There is something truly evocative about travel writing. Colourful, deep and delightful descriptions of different places around the world makes us want to pack our bags and visit those places.
At present, travel books are quite popular in India. The countless rich places the country has make it quite pleasant and fascinating to read and know more about them. Among the sea of travelogues out there, we have selected five. Be rest assured that these five travelogues by Indian authors will rekindle your love for travel in India. Take a look.
Chai, Chai: Travels In Places Where You Stop But Never Get Off by Bishwanath Ghosh: Written in a smooth and languid writing style, ‘Chai Chai’ by journalist Bishwanath Ghosh has managed quite a cult following these past few years. What’s unique about the book is that it does not, like the usual travelogues out there, focus on any one particular famous place. Rather, it takes us to those small towns and cities which we often come across on Indian train journeys. Hence, the author takes us on delightful tours of places like Mughal Sarai, Itarsi, Jhansi, Shoranur, Jolarpetai, Arrakonam and Guntakal. Through lovely anecdotes and interactions with myriad fascinating characters, Mr. Ghosh paints a vivid imagery of these small towns that is bound to get us excited about them. Not too historical and serious, ‘Chai Chai’ is a light, breezy read you can really savour. Your best bet, though, would be to read it on a train journey.
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If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India by Srinath Perur: The book is very different from the general travelogues out there in many ways. It doesn’t really focus on the vivid descriptions of foods and places of famous places. Instead, it takes us on 10 conducted tours in India and abroad. More about the people he travels with than the destinations itself, the book is filled with reflections and anecdotes on the varied crews of Indians he travels with on several group tours. There are proud Bengalis, pious Maharashtrians, dancing Punjabis, curd loving Tamilians and many more typical Indians you meet. The author draws delightful details of all these interactions which are amusing and endearing. This is a charming little travelogue that every Indian should relate to.
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Following Fish: Travels Around the Indian Coast by Samanth Subramanian: A collection of nine travel essays, this is narrative journalism at its finest. Written in a colorfully descriptive style, ‘Following Fish’ is a marvelous account of a very specific culinary and cultural niche: fish. Basically, the author follows fish, the myriad stories of fish and the people related to it around the coasts and inner lands of India. Beginning with Calcutta, the hub of fish lovers, the book moves to different parts of coastal India and brings us interesting stories related to fish and its various facets. A unique travelogue in many ways ‘Following Fish’ is very simple and lucid and will stay with you long after you are done with it; even you are not a fish lover.
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1400 Bananas, 76 Towns & 1 Million People by Samir Nazareth: A travelogue of the classic kind, this book is a personal and heartfelt account of unheard of places in India’s hinterlands. The author travels to some intriguing places – Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim and two Union Territories (Daman & Diu, Silvassa) – and elucidates the food and people of those places with great flourish. Nazareth has also done a decent background sketch of all these places and gives us some productive information about them. Food here is given great importance and that makes for some really enjoyable reading. The narrative is smooth and easy and there are quite some hilarious bits throughout which will keep you amused. The little stories of ports and boat yards and hotels and lodges add to the pleasure of the book.
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The Living Road: A Motorcycle Journey to Bhutan by Ajit Harisinghani: An absolutely delightful read, ‘The Living Road’ is a solo motorcycle ride across India, and into Bhutan. The author, a 57-year-old speech therapist from Pune, takes us on an enthralling journey to Bhutan and introduces us to several memorable characters and places along the way. His love for his bike is endearing and refreshingly bereft of any machismo. The reasons he takes this pursuit for happiness in Bhutan are very relatable as well. The way he depicts the different Indian roads he is travelling through on his bike is really brilliant. One feels that they are riding with the author on his bike and his vibrant descriptions – even of the leaves of the trees on the roads he is passing by – add a lot of flavor to the journey. Harisinghani’s enthusiasm is infectious and you would love to reach the destination with him. Inspirational, authentic, evocative, funny, flowing and refreshing, this is one bike ride that even the ones who don’t know how to drive would love to hop on to.
Buy it here on Flipkart: http://bit.ly/1Y2xzle