, all of which feature French balconies. Public areas include a dining room, bar, spa and large sundeck. Meals onboard combine delicious Indian and European-style cuisine.


As a consequence of its size, the history of India is an amalgamation of its individual territories. The natural wealth of India’s territories lured a succession of traders and foreign influences to it, each leaving their imprint on the nation, however faint or localized. Thus, Chinese fishing nets in Kerala are a throwback to that country's ancient maritime trade, while in the north, ancient terracotta figurines bear distinctly Grecian traces.

Meals and Lodgings
   The Oberoi Grand
  Kolkata, India 4 nights
   ABN Rajamahal
  Aboard the Rajamahal, India 7 nights
   The Royal Residency
  Bodhgaya, India 1 night
   Radisson Hotel Varanasi
  Varanasi, India 2 nights
 The Oberoi Grand
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Oberoi Grand, fondly referred as the 'Grande Dame of Chowringhee' offers the ultimate classical residence in the City of Joy. This heritage hotel’s neo-classical facade and grand pillared entrance mark a successful fusion of classical Victorian and traditional Indian style and reflect the city’s colonial history. Standing stately for over 125 years, The Oberoi Grand combines classic architecture and charm with state of the art amenities and facilities, offering guests an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city. The hotel is located in the main business and shopping district of Kolkata (Park Street, BBD Bag, and Chowringhee) and is in walking distance from most corporate and government offices. It is also conveniently located close to major convention centers, legislative offices, banks, Consulates, Deputy High Commissions, Chambers of Commerce and clubs. This ideal location makes the hotel a perfect base for the business and the leisure traveler.
  Contact info: 15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road
Kolkata,  700013 India
phone: +91 .33.2249.2323
  Room amenities: 32" LCD TV, DVD Player, Satellite television, Wired & wireless broadband internet access, Electronic safe, Dual line telephones with voice mail, Personal bar, A well appointed bathroom with a basket of Ayurvedic toiletries.
  Facility amenities: Wireless Internet access in all rooms and public areas, State of the art 24-hour Business Centre, Full service Oberoi Spa, Fitness Centre, 24 hours in room dining, 24 hours personal butler service, 24 hours Concierge, 24 hours doctor on call, Meetings and Conference facilities, Shopping options, Outdoor swimming pool, Beauty parlour, 24 Hours laundry service, Currency exchange, Electronic safe deposit box in all rooms
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for additional price.

 ABN Rajamahal
Type: Riverboat
  Description: This brand new riverboat, purpose-built to navigate the shallow waters of the Ganges River, will sail its first voyages in 2014. At 167 feet long, it can accommodate up to 40 passengers in its spacious staterooms, all of which feature French balconies. Public areas include a dining room, bar, spa and large sundeck. Meals onboard combine delicious Indian and European-style cuisine.
  Ship Information: Built in 2013 with a shallow draft, it is 167 feet long, has 22 staterooms that can accommodate 40 passengers. It has a crew of 30 people. It has a total of three decks.
  Contact info: 3rd Floor, Dirang Arcade, GNB Road, Chandmari,
Guwahati,  781003 India
phone: +xxx
  Room amenities: Beds, bathrooms, sitting area and a wardrobe with a full length sliding door and a French Balcony.
  Facility amenities: Bar/Saloon dinner Hall Gift Shop Spa Sundeck Staircases connecting all three decks
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Bathroom has toilet, sink and a shower only.

