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The ideal travel companion, full of insider advice on what to see and do, plus detailed itineraries and

comprehensive maps for exploring this culturally vibrant and diverse country.

Savour superb views of the Taj Mahal, learn all about South Indian culture in Chennai or explore Hindu and

Buddhist cave temples on Elephanta Island: everything you need to know is clearly laid out within colour-

coded chapters. Discover the best of India with this indispensable travel guide.

Inside DK Eyewitness Travel Guide India:

- Over 50 colour maps help you navigate with ease
- Simple layout makes it easy to find the information you need
- Comprehensive tours and itineraries of India, designed for every interest and budget
- Illustrations and floorplans show the inside of icons such as the Amber Fort in Rajasthan, the National

Museum in Delhi, the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata and more
- Colour photographs of India's bustling cities, historic buildings, elaborate temples, beautiful beaches,

mountainous interior, lush tea plantations and more
- Historical and cultural context gives you a richer travel experience: learn about the country's fascinating history and culture, colourful festivals, remarkable architecture, and traditional music, dance and fashion
- Detailed chapters, with area maps, cover Delhi; Haryana and Punjab; Himachal Pradesh; Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir; Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand; Bihar and Jharkhand; Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh; Kolkata (Calcutta); West Bengal and Sikkim; Odisha; Assam; Rajasthan; Gujarat; Mumbai (Bombay); Maharashtra; Goa; Karnataka; Chennai (Madras); Tamil Nadu; Andaman Islands; Kerala; Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
- Essential travel tips: our expert choices of where to stay, eat, shop and sightsee, plus visa and health


DK Eyewitness Travel Guide India is a detailed, easy-to-use guide designed to help you get the most from

your visit to India.

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Published by Read My eBook for FREE!, 2020-02-19 22:45:51

(DK Eyewitness) Travel Guide - India

The ideal travel companion, full of insider advice on what to see and do, plus detailed itineraries and

comprehensive maps for exploring this culturally vibrant and diverse country.

Savour superb views of the Taj Mahal, learn all about South Indian culture in Chennai or explore Hindu and

Buddhist cave temples on Elephanta Island: everything you need to know is clearly laid out within colour-

coded chapters. Discover the best of India with this indispensable travel guide.

Inside DK Eyewitness Travel Guide India:

- Over 50 colour maps help you navigate with ease
- Simple layout makes it easy to find the information you need
- Comprehensive tours and itineraries of India, designed for every interest and budget
- Illustrations and floorplans show the inside of icons such as the Amber Fort in Rajasthan, the National

Museum in Delhi, the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata and more
- Colour photographs of India's bustling cities, historic buildings, elaborate temples, beautiful beaches,

mountainous interior, lush tea plantations and more
- Historical and cultural context gives you a richer travel experience: learn about the country's fascinating history and culture, colourful festivals, remarkable architecture, and traditional music, dance and fashion
- Detailed chapters, with area maps, cover Delhi; Haryana and Punjab; Himachal Pradesh; Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir; Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand; Bihar and Jharkhand; Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh; Kolkata (Calcutta); West Bengal and Sikkim; Odisha; Assam; Rajasthan; Gujarat; Mumbai (Bombay); Maharashtra; Goa; Karnataka; Chennai (Madras); Tamil Nadu; Andaman Islands; Kerala; Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
- Essential travel tips: our expert choices of where to stay, eat, shop and sightsee, plus visa and health


DK Eyewitness Travel Guide India is a detailed, easy-to-use guide designed to help you get the most from

your visit to India.



001_EW_India.indd 3 26/04/17 12:00 pm



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Managing Editor Aruna Ghose
Managing Art Editor Bindia Thapar Introducing India Central India
Project Editor Nandini Mehta
Editors Madhulita Mohapatra, Vandana
Mohindra, Ranjana Saklani, Alissa Sheth Discovering India 8 Introducing
Designers Benu Joshi, Mugdha Sethi,
Priyanka Thakur Central India 160
Cartographers Uma Bhattacharya, Putting India
Kishorchand Naorem on the Map 18 Uttar Pradesh
Photo Editor Radhika Singh
Picture Researcher Kiran K Mohan & Uttarakhand 170
DTP Coordinator Shailesh Sharma A Portrait of India 22
DTP Designer Jessica Subramanian Bihar & Jharkhand 216
Main Contributors India Through
Roshen Dalal, Partho Datta, Divya Gandhi,
Premola Ghose, Ashok Koshy, Abha Narain the Year 38 Madhya Pradesh &
Lambah, Annabel Lopez, Sumita Mehta, Chhattisgarh 230
George Michell, Rudrangshu Mukherji,
Meenu Nageshwaran, Rushad R Nanavatty, The History of India 44
Ira Pande, Usha Raman, Janet Rizvi, Ranee
Sahaney, Deepak Sanan, Darsana
Selvakumar, Sankarshan Thakur, Shikha Eastern India
Trivedi, Lakshmi Vishwanathan Delhi & The North
Consultant George Michell
Photographers Introducing
Clare Arni, Fredrik & Laurence Arvidsson, Introducing Delhi &
M Balan, Dinesh Khanna, Amit Pasricha, Eastern India 260
Bharath Ramamrutham, Toby Sinclair, The North 62
BPS Walia
Illustrators Kolkata (Calcutta) 270
Avinash Ramsurrun, Dipankar Bhattacharya, Delhi 72
Danny Cherian, R Kamalahasan, Surat Kumar West Bengal & Sikkim
Mantoo, Arun P, Suman Saha, Ajay Sethi,
Ashok Sukumaran, Gautam Trivedi, Haryana & Punjab 102 288
Mark Warner
Printed in Malaysia Himachal Pradesh 112
Reprinted with revisions 2005, 2008, Odisha 308
2011, 2014, 2017
Copyright 2002, 2017 © Dorling Kindersley Ladakh, Jammu Assam &
Limited, London
A Penguin Random House Company & Kashmir 138 The Northeast 326
First American Edition, 2002
17 18 19 20 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Published in the US by:
Dorling Kindersley Limited,
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
All rights reserved. Without limiting the
rights under copyright reserved above,
no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a
retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form, or by any means (electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise), without the prior written
permission of both the copyright owner Intricate pietra dura motif
and the above publisher of this book.
A CIP catalogue record is available from
the Library of Congress.
The information in this
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide is checked regularly.
ISSN 1542-1554
ISBN 978-1-46546-052-3 Every effort has been made to ensure that this book is as up-to-date as possible
at the time of going to press. Some details, however, such as telephone numbers,
opening hours, prices, gallery hanging arrangements and travel information are
liable to change. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for any consequences
arising from the use of this book, nor for any material on third party websites, and
cannot guarantee that any website address in this book will be a suitable source of
travel information. We value the views and suggestions of our readers very highly.
Please write to: Publisher, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, Dorling Kindersley,
80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL, UK, or email: [email protected]
Title page Pretty interiors of the historic City Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan Front cover image The Taj Mahal at sunset, Agra
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Western India Travellers’ Needs Survival Guide

Introducing Where to Stay 690 Practical Information
Western India 344 734
Where to Eat and
Rajasthan 354 Drink 704 Travel Information 748

Gujarat 412 Shops and Markets 720 General Index 760
Entertainment 724 Acknowledgments 788
India Sports and Outdoor Further Reading 792
Activities 726
Glossary 794
Southwestern India 436 Phrase Book 796
Mumbai (Bombay) 446
Maharashtra 468

Goa 488
Karnataka 514

South India

South India 550 Colourful boats on the bank of river Ganges, Varanasi
Chennai (Madras) 560 Kailasanatha Temple, Ellora
Tamil Nadu 580

Andaman Islands 620
Kerala 628
Andhra Pradesh &
Telangana 662

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Discovering India 8–17

Putting India on the Map 18–21
A Portrait of India 22–37
India Through the Year 38–43
The History of India 44–61

