India is large, colourful, and sumptuous, and any other superlatives you care to mention. It’s a luxurious encyclopaedia of the subcontinent and covers pretty much every aspect of life, art and culture of this marvellous country.
India – The Ultimate Sights, Places, and Experiences is a weighty tome but it’s true to say that the subject is so vast that even this book can’t cover it in depth. What it does do is portray the land in a most sympathetic and unpatronising fashion. The writers and photographers have evidently done their homework and intend you to have a broad-based look the people and places that make India so memorable.
I can hardly begin to tell you how bored I am by TV documentaries about Suchandsuch’s View of The Real India. In truth these documentaries just serve to reinforce stereotypes that westerners hold so dear. We are confronted by yet another rat-filled temple (yes, they are there but there is more to worship than that) and people living on the streets (Do Indian producers come to London to film drunks on park benches?). This book looks at typical Indians who have jobs, who work hard (and a few that don’t need to), go to school and have dreams of the future.
India is both ancient and new. Modern India is a little over 60 years old but its soul and character have existed for millennia. Towns in India had well-developed sewage systems in prehistoric times. More correctly, times when the west had done nothing much to make history but times by which India was already civilised and cultured.
India – The Ultimate Sights, Places, and Experiences draws on 700 or so pictures to lead you through this vast country with all of its awe-inspiring scenery (everything from mountains to lush valleys, from desert to jungle). It also introduces you to all its major religions, its amazing architecture, its art and treasures, and its diverse population.
The nation is, at last, taking its place as a world power. Its future is bright and it has young people who will make a success of this land that has so much to offer. This gem of a book gives a tantalising overview of the country and its culture. It’s not a text book but rather a volume to be enjoyed by the whole family. It’s impressive and a joy, and astounding value for money.
India – The Ultimate Sights, Places, and Experiences
Published by Dorling Kindersley
Authors: Christopher Pillitz, Gary Ombler, Abraham Eraly, Yasmin Khan, George Michell, Mitali Saran
Travel book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018