 The Royal Residency
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: A symbolic project elegantly erected on 3 acres of land in the best environment with 62 centrally air-conditioned Twin bed rooms and 5 Suites, caters to the diversified needs of tourists. The hotel has all modern facilities. All rooms are with attached bath rooms in it with shower, bath tubs, running hot and cold water, individual room temperature control, direct dial telephone facilities both domestic and international.
  Ship Information: NA
  Contact info: Domuhan Road, Bodhgaya,
Bihar,  824231 India
phone: +91 ) (0) 631-220-1156
  Room amenities: AC and attached bathroom
  Facility amenities: One Bar Money Exchange Shopping Arcade Room Service 24-hours room serviceLaundry / dry cleaning Doctor -on-call Meeting room facilities Japanese community bath separately for ladies and gents Multi-cuisine centrally air-conditioned restaurant 'Amarapali' & Bar Travel assistance Car hire service
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Radisson has 116 hotel rooms in Varanasi, including 2 elegantly designed suites, 14 Business Class Rooms and 100 Superior Rooms. All of our guest rooms offer turndown service and a wide range of amenities.
  Contact info: The Mall Cantonment, Varanasi
U.P. 221002
221 002,   India
phone: +91 54 2250 1515
  Room amenities: Newspaper delivered to the room - daily Digital safe in each room Broadband Internet access Mini-bar and tea/coffee maker Telephone with voicemail and direct dial Satellite television Hair dryer
  Facility amenities: Includes complimentary broadband Internet access, television with 48 channels and a bottle of mineral water provided daily. Relax in the oasis of comfort provided by our spacious rooms with the option of interconnecting, city view or pool view. Complimentary buffet breakfast and use of Health Club (gym, steam room, whirlpool).
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Day 3 in Kokata at the program orientation after breakfast. Please note that the group flight arrives on the evening of Day 2, but it is a late evening arrival so nothing is scheduled. You will be staying at The Oberoi Grand that night.
  End of Program:
Day 16 after lunch in Varanasi at the program hotel. You will be staying at Radisson Hotel Varanasi the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. None.
  Parking availability:
Driving in India is not recommended.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Kolkata
  Transportation to site: If independent flights do not coincide with the designated group transfer, it will be the responsibility of the participants to make arrangements to get to the program site. Taxis are readily available at the airport, but you can also arrange a private transfer with Road Scholar Travel Services.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Varanasi
  Transportation from site: Program Only Participants are welcome to take the group transfers if their flights coincide with the group flights. There is one designated group transfer available to independent travelers at no additional cost. The designated group transfer time will be around xxx pm (subject to change until approximately 5 weeks prior to departure). Please note that the transfer from the hotel to the airport takes about 1.5 hours. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by the calling Road Scholar Travel Services.
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: Depart for India
(Monday, September 15)
 Depart From: Depart for overnight flight to India.

Day 2: Late Evening Arrival in Kolkata
(Tuesday, September 16)

Note: Group flight arrives 10pm or later. There is no programming on this day, just a hotel overnight.

 Evening: This is a forced overnight in Kolkata. The group flight is arriving late at night, around 7 pm (subject to change). Nothing is planned on this day, just a hotel room for the night.
Accommodations: The Oberoi Grand

Day 3: Kolkata City Discovery
(Wednesday, September 17)

Note: You will need to remove your shoes at the Belur Math Temple. There will be a lot of walking at the Botanical Garden.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Begin with the program orientation. Then start the morning discovering Belur Math, a temple notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. Then continue to explore Kumartuli, a Potters colony where large Hindu Gods are created by the community there. End the morning at the Botanical Garden.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore Kolkata on your own such as a walk through one of the oldest book market in India.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: The Oberoi Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Kolkata / Mother Teresa's Project
(Thursday, September 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Spend the morning learning about Mother Teresa and her mission in India. Visit the Mission of Charity Foundation and gain a deeper understanding of this unique woman and her cause.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Experience the first public transportation in India. Coach drops off at Sova Bazar Metro Station to take the Metro to Esplanade. It was the first such form of transportation in India, opening commercial services in 1984. From the metro station walk down to hotel Oberoi Grand.(10 minutes walk).
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: The Oberoi Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Kolkata / Indian Museum / Victoria Memorial / Free Time
(Friday, September 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, explore the Indian Museum, the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world. Continue to Victoria memorial, the St. Paul’s Cathedral and Eden garden the famous cricket ground.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon on your own to explore Kolkata.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: The Oberoi Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Coach to Patna / Patna City Discovery / Embark ship
(Saturday, September 20)

Note: Transfer time is approximately 3 hours.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Check out of your hotel room. Then take a mid-morning flight to Patna.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon explore the town of Patna, visiting the extraordinary 18th century Gola Ghar granary, the great Sikh temple and the rich collections of the State Museum. Embark ship at 4pm.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Cruise to Maner / Doriganj / Visit Chirand
(Sunday, September 21)