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Alchi Leh
The following tours have been designed to the majestic Himalayan region of the far north. Stok Hemis
take in as many of this vast country’s highlights The first of the four subsequent week-long Indus
as possible, with them separated into regions itineraries covers Mumbai & Maharashtra in Keylong
Rohtang Pass
to keep long-distance travel within reason. First central India, followed by three exotic southern Dharamsala Manali
comes a three-day tour of India’s grand capital routes, featuring the highlights of Goa & Kangra Valley Kullu
Delhi, which can be combined with the Golden Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Pick, Mandi HIMACHAL
Triangle to make a ten-day tour. Next, comes a combine and follow your favourite tours, Shimla
more extensive two-week itinerary, covering or simply dip in and out and be inspired. PUNJAB UTTARAKHAND
10 Days in the Golden Triangle
Key Delhi
• Rub shoulders with • Savour superb views of 10 Days in the
devout Muslims at the the Taj Mahal across the Golden Triangle Amber Brindavan Ganges
Jama Masjid in Old Yamuna River from the 2 Weeks in the Himalayas Fort Mathura Agra
Delhi. One of the largest ramparts of Agra Fort. 1 Week in Mumbai & RAJASTHAN Pushkar Jaipur Fatehpur PRADESH
mosques in India, it is • Gaze at the sculpted Maharashtra Ajmer Sikri Ghaghara
also an architectural and domes crowning the 1 Week in Goa & Karnataka
historical marvel. stunning buildings of the 1 Week in Kerala
• Stroll along the wide, former Mughal capital of 1 Week in Tamil Nadu
avenues of New Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri.
admiring its grand • Admire the pink façade
colonial architecture. of Jaipur’s Hawa Mahal.
0 kilometres 300
0 miles 300 Ajanta
Arabian Aurangabad
1 Week in Goa &
Karnataka Krishna
• Walk around and admire the

Portuguese colonial architec­ Panaji GOA Hampi ANDHRA
ture and the churches of Palolem PRADESH Bay of
Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site Goa’s capital, Panaji. Pe nneru Bengal
• Relax on the beach and sip KARNATAKA

a drink beneath the palms at
1 Week in Mumbai & Maharashtra Palolem or even more laid Chennai
back Agonda. Bengaluru
Kanchipuram Mamallapuram
• Take a boat ride from • Gain an insight into the • Meander through the Mysuru
the Gateway of India life of Mahatma Gandhi sprawling ruins of Hampi. Chamundi Hill Puducherry
to Elephanta Island; at the Aga Khan Palace • Stand agog at the pure
explore its Hindu and in Pune, where he opulence and magnificence TAMIL
Buddhist cave temples. was imprisoned. of Mysuru’s Amba Vilas Palace. KERALA Kaveri
• Marvel at the wealth of • Admire the extraordinary • Stock up on tropical fruit at Kochi Mattupetty Lake
artefacts at Chattrapati murals at the Buddhist Mysuru’s colourful market for Munnar
Shivaji Maharaj rock­cut caves of Ajanta the walk downhill from the Alappuzha Kottayam
Vastu Sangrahalaya. in Aurangabad. temple atop Chamundi Hill. Kollam
Varkala Thiruvananthapuram
Painting of the Battle of Pollilur in Tipu Sultan’s summer palace

008-009_EW_India.indd 8 05/05/17 3:11 pm


Alchi Leh 2 Weeks in the Himalayas
Stok Hemis
• Wind your way up • Admire the panoramic
Darcha Indus through the Himalayan mountain vistas of the
Keylong foothills from Kalka to high ranges that surround
Rohtang Pass
Dharamsala Manali the hill station of Shimla Ladakh’s capital, Leh.
Kangra Valley Kullu on the famous toy train. • Visit the ancient
PRADESH • Sample the delights of monasteries of Ladakh
Shimla Tibetan hospitality and and marvel at the
PUNJAB food at McLeodganj, exquisite murals at
home of the Dalai Lama. Alchi Monastery.
Brindavan Ganges
Fort Mathura Agra
RAJASTHAN Pushkar Jaipur Fatehpur PRADESH
Ajmer Ghaghara
Goa’s Palolem beach, also famous for its nightlife

1 Week in Kerala
Narmada CHHATTISGARH • Admire the architecture of
Tapti Padmanabhapuram Palace
in historic Travancore.
Ellora MAHARASHTRA ODISHA • Go for a dip at Varkala beach,
Arabian Aurangabad then enjoy some fresh grilled
Sea fish at a clifftop restaurant.
Mumbai • Enjoy a cruise along Kerala’s
serene backwaters.
• Savour the cool, fresh air
at Munnar and drink tea
that has been freshly picked
Krishna from a nearby plantation.
• Take a stroll through the
narrow streets and spice
Panaji Hampi PRADESH Bay of markets of Fort Kochi.
Pe nneru Bengal
1 Week in Tamil Nadu
Bengaluru Chennai
Kanchipuram Mamallapuram
Mysuru • Learn all about South • Visit the monument-
Chamundi Hill Indian culture, history strewn hill behind the
and art at the vast ornately carved Arjuna’s
TAMIL Government Museum Penance and the stunning
KERALA NADU Kaveri Complex in Chennai. Panch Rathas complex
Kochi Mattupetty Lake • Be part of a puja in Mamallapuram.
Munnar ceremony at one of • Stroll along the beach
Alappuzha Kottayam the magnificent temples from Tiger Cave to the
Kollam in Kanchipuram. Shore Temple.
Varkala Thiruvananthapuram

008-009_EW_India.indd 9 05/05/17 3:11 pm


3 Days in Delhi

India’s capital is full of
contrasts, from the Muslim
flavour of its Mughal heritage,
through the colonial echoes
of the Raj, to the buzzing
modernity of a constantly
developing metropolis.
• Arriving IG International
airport is around 20 km (12
miles) from the city centre.
The main train station is New
Delhi, in the centre of town.
The ISBT bus station is a
short way north of Old Delhi.
The colourful Kinari Bazaar in Old Delhi
three domes are visible from miles Janpath south to the National
Day 1 around. Don’t miss the panoramic Museum (pp80–81, closed Mon),
Morning A good way to spend view from the south minaret. Walk whose rich collection chronicles
the first day is by soaking up the north from here to Chandni millennia of Indian history and
atmosphere of predominantly Chowk (pp88–9), the frenetically includes priceless gems such
Islamic Old Delhi. Start at the busy main thoroughfare of Old as Aurangzeb’s sword and
magnificent Red Fort (pp90–91, Delhi, lined with shrines of various Chola bronzes.
closed Mon), named after its religions, including the fascinating
distinctive rust-coloured ramparts. Digambar Jain Temple. Finish off Afternoon Enjoy a stroll
Among its highlights, arranged with a tasty tandoori snack from along the wide open spaces of
around pristine lawns, are the one of the many hole-in-the-wall Lutyens-designed Rajpath (p78),
sixty-pillared Diwan-i-Aam, the restaurants lining the side streets. admiring the grand buildings of
royal apartments of the Khas the British Raj, which now house
Mahal and the elegant hamams. Day 2 Indian govern ment ministries,
Afterwards, dive into the bustling Morning Attend a puja ceremony galleries and museums. Pass by
streets of the old city, whose at the lively Lakshmi Narayan the gigantic sandstone arch of
narrow alleys contain a kaleido- Mandir (p82), which offers a fine India Gate (p78) en route east
scope of bazaars, selling anything introduction to modern Hindu to the Crafts Museum (pp84–5,
from jewellery to auto parts and practice. From here walk east to closed Mon). Don’t miss the
excellent street-food shops. circular Connaught Place (p79), artisans displaying their skills in
still the hub of New Delhi, whose the Crafts Demonstra tion Area.
Afternoon Pay your respects at landscaped central park provides End the afternoon in the tranquil
Jama Masjid (p90), one of the respite and the underground mall surroundings of the Purana Qila
world’s largest mosques, whose shopping opportunities. Follow (p83), the sixth city of Delhi, just to
the south. The ornate Qila-i-Kuhna
Mosque and octagonal Sher
Mandal Tower are its most
note worthy structures.
Day 3
Morning Begin exploring south
Delhi with a ramble through
Lodi Gardens (p83), a picturesque
park landscaped around some
imposing 15th-century tombs.
Then head east towards the
stunning edifice of Humayun’s
Tomb (p87), a prototype for
the Taj Mahal, via the absorbing
Nizamuddin Complex (p86), a
historic necropolis decicated to
the memory of various Sufi saints.
Afternoon Further southwest,
One of Delhi’s most popular landmarks, India Gate, Rajpath another venerable monument
For practical information on travelling around India, see pp750–59

