India is an absolutely fascinating and diverse country with a very long and equally diverse history. Whether you are interested in wildlife and nature or history and architecture, cooking or textiles, there is plenty to discover whether you are planning a trip yourself, reminiscing or just enjoy finding out more about interesting places. Here are some of the resources I have used in finding out more about this country. If you want to read more about my travels in India, click here.
Insight Guides: India
I have written previously that Insight Guides are my first go-to source of information about any country. These guides are usually written by local authors who can provide fact-checked and up-to-date information. They always have great sections on history, politics, food, festivals etc as appropriate to the country, and cover each region and major centre in a lot more detail with maps, photos and descriptions of main features and activities whether natural or man-made. They also finish with a great section on Travel Tips covering everything from transport, accommodation and eating out through to etiquette, electrical systems, and language pronunciation.
The Story of India
This six part BBC documentary series by writer and historian Michael Wood is described as “a ten thousand year epic” that uncovers the fabulous sights, sounds and dazzling achievements of the world’s oldest and most influential civilisation. I think the thing that struck me most when I watched this was just how much history the country has and the vast array of different influences on its culture over such a long time.
The series chronicles the history of the subcontinent, the incredible richness and diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes, the intense drama of its past and the originality and continuing relevance of its ideas.
This series was a real eye-opener for me. I had picture of India in my mind that was based around billions of people and that that really didn’t leave much room for unspoilt nature, but I was very wrong. The series is described as “a celebration of India’s most spectacular locations and incredible wildlife” – and it certainly is!
“From the ‘home of snow’ in the epic Himalayan Mountains we travel to the mighty River Ganges, lifeblood of India as it carves out its dramatic path across the subcontinent. We reveal Thar, the ‘Great Indian Desert’. Its territory includes much of Rajasthan, where the bleakness of its environment is juxtaposed with the striking colours of traditional Rajasthani dress and amazing wildlife spectacles. Also featured is India’s lost world of the north eat, home to head-hunting tribes, tiger infested forests, mountains not yet climbed, rivers waiting to be fished. And finally to the Western Ghats. This biodiversity hotspot is home to epic waterfalls, hill tribes, hidden caves and stunning wildlife.”
Hot Pink Spice Saga: An Indian Culinary Travelogue with Recipes
New Zealanders will be very familiar with our colourful and exuberant Peta Mathias, well known for her TV food shows. She is a prolific New Zealand chef, author, entertainer and broadcaster, who writes about food and travel and hosts gastronomic tours and was was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2012. I have been privileged to attend one of her cooking classes and loved hearing all her travel stories.
She teamed up with chef Julie Le Clerc to produce this fabulous book full of mouthwatering photographs and recipes. This is much more than a recipe book though. The title says it all, it is an Indian Culinary Travelogue with all the entertaining stories of their visits to India, explorations, and people they meet.
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
I just loved these movies!! They are set in Jaipur in Rajasthan and in wonderful comic fashion give a really good feel for what it is like in that part of India.
This is a BBC Documentary covering one of my favourite TV adventurers Simon Reeve’s travels around the Indian Ocean. Whilst it covers a lot more than just India, it gives a good insight into the political, economical and environmental aspects of the region. He ‘brings a unique perspective to this portrait of a fascinating and increasingly important area, as he engages in the lives and struggles of its varied coastal peoples.’
Intrepid Travel (a range of different travel styles – see my post on travel styles)
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
Note: After people telling me they had booked an Intrepid Tour on my recommendation, I now have affiliate links with the Intrepid Travel group of companies and may receive a commission if you book a tour online within a couple of months after clicking through to these sites. So if you are enjoying my tips and stories and finding them useful in choosing your own travel, please click on these links and help me to bring you more ☺.