Note: The cruise portion for this date from Patna to Varanasi is still in the development phase by the cruise company. What is currently being published might change depending on what is physically possible.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Participate in a presentation by your Study Leader on the Spirtuality of India. Then contineu on a field trip to Manir, a chief spiritual center in India and holds two spectacular Moghul tombs, Bari Dargah and Chhoti Dargah. This morning, explore one of these spectacular tombs. Then continue to the city of Arrah, filled with dozens of old temples and hermitages. Explore the “Little House at Arrah,” where a small British officers and Indian soldiers was besieged in an Indian rebellion of 1857. Then re-board the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, cruise past the confluence of the River Sone and the River Ganges, to the busy river port of Doriganj (1000km). At the port of Doriganj, discover the nearby archaeological site at Chirand.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cruise to Ballia / Cruise to Buxar
(Monday, September 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Explore the ancient city of Ballia where once many saints and sages of India had their ashrams. It was once part of the Kosala Kingdom and was under Buddhist influence. Ballia is also known for its significant contribution in India's freedom struggle.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Continue up to the South bank town of Buxar (1124km), famous for the battle fought here in 1764, which laid the foundations for the British raj and the establishment of the rule of the East India Company in the eastern part of the Indian Subcontinent. The battle ground (Katkauli) is situated at about 6 kilometers from downtown Buxar. Explore the stone memorial, erected by the British at Katkauli which bears testament to the fight even today. Then discover a carpet weaving center at the Central Jail, the sole provider of rope for capital punishment in North and East India.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Cruise to Ghazipur
(Tuesday, September 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Sail upstream today past Chausa to Ghazipur (1178km). Ghazipur is well known for its opium factory, established by the British East India Company in 1820 and still is the biggest legal opium factory in the world, producing the drug for the global pharmaceutical industry. Visit the imposing tomb of Lord Cornwallis, the general responsible for laying the foundation of the British rule. Other sites in the city include several monuments built by Nawab Shaikh Abdulla, or Abdullah Khan, a governor of Ghazipur during the Mughal Empire in the eighteenth century, and his son. Ghazipur is also know or hand weaving and Attar of roses.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Continue your exploration of Ghazipur.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cruise to Zarmania / Cruise to Saidpur
(Wednesday, September 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Cruise to Zamania, a town founded in 1566 by Ali Quli Khan, the Governor of Jaunpur, destroyed by Fazil Ali Khan in 1757 and rebuilt by Chaudhari Mohammad Azmal. Explore the Lathia Pillar, a monolith made of polished sandstone with a diameter of 50 cm and a height of 6 meters. The pillar does not have any inscriptions but architecture of the column resembles the Gupta period.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Continue to Saidpur and discover the sites around this area.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cruise towards Varanasi / Explore Sarnath
(Thursday, September 25)

Note: Varanasi is a very intense place. Please be prepared for lots of crowds, smokes from cremations along the Ganges River and narrow winding streets in the old part of town.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Cruise towards Varanasi. Participate in a presentation on Varanasi, a Cradle of Culture given by your Study Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon's field trip takes you to Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first Sermon after he obtained enlightenment. Discover the Sarnath Museum and Deer Park, the location where he gave his sermon.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Varanasi / Morning Boat Ride / Old City Discovery / Ramnagar Fort
(Friday, September 26)

Note: This day requires getting in and out of small boats, walking along cobblestones on narrow streets.

 Breakfast: Before breakfast begin with an early morning boat ride on the Ganges river to see the early morning rituals on the ngats along the Ganges. Return to the boat for breakfast.
 Morning: After breakfast, continue for a discovery of the old part of Varanasi on a guided walk through the narrow streets.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Cruise to Ramnagar Fort this afternoon and overnight there.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
 Evening: Reminder: Pack for tomorrow's trip.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Disembark Ship/ Coach Transfer to Bodhagaya
(Saturday, September 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: Disembark from boat, then begin the journey by couch to Bodhagaya.
 Lunch: Lunch en-route to Bodhagaya.
 Afternoon: In the late afternoon, check into your hotel with some time to relax. Then attend presentation on "Life of the Buddha" before dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: The Royal Residency
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Bodhgaya Discovery / Transfer to Varanasi
(Sunday, September 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore the Mahabodhi Temple, constructed with the main intention of making it a monument and not a receptacle for the relics of Buddha. Inside the temple there is a colossal image of the Buddha in the "touching the ground pose", bhumisparsha mudra. This image is said to be 1700 years old and is facing east exactly at the place where the Buddha in meditation with his back to the Bodhi tree was enlightened. Continue to the Bodhi Tree, the place where Gautama obtained enlightenment. Since 1953, Bodh Gaya has been developed as an international place of pilgrimage. Buddhists from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Tibet, Bhutan and Japan have established monasteries and temples within easy walking distance of the Mahabodhi compound. The site of the enlightenment now attracts Buddhists and visitors from all over the world.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Check out of hotel. Transfer by coach to Varanasi.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Visit Varanasi University/Aarti Ceremony
(Monday, September 29)