010-017_EW_India.indd 10 26/04/17 11:52 am


not to be missed is the Chaupur (pp358–9), which
tapered 12th­century Qutb houses the unusual shapes of the
Minar (p98), which stands Jantar Mantar Observatory,
proudly amidst the verdant the lovely Hawa Mahal (pp356–7)
Mehrauli Archaeological and the exotic Johari Bazaar (p359).
Park (pp96–7). This extensive Another unmissable nearby
compound also contains a variety attraction is the City Palace
of important tombs, mosques Museum (pp360–61), full of
and the beautiful Dargah Qutb dazzling costumes, weaponry
Sahid (p96). Having absorbed and royal relics.
some of the world’s great
faiths, an appropriate place Day 8: Around Jaipur
to end the Delhi tour is at Rise early and head north to
the delightful lotus­shaped Gaitor (p367), which boasts a
Baha’i House of Worship set of marble cenotaphs from
(p99), a modern shrine that various historical periods, and on
honours all religions. to nearby Jal Mahal (p367). This
The Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the most 18th­century palace is especially
10 Days in the famous monuments in the world impressive during the monsoon,
Golden Triangle when the surrounding lake is full.
marble hall of the Khas Mahal A few kilometres further north lies
• Airports Arrive and depart both afford splendid views across the superb late 16th­century
from Delhi’s IG International. the Yamuna river towards the Taj Amber Fort (pp368–70).
• Transport The best way to Mahal. After a lunch of local
travel between the three main Mughlai cuisine, embark on a Day 9: Ajmer
hubs of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur tour of two riverside towns north Take a longer day trip further
is by train: Delhi to Agra takes of Agra with strong Krishna west to Ajmer, renowned for its
2–3 hours, Agra to Jaipur 4–5 associations. Mathura (pp182–3), important Sufi shrine, Dargah
hours and Jaipur to Delhi which is reputed to be Krishna’s Sharif (p380). Take time to visit
around 6 hours. The local day birthplace, is best known for the the ruined mosque complex of
trips are best done by bus or busy Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi Adhai-Din-ka-Jhonpra (p380),
taxi and most involve only an Temple (p182), while his childhood situated on a nearby hillside.
hour or two of travelling time. hometown of Brindavan (p183) is Push on to Pushkar (pp378–9), a
brimming with shrines. holy pilgrim town, where you
can while away some time on
Days 1, 2 & 3: Delhi Day 6: Around Agra the ghats beside the lake.
See the city itinerary on p10. A great day trip from Agra, or stop­
over en route to Jaipur, is another Day 10: South of Jaipur
Day 4: Agra former Mughal capital, Fatehpur The Golden Triangle tour would
Leave for Agra (pp172–81), the Sikri (pp184–7). Among its high­ be incomplete without a visit to
seat of the Mughal Court in lights are the Diwan­i­Khas hall and the sights to the south of Jaipur.
the 16th and 17th centuries, sands tone pavilions of the Panch These include the turreted Moti
and home to the magnificent Mahal and Turkish Sultana’s House. Doongri Palace (p364) and the
Taj Mahal (pp176–9, closed Fri). far more contem porary arts
The majesty of the world’s most Day 7: Jaipur centre, Jawahar Kala Kendra
famous testament to love is best The central area of interest in (p364). End the tour by
appreciated over an entire day, the “pink city” of Jaipur is Badi returning to Delhi.
from sunrise to sunset, which
allows visitors to witness the
changing light play on the marble
mausoleum. Look out for the
elaborate designs and calligraphy
of the main Tomb Chamber and
exquisite Pishtaq. End the day
by enjoying a snack beside the
reflecting Lotus Pool.
Day 5: Mathura & Brindavan
Spend the morning admiring
the rambling complex of courtly
buildings that constitute Agra
Fort (pp174–5). The precipitous
walls of the main harem, known
as the Jahangiri Mahal, and the Rajasthan’s spectacular Jal Mahal seen at sunset

010-017_EW_India.indd 11 26/04/17 11:52 am


2 Weeks in the lower ranges of the Himalayas.
the Himalayas Stop and explore the market
town of Mandi (p124) and the
• Airports Arrive at Delhi’s IG nearby Rewalsar Lake (p124),
International or at Shimla which is hemmed in by several
Airport (from Chandigarh and Buddhist monasteries and a
Dharamsala). Return to Delhi vibrant Sikh gurudwara.
from Leh’s domestic airport.
• Transport Travel from Delhi Day 4: McLeodganj
to Shimla takes 10 hours by Spend an hour or so at the
bus or longer via the toy train Museum of Kangra Art (p126,
from Kalka. The rest of the closed Mon) in Dharamsala,
mountain journeys described most noted for its fine collection
below have to be done by of Pahari miniature paintings.
taxi, minibus or shared jeep Dharamsala (p126) is a fairly
and vary in length from a busy Indian hill town, so it is
few hours to two days. better to spend most of your
Entrance to the Jakhu Hill Temple, time in the upper town of
dedicated to Hanuman, Shimla McLeodganj (p126), accessible
Day 1: Shimla by bus or by walking the
Begin the tour in Shimla hike up to the town’s highest more direct but steep route
(pp114–16), the state capital point at Jakhu Hill (p115), that passes the Tibetan
of Himachal Pradesh, draped where there is a Hanuman administra tive centre of
across thickly forested hills. It Temple (p115) and an enormous Gangchen Kyishong (p126).
was the summer capital of the orange concrete statue of the The centre is home to the
British Raj and still retains much monkey god. Head back excellent Library of Tibetan
character from that period, downhill to the thriving stalls Works and Archives (p126).
most evident in the mock Tudor and small shops of the local Be sure to stop at the nearby
and other colonial architectural Lower Bazaar (p114), a great Nechung Monastery (p126),
styles of The Ridge (p114), and spot for spicy snacks. In the seat of the Tibetan State Oracle.
epitomised by Gothic Christ afternoon, take the 15-minute
Church (p114). This is a great stroll up Observatory Hill (p115) Day 5: Around McLeodganj
place to sit and enjoy the cool to the Viceregal Lodge (p115), While away most of the
air and rolling clouds that the grandest edifice of all and day, taking in the laid-back
regularly envelop the town. Just former summer administrative atmosphere of McLeodganj,
below The Ridge runs The Mall headquarters of British India. sampling traditional Tibetan
(p114), packed with places to momos or thukpa, buying
eat. Stop here to enjoy some Day 3: Dharamsala & souvenirs such as thangkas, and
refreshments. Next, visit the State Kangra Valley admiring the views. Don’t miss
Museum (pp114–15, closed Mon), The long trip to Dharamsala the colourful Tsuglagkhang
which has a vast array of artifacts (p126), seat of the Tibetan Complex (p126), just south of
from all over Himachal Pradesh. Government-in-Exile and town. Next, take a walk along
the Dalai Lama, takes visitors the gaily painted Norbulingka
Day 2: In and around Shimla through the impressively Institute (p126) to the lovely
For amazing panoramic views, green Kangra Valley (pp124–5), neighbouring village of
rise early for the fairly strenuous which carves its way through Dharamkot (p126).

Picturesque view of the pretty hill station of Dharamsala
For practical information on travelling around India, see pp750–59

010-017_EW_India.indd 12 05/05/17 3:11 pm


the views more spectacular and
the terrain more arid, as you
cross the Bara Lacha Pass at
4,890 m (16,043 ft) and descend
into Ladakh. The irrigated farm-
lands around the Indus River
provide relief amid the high-
altitude desert.
Day 12: Leh
After the rigours of the journey,
you should relax and acclimatize.
If you are feeling up to it, explore
the travellers’ cafés and bazaars
of Leh (p133). Choose between
heading up to the imposing
Street sellers with their wares in Leh bazaar Leh Palace (p140–41) or the
white Buddhist landmark of
Day 6: Kullu Day 9: Around Manali Shanti Stupa (p140) in Changspa.
En route back east through the Walk back down into the
Kangra Valley, stop to clamber modern town of Manali, where Day 13: South of Leh
around the crumbling ruins of the busy market largely caters Spend the day touring the most
Kangra Fort. Take time out for to the Indian honeymoon impressive monuments an hour
lunch at Mandi (p124), before crowd but also has a range of or two south of Leh, starting with
moving on towards the Kullu decent eateries. From Manali, the Namgyal residence of Stok
Valley. On arrival in the main head back across the rushing Palace (p143) then across the
town of Kullu (p130), walk up Beas and about 3 km (2 miles) Indus to Shey Palace (p143),
through the bazaar to the up above the east bank to below which are some fine rock
spacious Dhalpur Maidan (p130), Vaishist (p132), where visitors carvings. Later move on to the
which is surrounded by some of can take a dip in the sulphur monasteries of Thikse (p142)
the town’s best restaurants. springs of the temple tank. and Hemis (p144), both with
spectacular lofty locations.
Day 7: In and around Kullu Day 10 & 11: Manali–Leh
Go for a morning puja service at Travel the legendary Manali–Leh Day 14: West of Leh
Kullu’s 17th-century Ragunath Highway, not so much a road as an Devote an entire day to reach
Temple (p130), which houses unforgettable destination in itself, and explore the venerable
colourful images of Rama and as it climbs over the first main complex of Alchi Monastery
Sita. Other notable Hindu range of the Himalayas via a series (pp148–50), three hours west of
pilgrimage spots near the town of precipitous passes, beginning Leh, to be rewarded by some
are the Vaishno Devi Cave with the Rohtang Pass (p132). of the best-preserved Buddhist
Shrine (p130), and the Stop at the villages of Keylong mural artwork in the world. The
Jagannathi Devi Temple (p130). (p133) or Darcha (p133), in the best examples are to be found
Later, travel up to Naggar northernmost Lahaul (p133) in the Dukhang (p150) and
(p132), which affords splendid region. The road becomes rougher, Sumstek (p150) temples.
valley views from its perch
above the east bank of the fast-
flowing Beas river. The peaceful
village also boasts a castle-cum-
hotel and the Nicholas Roerich
Art Gallery (p132).
Day 8: Manali
After the short journey
north, settle into the peaceful
atmosphere of Old Manali (p132).
This village is blessed with a
plethora of friendly cafés and
restaurants amid the traditional
Himachal houses and their
farming folk. Take an after noon
stroll back across the Beas and
up to the wooden pagoda-style
Hadimba Temple (p132), set
among tall deodar trees. Typical colourful truck on the Manali-Leh Highway

010-017_EW_India.indd 13 05/05/17 3:11 pm


1 Week in Mumbai &
• Airports Arrive at Mumbai’s
Chhatrapati Shivaji
International Airport and
return to Mumbai from
Aurangabad’s domestic
Chikkalthana Airport.
• Transport Travel from
Mumbai to Pune takes three
to four hours by train or road
From Pune to Aurangabad, it
is around five hours by bus
and from there to Ellora and
Ajanta only buses and taxis
are available.
The caves at Ajanta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 1: Mumbai
Mumbai (pp446–67) is India’s sculpture. Stop to wonder at the At the Himroo Factory (p478)
modern business and entertain­ architec tural splendor of nearby nearby, select from the variety
ment capital, simultaneously the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus of shawls and saris on sale.
most wealthy and squalid city in (pp458–9), before heading up
the country. Start by admiring Marine Drive (p462) and mingling Day 5: Ellora
another great monu ment of the with the crowds and chaat Take a trip out to the magnificent
British Raj, the massive waterfront wallahs on Chowpatty Beach rock cave compound at Ellora
Gateway of India (p450), built for (p462). After climbing Malabar (pp480–82), which requires
George V’s visit in 1911. Not far Hill (p462), end the day with a an entire day to explore. Pride
from it stands the equally grand vibrant ritual at Mahalaxmi of place goes to the vast
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (p450), Temple (p463). Mumbai is also 8th­century Kailasanatha
where you must treat yourself home to the Hindi film industry, Temple (pp480–82), hewn from
to tea. From beside the Gateway, better known as Bollywood. a cliff face. Note the carved
take a boat to Elephanta Island Look out for the colourful elephants supporting this
(p465), whose chiselled Hindu hoardings promoting the latest structure around its base and
and Buddhist rock caves hide films across the city. the exquisite panel of Ravana
some stunning sculptures. Shaking Mount Kailasa.
Day 3: Pune
Day 2: In and around Mumbai Travel to Pune (p474) to see the Day 6: Ajanta
Visit the huge Chhatrapati Aga Khan Palace (p474), where Another day trip is required
Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Mahatma Gandhi was once to visit the region’s other
Sangrahalaya (pp454–5), which imprisoned. It is now dedicated extra ordinary cave complex
houses price less art such as to his memory. For those with at Ajanta (pp483–5). The naturally
Mughal miniatures and Buddhist interest in New Age phenomena, horseshoe­shaped set of caves
Pune is where the Osho that date from two distinct periods
International Commune (p474), make up this Buddhist complex.
founded by the guru Bhagwan Their main features are some
Rajneesh, is located. For a more intricately carved friezes and
conventional cultural experience, numerous beautiful murals –
take a look at the household the large mandala in Cave 2
objects on display at Raja is a prime example.
Dinkar Kelkar Museum (p474).
Day 7: Around Aurangabad
Day 4: Aurangabad Back in Aurangabad, visit the
The first half of the day will be town’s main attraction, the
spent getting to Aurangabad splendid Bibi ka Maqbara
(pp478–9), capital of the last (p478), a 17th­century imitation
great Mughal Emperor of the Taj Mahal with multiple
Aurangzeb. After orientating freestanding minarets, built by
yourself, cross the Kham river Aurangzeb’s son. Two other
and join the lively throng of noteworthy monuments within
pilgrims at the Dargah of Baba the walled city are the ruined
Bollywood film poster of the popular hindi Shah Musafir (p478), the Sufi Naukhanda Palace (p478), and
movie, Barfi saint who inspired Aurangzeb. the solid Jama Masjid (p478).
For practical information on travelling around India, see pp750–59

010-017_EW_India.indd 14 26/04/17 11:52 am


1 Week in Goa &
• Airports Arrive at Goa’s
Dabolim International Airport
and depart from
Kempegowda International
Airport, Bengaluru.
• Transport Travel within
Goa is mainly by local bus,
while the overnight tourist
bus to Hampi saves time, as
does the overnight Hampi Serene waters at Anjuna beach, Goa
Express train to Bengaluru,
which has bus and train more relaxed, two fine Hazara Rama Temple (p537)
connections to Mysuru. candidates being Palolem and Elephant Stables
(p511) and even more secluded (p537). Finally, clamber around
Agonda (p511). Both offer Hemakuta Hill (p536) and
Day 1: Goa numerous restaurants the marvellous bug-eyed
A good place to get a feel for specializing in fresh fish. Narasimha Monolith in time
the Portuguese ambience of to watch a superb sunset.
Goa (pp488–513) is by spending Day 3: Hampi
half a day in the capital Panaji Wake up to find yourself in the Day 5: Bengaluru
(pp490–93), ideally located on magical surroundings of On arrival in Karnataka’s busy
the Mandovi river, and nearby Hampi (pp534–7) in Karnataka, capital Bengaluru (pp516–18),
Old Goa. Marvel at the colonial the deserted capital of the these days a hi-tech and
grandeur of the early 16th- Vijayanagar Kingdom, on business hub, spend the
century Old Secretariat (p490) the banks of the Tungabhadra. morning visiting the ornate
on the riverfront and a number Set amid sugarcane fields and 18th-century Tipu Sultan’s
of splendid old churches, such rice paddies, the back drop of Palace (p518) and rest during
as Baroque Basilica de Bom peculiar rock formations adds a the midday heat in the leafy
Jesus (pp502–503). In the surreal aspect to the extensive botanical gardens of Lalbagh
afternoon, go for a swim at archaeological remains. Follow (p518). In the afternoon, tour
either Anjuna (p494) or one the slightly cooler route along Cubbon Park (p516) and the
of the beaches on the bay of the river to the splendid huge Government Museum
Vagator (p496), the largest Vitthala Temple (pp536–7), with (p516, closed Mon), paying
of which is lorded over by its famous musical pillars. special attention to the
ruddy Chapora Fort (p496). Venkatappa Art Gallery (p517).
Day 4: In and around Hampi Later sample the busting
Day 2: Palolem & Agonda Join the early morning puja at nightlife around Mahatma
Decamp to the southern end of the village’s living Virupaksha Gandhi Road.
the small state for a relaxing day Temple (p536). Spend the rest of
by the warm waters of the the morning visiting the Day 6: Mysuru
Arabian Sea. The beaches down extensive remains of the Royal Classy and unhurried Mysuru
here are generally quieter and Centre (p537), replete with the (pp522–3) exudes a far more
old-fashioned vibe and is a fine
city just to explore on foot. Its
one unmissable sight is the
incredibly ostentatious Amba
Vilas Palace (pp522–3), lit up like
a Christmas tree in the evening.
A number of rooftop restaurants
afford views of this spectacle.
Day 7: In and around Mysuru
Check out the Neo-Classical
Sri Jayachamarajendra Art
Gallery. Next, buy fresh fruit
at the Devaraja Market. Enjoy
them in the afternoon on the
way up to the temple atop
Chamundi Hill (p523), then walk
back down via the massive
Garuda shrine in the form of a stone chariot at Vitthala Temple Nandi monolith.