Note: This day requires getting in and out of small boats, walking along cobblestones on narrow streets, and walking about .5 miles (one way) to get to the Gnats for the Aarti Ceremony in busy crowded streets. You will be taking a rickshaw ride part of the way. It will be about a 30 minute ride.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark the ship return to Varanasi to the University, the largest Hindu University in India. Participate in a presentation on "Revival of Buddhism in India Today," by a local expert. Explore the Archeological Museum at the University and engage with the university students there.
 Lunch: Have lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Time in the afternoon for you to relax. Then in the late afternoon, witness an "Aarti" ceremony while enjoying the boat cruise of Ganges. Aarti is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Aartis also refer to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when lamps are being offered.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Varanasi / Free morning / Departure
(Tuesday, September 30)

Note: For those on the group flight, the flight will go via Delhi with a layover in Delhi. There is a 7-8 hour layover in Delhi, but this really isn't enough time to give a room since there are no adjacent airport hotels.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Free morning to explore Varanasi on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Right after lunch, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 17: Arrival Home
(Wednesday, October 1)
 Arrive To: Arrival home.
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

Along the Ganges

Author: Ilija Trojanow

Description: In this colorful travelogue, Trojanow follows the Ganges from its source in the Himalayas to the cities that it feeds, using the holy river as a means to ponder Hinduism, culture, ecology and the tension between ancient and modern India.

An Introduction to Hinduism

Author: Gavin D. Flood

Description: A comprehensive overview of the Hinduism, from the basic principles and tenets of the religion to modern variations and controversies.


Author: Diana L. Eck

Description: This history of the holiest and oldest of Indian cities (now known as Varanasi), the home of Shiva, encompasses many millennia of Buddhist and especially Hindu practices along the Ganges.


Author: Karen Armstrong

Description: A concise, thought-provoking biography of the Buddha in the Penguin Lives series, written by one of the foremost experts on world religions.

Darsan, Seeing the Divine Image in India

Author: Diana L. Eck

Description: Tremendously useful for the traveler, this rigorous guide explains the significance and meaning of Hindu temples, festivals and ritual. Darsan, which translates as "seeing," reveals religious expression in India.


Author: Stanley Wolpert

Description: Wolpert's reflections on India -- its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics -- make for a wonderfully literate, succinct primer.

India Adventure Map

Author: National Geographic Society

Description: The most detailed shaded relief map (at a scale of 1:2,100,000) of India available.

India, A Sacred Geography

Author: Diana L. Eck

Description: Professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard, Diana Eck turns her interest in temples and places of pilgrimage into a celebration of the diversity of popular religious traditions in India in this richly rewarding travelogue.

India, A Short History

Author: Andrew Robinson

Description: Robinson’s inviting introduction to India chronicles the rise and fall of the India’s kingdoms and its eventual economic decline, which led to the British subjugation of the Mughal Empire in the mid-19th century.

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.

Insight Guide India

Author: Insight Guides

Description: An illustrated overview of India, with essays on its attractions, history, nature and culture. Includes introductions to the major temples, forts and wildlife sites and plenty of color photos and maps.

Land of the Seven Rivers, A Brief History of India's Geography

Author: Sanjeev Sanyal

Description: A witty and surprising exploration of India’s geography. Sanyal explores the veracity of the Great Flood, Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath and the lineages of the country’s inhabitants.

Meeting God, Elements of Hindu Devotion

Author: Thomas Moore (Introduction), Stephen Huyler

Description: A stunningly photographed introduction to the rituals and daily devotion of contemporary Hinduism in India. A companion to the traveling exhibition "Puja, Expressions of Hindu Devotion."

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.

Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

Author: William Dalrymple

Description: From Sufi dervish and Buddhist monk to outcast and temple worshiper: nine people, nine lives, all captured by Dalrymple as he journeys throughout India in search of remarkable individuals transformed by religion. At turns bemusing, dazzling and heart-wrenching, this is his first travel book in 15 years.

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