010-017_EW_India.indd 15 26/04/17 11:52 am


1 Week in Kerala a look from the walls but is not
open to non-Hindus.
• Airports Arrive at Day 3: Kollam to Alappuzha
Trivandrum International Take the day-long cruise from
Airport, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam to Alappuzha (pp638–9)
and depart from Cochin through idyllic backwaters,
International Airport, Kochi. fringed by millions of swaying
• Transport Travel is most palms. The verdant green harbours
easily accomplished by rich birdlife, while on the banks,
road, with trains available the daily lives of the people
for some sectors such as reveals itself. It is possible to
Thiruvananthapuram to take a more expensive but less
Varkala and Kollam. Kerala crowded overnight houseboat
also offers the unique travel tour instead.
artery of its backwaters.
Day 4: Kottayam & Munnar
Travel up into the Western Ghats
Day 1: Thiruvananthapuram via Kottayam (p642), beautifully The scenic Mattupetty Lake in Munnar,
Palm-lined Thiruvananthapuram, located at the foot of the range perfect for boating
better known as Trivandrum, is and also accessible by local ferry.
one of India’s most laid-back state Munnar (p652) is a relaxing hill Cruz Cathedral (p648) and a
capitals. The Napier Museum station surrounded by a green number of grand colonial
(p630, closed Mon & Wed am) is carpet of tea planta tions, which buildings now converted into
worth a visit for its collection of make for ideal rambling territory. hotels. Take an afternoon boat
arts and crafts. Make an afternoon Relax at a tea house here. ride across the bay to Bolghatty
trip to the Padmanabhapuram Island (p647), where the palace
Palace (pp634–5), in its lush Day 5: Around Munnar has been converted into a state-
rural setting, and admire this Hike to Mattupetty Lake (p652), run hotel, a great place for tea.
prime example of Keralan surrounded by semi-Alpine Return to Fort Kochi in the
wooden architecture. forest, where visitors can opt to evening to attend a mesmeric
go boating or ride an elephant. Kathakali dance performance.
Day 2: Around Much longer treks are available
Thiruvananthapuram for those with time and energy. Day 7: Around Kochi
Enjoy a relaxing dip in the In the afternoon, enjoy the drive Towards the southern reaches
Arabian Sea at Varkala Beach back down to Kochi (pp646–9), of Fort Kochi, visit the 16th-
(pp632–3), nestled below a the jewel of the Keralan coast. century Mattancherry Palace
dramatic clifftop and choc-a- (p646). Originally built by the
bloc with enticing eateries Day 6: Kochi Portuguese, it is now a museum
offering delights such as fish in Amble at your own pace around housing a wonderful array of
local coconut-flavoured curries. the picturesque narrow backstreets murals and regal paraphenalia.
There are also magnificent and seafront promenade of Fort To the south, lies the uniquely-
sunsets. In the centre of the Kochi (pp648–9). Highlights are decorated Pardesi Synagogue
village, the ancient Janardhana the photogenic Chinese Fishing (pp646–7), India’s oldest and one
Swamy Temple (p632) is worth Nets (p648), imposing Santa of its few synangogues still active.

Pretty view of the Varkala Beach, Thiruvananthapuram
For practical information on travelling around India, see pp750–59

010-017_EW_India.indd 16 26/04/17 11:52 am


1 Week in Day 5: North of
Tamil Nadu Mamallapuram
Spend the morning counting
• Airports Arrive and depart the myriad reptiles that lounge
from Chennai’s Aringar Anna languidly in the many compounds
International Terminal and of the Crocodile Bank (p582,
Kamaraj Domestic Terminal. closed Mon & Tue) north of the
• Transport Trains run between village, where visitors can also
Chennai and Kanchipuram, watch Irula tribesmen extracting
while the other towns are snake venom. Then relax by the
connected only by road. All quieter stretch of beach in front
journeys take between two of the skillfully carved Tiger’s
and three hours. Cave (p583), before taking a
seaside stroll back to the village.
Day 1: Chennai Day 6: Puducherry
Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai Typical French restaurant serving Gallic Get a feel of the colonial
(p560–79), formerly Madras, cuisine in Puducherry French influence on Puducherry
is a hot and bustling city, with (pp590–93) in the quiet and leafy
some relief provided by the sea on the beach at the stone-carving boulevards and streets of the
breezes that can be enjoyed centre of Mamallapuram, elegant French Quarter, which
anywhere along its extended (pp582–3), swimming and occupies the grid of blocks
seafront. The oldest and watching the fishermen from between the canal and the
most attractive parts of the one of the beachside restaurants. seafront Goubert Salai. Towards
metropolis are both at Visit the famous Shore Temple the north end of the quarter
the north end of the centre: (p582), which juts out into the Bay visit the Aurobindo Ashram
Fort St George (pp564–5) is of Bengal on a rocky promontory. (p593), which contains
Britain’s original foothold in the the mausoleum of the
subcontinent; nearby George Day 4: In and around revolutionary-turned-guru
Town (p565) boasts a collection Mamallapuram and his wife, “The Mother”.
of colonial edifices. For a good In the centre of the village stands
introduction into the ancient the elaborately carved bas-relief Day 7: In and around
architectural and religious best known as Arjuna’s Penance Puducherry
art of South India, visit the (p582). Above this, clamber along In the morning visit the French-
Government Museum with the local goats across a hill- themed Puducherry Museum
Complex (pp568–9, closed Fri). top strewn with monuments and (p592, closed Mon), the white
a huge natural boulder called Basilica of the Sacred Heart of
Day 2: Kanchipuram Krishna’s Butter Ball (p582). A Jesus (p592) and the peaceful
Kanchipuram (p586) is one of short walk to the south of the Botanical Gardens (p592). After
India’s most renowned temple village stand the Panch Rathas lunch head for Auroville (p593)
towns, dominated by the soaring (pp584–5), an impressive set of to see a New Age spiritual
gopuras so distinctive of southern five rock-cut shrines and other community and visit the Matri
temple architecture. First visit monolithic structures such as a Mandir (p593) meditation centre.
the delightful Kamakshi Temple life-sized elephant. Relax in the Round it off with Gallic cuisine
(p586), which sports a dazzling travellers’ hangouts in the village. and palatable local wine.
gold-plated roof. After a delicious
vegetarian lunch at one of the
many small restaurants, move
on to the majestic 8th-century
Kailasanatha Temple (p586),
adorned with fine frescoes. The
town is also a fabulous place to
buy quality silk products.
Day 3: Mamallapuram
Before leaving Kanchipuram, don’t
miss two more Pallava dynasty
sanctuaries, the magnificent
Ekambareshvara Temple (p586),
whose compound contains an
ancient and sacred mango tree,
and the Vaikuntha Perumal
Temple (p586), dedicated to
Vishnu. Spend the afternoon Tiger’s Cave, Mamallapuram

010-017_EW_India.indd 17 26/04/17 11:52 am


Putting Northern Delhi & Environs Civil
India on the Map Lines Chandigarh
Encompassing an area stretching Indus
from the Greater Himalayan Range
in the north to the upper part of the JAMMU & KASHMIR
Deccan Plateau, northern India covers Wular Lake Shayok The New
2,331,318 sq km (900,127 sq miles). It Srinagar Leh Ridge Delhi
is watered by three rivers – the Indus, Jhelum
the Ganges and the Brahmaputra – all Chenab Pang-gong Indira Gandhi Yamuna
of which originate in the Himalayas. Tso Moriri International
The vast, densely populated Indo- Jammu Hauz Khas
Gangetic Plains form its heartland. Kullu Siri
Some 705 million people, who speak Amritsar HIMACHAL Mehrauli Fort
10 major languages, live here. The PRADESH Agra
two largest cities are Delhi, the PUNJAB 0 kilometres Tughluqabad
capital, and Kolkata (formerly Shimla Manasarovar 0 miles
Calcutta), both well connected Chandigarh Mussoorie Lake
internationally by air. Dehra Dun UTTARAKHAND CHINA
T ibet Lhasa
HARYANA Yamuna Nainital
Bikaner DELHI
See inset map
above NEP AL
PRADESH SIKKIM Thimphu Ziro Dibrugarh
Jaisalmer RAJASTHAN Agra Kathmandu Gangtok BHUTAN Itanagar
Jaipur Lucknow Gorakhpur Raxaul Jorhat
Ajmer Bagdogra Tezpur
Jodhpur Chambal Gwalior Kanpur Dimapur
Luni Allahabad Patna Shillong Kohima
Kota Brahmaputra Imphal
Khajuraho Varanasi BIHAR
Udaipur Silchar
Bhuj MADHYA PRADESH Shantiniketan Aizawl
Gandhinagar Dhaka Agartala Kalewa
Kandla Ahmedabad Bhopal
Jamnagar Jabalpur Ranchi BENGAL
Rajkot Vadodara Indore CHHATTIS- Kolkata MYANMAR
Narmada INDIA Haldia See inset map
Surat Raipur
Diu Nagpur Durg
Ellora Aurangabad Bhubaneswar
Central city area Mumbai Ahmadnagar Jagdalpur Port Blair
National highway Pune Nizamabad
Major road
Satara Bidar
International border Warangal
Solapur TELANGANA Visakhapatnam
State border Hyderabad
Disputed border Godavari
KARNA TAKA Krishna ANDHRA The external boundaries of India as shown
Panaji PRADESH on this map are neither correct nor authentic.
For keys to symbols see back flap
018-019_EW_India.indd 18 26/04/17 11:52 am


Delhi & Environs Putting India on the Map
Civil Chandigarh
Wular Lake Shayok The New AFGHANISTAN
Srinagar Leh Ridge Delhi IRAN CHINA
Tso Indira Gandhi Yamuna SAUDI UAE INDIA MYANMAR
International ARABIA
Tso Moriri Airport OMAN LAOS
Kullu Siri Arabian CAMBODIA
Amritsar HIMACHAL Fort See next page
PUNJAB 0 kilometres 3 Tughluqabad MALDIVES
Shimla 0 miles 3 Indian Ocean INDONESIA
Chandigarh Mussoorie Manasarovar
T ibet Lhasa
HARYANA Yamuna Nainital
Bikaner DELHI
See inset map
above NEP AL
PRADESH SIKKIM Thimphu Ziro Dibrugarh
Jaisalmer RAJASTHAN Agra Kathmandu Gangtok BHUTAN Itanagar
Jaipur Lucknow Gorakhpur Raxaul Jorhat
Ajmer Bagdogra Tezpur
Jodhpur Chambal Gwalior Kanpur Dimapur
Luni Allahabad Patna Shillong Kohima
Kota Brahmaputra Imphal
Khajuraho Varanasi BIHAR
Udaipur Silchar
Bhuj MADHYA PRADESH Shantiniketan Aizawl
Gandhinagar Dhaka Agartala Kalewa
Kandla Ahmedabad Bhopal
Jamnagar Jabalpur Ranchi BENGAL
Rajkot Vadodara Indore CHHATTIS- Kolkata MYANMAR
Narmada INDIA Haldia See inset map
Surat Raipur Kolkata & Netaji Subhash
Diu Nagpur Durg Environs Chandra Bose
Ajanta ODISHA Airport
MAHARASHTRA Mahanadi 0 kilometres 2 Jorasanko
Ellora Aurangabad Bhubaneswar 0 miles 2
Mumbai Ahmadnagar Jagdalpur Port Blair Shibpur Central Tangra
0 kilometres 200 Park
Satara Bidar Warangal Circus
Solapur TELANGANA Visakhapatnam 0 miles 200 Alipore
Hyderabad Godavari
KARNA TAKA Krishna ANDHRA The external boundaries of India as shown Kalighat
Panaji PRADESH on this map are neither correct nor authentic.
018-019_EW_India.indd 19 26/04/17 11:52 am

Surat Tapti
Putting Southern India Raipur
on the Map Nagpur

The six states of Southern India lie within the Ajanta MAHARASHTRA
triangular peninsula that forms the lower part Nasik
of the Indian subcontinent. With a population Ellora Aurangabad
of 322 million, speaking six major languages, INDIA
they cover an area of 955,945 sq km (369,092 Godavari
sq miles) – larger than France and Germany Mumbai
combined. The western coast is flanked by the See inset map Ahmadnagar
Arabian Sea, and the eastern coast by the Bay Pune
of Bengal, while the southern tip juts into the Nizamabad
Indian Ocean. The rocky Deccan Plateau forms Karimnagar
southern India’s heartland, bordered on either Satara Bidar Warangal
side by the wooded hills of the Western and
Eastern Ghats. The two largest cities are Solapur
Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and Chennai Gulbarga Hyderabad TELANGANA Go davari Visakhapatnam,
(formerly Madras). Kolkata
Bijapur Khammam
Kolhapur Rajahmundry
Sagar Vijayawada
Key Belgaum Alampur Guntur
Central city area Panaji Tungabhadra Kurnool
National highway Dabolim GOA Hubli PRADESH
Major road Hospet Ba y of
International border Beng al
State border KARNA TAKA
Chitradurga Penneru
Ar a bian Udipi Tirupati
Sea Hassan
Mangaluru Bengaluru Chennai
Chennai Athipattu Vellore See inset map
& Environs Madikeri Kanchipuram below
Kannur TAMIL
New NADU Puducherry
Kozhikode Chidambaram
Chennai Agatti Coimbatore Kaveri
Mangadu Thanjavur
Aringar Lakshadweep Thrissur
Anna Islands KERALA Port Blair
Kottivakkam Madurai
Alappuzha Kottayam Jaffna
0 kilometres 10
0 miles 10 0 kilometres 150
0 miles 150
Kollam Tuticorin
Thiruvananthapuram Tirunelvelli SRI Trincomalee
Tiruchendur LANKA
For keys to symbols see back flap
020-021_EW_India.indd 20 26/04/17 11:52 am

Raipur Mumbai Thane
Nagpur & Environs

Ajanta MAHARASHTRA Andheri
Ellora Sahar
INDIA Bandra
Aurangabad Mumbai
See inset map Ahmadnagar
Pune Mazagaon Nhave
Satara Warangal 0 kilometres 10
Solapur 0 miles 10
Gulbarga Go davari
Hyderabad Visakhapatnam,
Bijapur Khammam
Kolhapur Rajahmundry
Sagar Vijayawada
Belgaum Guntur
Panaji Kurnool
Dabolim GOA Hubli Tungabhadra PRADESH
Hospet Ba y of
Gooty Beng al
Chitradurga Penneru
Ar a bian Udipi Tirupati
Sea Hassan
Mangaluru Bengaluru Chennai
Vellore See inset map
Madikeri Kanchipuram below
Andaman & Nicobar
Kannur TAMIL Kolkata North
NADU Puducherry Middle
Andaman Andaman
Salem Islands
Kozhikode Chidambaram Andaman
Port Blair
Agatti Coimbatore Kaveri
Kavaratti Chennai
Tiruchirapalli Little
Thanjavur Andaman
Lakshadweep Thrissur
Islands KERALA Port Blair
Madurai Car Nicobar
Alappuzha Jaffna
Kottayam Islands Camorta
Rameshvaram Little Nicobar
0 km 200 Great
Kollam Tuticorin Nicobar
Thiruvananthapuram Tirunelvelli SRI Trincomalee 0 miles 200
Tiruchendur LANKA
020-021_EW_India.indd 21 26/04/17 11:52 am


Landscape and Wildlife

India has an extraordinary diversity of landscapes
and vegetation, supporting a rich variety of wildlife.
The country is bounded on the north by the majestic
Himalayas. Along their foothills, sweeping the breadth
of Central India, are the fertile, densely populated
Indo-Gangetic Plains, while the arid Thar Desert covers
much of Western India. South of the Gangetic Plains
is the Deccan Plateau, flanked by the hills of the The Himalayan landscape
Eastern and Western Ghats. India’s 7,517-km features snowcapped peaks,
(4,671-mile) long coastline borders on the Arabian glacial streams and pine-
Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. covered slopes (see pp68–9).

The Arid West The Gangetic Plains
The Thar Desert and the semi-arid scrublands The rich alluvial soil of these vast plains, which
adjoining it support a surprising variety of flora stretch across India from the northwest to the
and fauna. The sand dunes of Rajasthan give east, has been cultivated for thousands of years.
way further west to the barren salt-flats and Today, rice, as well as wheat, sugarcane and
marshes of the Rann of Kutch. pulses are grown here.
Blackbucks are Asian elephants
among the swiftest number only 31,000
animals, covering in comparison to a
up to 80 km quarter of a million
(50 miles) per hour. African elephants,
making this smaller
species the more
endangered one.
Asiatic lions, once
found all over northern
India, are now seen only Painted storks
in the Gir Sanctuary in migrate to lakes and
Gujarat (see p427). swamps during
their breeding
season, between
July and October.

Wild boars are
Crested serpent eagles common in most
are large raptors with a deciduous forests in
distinctive pattern of India. The males have
black and white bands tusks and can be
on their underwings. very aggressive.

022-023_EW_India.indd 22 26/04/17 11:42 am
Eyewitness Travel LAYERS PRINTED:
Feature template “UK” LAYER
(SourceReport v1.3)
Date 18th October 2012
Size 125mm x 217mm


Avocets migrate to the
coasts and marshes
of Gujarat and
in November.

The Coasts
The diverse landscapes of the coasts include Starfish, which cling
tenaciously to rocks,
sandy beaches in Goa and Kerala, fringed by can be seen in tidal
coconut palms, coral reefs in the Andamans, pools all along the
and mangrove forests in West Bengal and Indian coastline.
Odisha. The east coast is often hit by cyclones.

The Deccan Plateau The Ghats
Separated from the Gangetic Plains by the The hills of the Western and Eastern Ghats
scattered ranges of the Vindhyas, the Deccan are covered with forests of teak, rosewood,
Plateau is covered with black volcanic soil and sal (Shorea robusta) and sandalwood (Santalam
ancient crystalline rocks. The plateau’s mineral album), prized for its fragrant wood. Many
wealth includes gold and diamonds. orchid species also grow here.
Tigers, an endan-
gered species and
numbering only
around 2,200 in Nilgiri tahrs
the country, are live in the higher
found across elevations of the
peninsular India. Western Ghats
(see p653).
Bullfrogs display their large
vocal sacs during their
Danainae butterflies
are common in the region. mating season in
the monsoon.
Langurs or Hanuman
langurs (Semno­
pithecus entellus)
live in large
led by an
adult male. Spectacled cobras have
characteristic spectacle-
shaped markings on their
Peacocks, India’s national bird, hoods. Another reptile is
perform a spectacular dance the king cobra, the world’s
when rain clouds appear. largest venomous snake.

022-023_EW_India.indd 23 26/04/17 11:42 am


Sacred Architecture

India’s 2,000-year-old architectural heritage is
intrinsically linked to the country’s major religions.
Indigenous forms include Buddhist stupas and
monasteries and Hindu and Jain temples (see pp400–
401) in diverse styles. Many Indian temples, however,
share common structural characteristics, being mostly
built of stone columns and horizontal blocks, often
richly carved with sacred imagery and decorative
motifs. The true arch and the dome, as well as the use
of mortar, were introduced in the 12th century with Detail on a sculpted column, Narayana
the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate. Temple, Melkote

Buddhist Architecture Entrance
Vaulted Model
India’s earliest religious monuments are stupas, ceiling stupa
hemispherical funerary mounds, and rock-cut
shrines (chaityas) and monasteries (viharas).
While chaityas were places of worship, viharas
were dwelling places for Buddhist monks and
consisted of small residential cells arranged
around four sides of an open court.
Chaityas served as halls (grihas) for
Circumambulatory Torana congregational worship and
path (gateway) enshrined a model stupa at one end.
Railing mound
chaityas have
distinctive barrel-
vaulted ceilings,
Stupas were monumental reliquaries, in which the expressed on the
ashes of Buddhist teachers, including the Buddha, were exterior as a
interred. The Sanchi Stupa (see pp248–9) is faced in stone, horseshoe-
and surrounded by a high railing with gateways (toranas). shaped arch.
Hindu Temples
In North India, the soaring tower above Kalasha
the inner sanctum takes the form of a (pot finial)
Vimana curving shikhara (spire) topped with a
(pyramidal circular ribbed motif, the amalaka. South Amalaka
spire) Indian temples, however, have multi- (circular
staged, pyramidal spires (vimana) crowned ribbed Shikhara
with a hemispherical or barrel-vaulted motif) (curved
roof. Worship in both types takes place temple
in a small dark sanctuary known as the spire)
garbhagriha (womb chamber).
Mandapa (hall or Carvings of
pillared pavilion) Entrance deities

South Indian temples, such as Thanjavur’s
Brihadishvara Temple (see pp602–603), have corridors Khajuraho’s Kandariya
and spacious halls (mandapas), with a profusion of Mahadev Temple’s shikhara
decorated columns. These lead to the garbhagriha, (see pp240–41) is considered
above which rises the multi-staged spire. the finest in North India.

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Islamic Architecture Mosques and
An onion-shaped tombs represent
Chhatri (domed dome surmounts the an imported
rooftop pavilion) central space. tradition that was
Intricate jalis absorbed into
Indian archi-
tecture. Mosques Mihrab, Bidar Mosque
Plinth have domed (see p549)
prayer halls at one end of an open
courtyard. The mihrab (arched niche)
faces west, towards Mecca. The Mughals
introduced the garden tomb, raised on a
high plinth in the centre of a charbagh, an
enclosed garden divided into four quarters.
Decorative elements include Persian and
Arabic calligraphy, geometric patterns
Taj Mahal (see pp176–9), the zenith of Islamic architecture and floral motifs, typical of Islamic art.
Gurdwaras Churches
The Sikh gurdwara, a prayer chamber where Though church
the Granth Sahib, or Holy Book, is housed, is arch itecture in Kerala Tower with thin
often roofed with a dome flanked by arcades. predates the arrival of tapering steeple
Based on the late-Mughal style prevailing in Europeans, most Christian
North India in the 18th century, gurdwaras places of worship, such Pointed
blend Islamic and Hindu architectural styles. as those in Goa (see arched
pp500–501), are built
Gold-plated The prayer in European styles. A windows
dome chamber
houses the common design has a
Holy Book. Neo-Classical portico Entrance
topped with a tapering
steeple. Many Indian
churches are also built in
a Neo-Gothic style, such
as the Afghan Memorial
Church of St John the
Evangelist (see p451). Afghan Memorial
The Golden Temple in Amritsar (see pp110–11) Church, Mumbai

Kalasha (pot finial)
Amalaka Pot finial
Jagamohana Conical Wooden
(assembly hall) Deul (temple spire) roof screen

tiles Brass bells

The Mukteshvara Temple (see p311) Kerala’s temples, such as the one at Ettumanur
typifies Odisha’s temple architecture. (see p642), have a distinctive form. The sanctums
The sanctuary has a curving spire are often circular with roofs of sloping tiers of
(deul) and an adjoining assembly metal sheets or terracotta tiles. Carved woodwork
hall (jagamohana). and murals embellish the structure.

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Secular Architecture Mughal dome

Magnificent secular buildings, such as forts,
palaces and mansions (havelis), were built by Windows are
powerful ruling and aristocratic families. Many inspired by
Rajput palaces.
of these, especially in Rajasthan and Gujarat (see
pp350–51), harmoniously combine monumental
scale with superb decorative elements. The
British imposed their own architectural stamp,
a fusion of East and West. A variety of indigenous
domestic forms that have remained unchanged
through the ages can be seen throughout Laxmi Vilas in Vadodara (see p422), built in the
rural India. late 19th century

Civic Architecture
In the mid-19th century, the British began to incorporate
elements from Indian Islamic architecture into European
Neo-Classical or Gothic-Revivalist styles. Known as Indo-
Saracenic, this style reflected imperial and civic pride.
Indo-Saracenic public buildings include Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus (see pp458–9) and Mumbai University, and the
High Court and Egmore station in Chennai. This culminated
in the building of the new capital at New Delhi (see
pp76–7), where Sir Edwin Lutyens and his associates
Sculpture, Churchgate evolved a grand architectural style that was a more
Station, Mumbai
elegant synthesis of Indian and European traditions.
Typical Gothic window,
Mumbai University
End towers Colonnaded
are surmounted verandahs run A dome
by small yet the full length crowns
bulbous cupolas. of the building. the central The entrance
chamber. porch has a
balcony above.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai (see pp454–5)
The Courtyard
Domestic architecture in India is governed
by public and private spaces. The front portion
of the house was open to visitors and guests,
but just beyond that was the courtyard, the
heart of the house, restricted to the family.
Larger mansions, such as those at Shekhawati
(see p376), Jaisalmer (see p391) and Chettinad
(see p616), had several courtyards surrounded
by elaborate colonnades. The separation of
private and public spaces within the home
grew out of social conventions that secluded
women from the public gaze. Courtyard with wooden pillars and carved doors

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Vernacular Architecture Walls are made Extended
with strips timber acts
Rural houses in India reflect of bamboo. as supports.
the country’s varied climate
and the range of available
materials. In spite of the diversity,
certain overall principles prevail.
A typical dwelling is approached
from the street through a formal
A painted niche Tribal houses in the forested northeast are
doorway, often sheltered by quickly constructed from wood and bamboo.
a verandah, flanked by raised seating. The Rooms are added on as the family grows.
first room is usually used for both living and
sleeping, and is thus larger. Cooking and eating Slate slabs are used to build Wooden pillars in
take place to the rear, on the other side of an strong, protective roofs. the upper verandah.
inner courtyard, near the well, or water supply.
Hindu homes have a small masonry stand
(vrindavan), in the courtyard, where the sacred
tulsi (basil) plant is grown for daily worship.

Mountain homes are built on high ground and are
double-storeyed, with the ground floor serving as a
stable for livestock in winter.

Central Indian villages are tightly packed
with houses that are either one-roomed tiled
structures or larger ones. Some have flat roofs,
where the family sleeps at night in summer.
Mud walls are Thatch roofs, made of
reinforced with straw local elephant grass, are
and cow dung. replaced every year.
Coastal houses have sloping tiled roofs as
protection from sun and rain. The tulsi plant
indicates that this is a Hindu home.
Desert dwellings are built with mud and
consist of a single thatched room, enclosed by
a wall. The circular kothi is used to store grain.
Designs in white lime embellish the outer walls.

Materials for Construction
Traditionally, most
houses were built of
locally available material.
Bamboo and thatch
were employed in house
Circular thatch Woven bamboo Coconut palm- Thatched roof
ceiling construction in Bengal, panel for walls leaf roof made of grass
Odisha and the north-
east, while stone and terracotta tiles were
preferred in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra
and South India. Sadly, such materials are
now rapidly being replaced by steel and
concrete. However, mud is still the most
common material and is either applied Typical half- Terracotta sun- Stone slabs, ideal
directly or mixed with cow dung and straw. cylinder tiles dried bricks for walls

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Hindu Mythology
Dvarapala is
The vast pantheon of Hindu gods, goddesses the armed
and their divine exploits is best explored through guardian, who
stands outside
sculpture. The principles of temple architecture were the entrance of a
defined and established under the imperial Guptas temple or by the
(4th–6th centuries AD). Indian temples are adorned door of the inner
by a profusion of sculptures that are not merely sanctum. These
decorative but also provide a visual interpretation of figures carry
Hindu mythology. The numerous manifestations of weapons to
deities, such as Shiva, Vishnu and Devi (the goddess protect the deity
also known as Parvati, Durga, Kali) are depicted in from intruders.
great detail. Semi-divine beings, such as devotees,
nymphs and musicians complete the picture.
Karttikeya is mounted on his
peacock vehicle (vahana).
Vedic gods, such as Surya the Sun
God, were manifestations of Indra, the Vedic God of
nature and the elements. They the Heavens, sits on
were absorbed into the Airavata, the four-
trunked white
Hindu pantheon of deities elephant representing
almost 2,000 years ago. the rain cloud.
Female attendant
Lakshmi, the
consort of Vishnu
Garuda, the
vehicle (vahana) of
Vishnu, is half man
and half eagle.
Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth,
appears as Gajalakshmi in this panel
from Mamallapuram (see pp582–3). She
is seen with two elephants (gaja), who
bathe her with their upturned trunks.

Vishnu Anantasayana
This 5th-century panel from
Deogarh (see p237) depicts
Vishnu asleep on the serpent
Ananta, whose hood shelters
him. Brahma rises from behind,
on a lotus, while Shiva sits
Mohini, the female form with Parvati on his vahana,
Vishnu’s dwarf incarnation, Vamana of Vishnu, is described as the bull Nandi. Attendants and
(see p683) transforms himself into a an enchantress, the most celestial beings surround the
giant to measure out the universe in alluring maiden imagin- figure. The mace, discus, shield
three steps. This panel from Badami able. Courtesans and and sword, Vishnu’s attributes,
(see pp540–41) shows him with one nymphs are also carved are personified below to ward
leg raised skywards. as bracket figures. off demons.

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Brahma, the Creator, is
part of the holy Trinity
(Trimurti) of gods that
also includes Vishnu and
Shiva. He is depicted
with four heads, of
which only three are
usually visible, and
holds a sceptre, a
spoon, a string of
beads and the Vedas.
He is seen here
with his consort, Shiva, the God of Destruction, is seated with
Saraswati, the Goddess his wife, Parvati, who represents his peaceful
of Learning. and domestic aspect. Shiva holds an elephant
goad and drum (dumroo), while Parvati has a
Shiva and lotus (kamal) in her hand.


the Many-
is also
known as
Durga, the fierce form of gentle Parvati, slaying the
Vishnu, the buffalo-demon, Mahishasura. This panel from Mamalla puram,
Preserver known as Mahishasuramardini, shows Durga riding a lion
with a deadly weapon in each of her eight arms; these
were given to her by the gods to annihilate the demon.

Karttikeya, Shiva’s warrior son, has a peacock
as his vahana. He is also known as
Skanda, Subramanya and Murugan in
South India. The other son of Shiva
is Ganesha (see p471).
Attendants, the
of Vishnu’s
four attributes,
protect the god
from demons.

Devotees are often elevated
to the status of saints and are
honoured for their devotion
to either Shiva or Vishnu. This
11th-century bronze is of a
Dancers, musicians and other performers are usually carved on Shaivite boy-saint holding
the lower plinths of temples cymbals in his hands.

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The Great Epics

The two great Sanskrit epic poems, the Ramayana and
the Mahabharata, have had an abiding impact on Indian
culture and philosophy. Over the centuries, their stories
have inspired a great deal of art, music, dance, theatre
and, more recently, popular TV serials. Containing a
fund of wisdom about human behaviour, emotions and
moral dilemmas, the epics continue to guide the daily
lives of millions of Indians. Though known in their oral
form since at least 500 BC, they were only put into Arjuna shot the eye of a fish
writing around the 4th century AD. reflected in water and won the
hand of Draupadi, who married
all five Pandava brothers.
In a game of dice
with the Kauravas,
the Pandavas lost
their kingdom and
Draupadi. She was
saved from the shame
of being disrobed by
the Kauravas when
her sari kept growing
magically to cover her.
The Mahabharata
This epic recounts the rivalry between the five heroic
Pandava brothers – Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul
and Sahadeva – and 100 members of the Kaurava clan,
headed by Duryodhana, and culminates in a great battle.
Several other fables, legends and discourses are woven
into the main story, making the Mahabharata eight times
longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey put together.
Forced into exile after the game of
dice, the Pandavas wandered all over
India for 13 years. In the final year,
Arjuna lived in disguise as a eunuch,
giving dance lessons.
The Bhagavad Gita is a sermon given to Arjuna
by Lord Krishna, who acted as Arjuna’s charioteer,
on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It is a famous
discourse on ethics and morality and contains
the essence of Hindu religion and philosophy.

In the final battle
the Kauravas created
a cobweb-shaped
defensive formation called
the chakravyuha, inside
which Arjuna’s son was
trapped and killed.
However, on the 18th day
of this fierce battle, the
Pandavas, with Krishna’s
divine guidance, finally
emerged victorious and
regained their kingdom,
which they ruled with
Draupadi as their queen.

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The Ramayana
Rama, the ideal hero, was prevented from becoming
king of Ayodhya by the intrigues of his stepmother, and
sent into exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman.
The demon-king, Ravana, abducted Sita, who was then
rescued by the two brothers with the help of the monkey
god, Hanuman. Rama is worshipped as an incarnation
of Vishnu (see p683).

The wedding of
Rama and Sita
took place after
Rama succeeded in
breaking the great
bow of Shiva, which
other suitors for
her hand could not Exiled to the forest for 14 years,
even manage to Rama, Sita and Lakshman lived
lift off the ground. simply and visited the hermitages
of many holy sages.

ten heads
and 20 arms
his great
and physical

Sita was abducted from her forest hut by Ravana,
the demon-king of Lanka, who came disguised
as a mendicant. The brave vulture Jatayu tried to Hanuman,
save her, but his wings were slashed by Ravana. the Monkey
However, Jatayu was able to tell Rama what God, is a much-
had happened before he died. loved figure
in the pantheon
of Hindu gods, and
worshipped for his
miraculous powers,
his courage and
physical prowess.

Ravana’s palace at Lanka was attacked by Rama and
Lakshman, who, with the help of Hanuman and his army Rama’s triumphant return to
of monkeys, rescued Sita and killed Ravana. Lakshman was Ayodhya is celebrated in the festival
gravely wounded in the battle, but saved by the magical of lights, Diwali (see pp40–41), which
mountain herb, Sanjivini, brought by Hanuman. symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

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Classical Music and Dance
Indian music and dance are simultaneously modes of is a highly
worship and a joyous celebration of life. Based on ancient dramatic
codified texts, they originated as a form of worship in the form from
temples, and gradually acquired a more secular character Andhra
with royal patronage. Different regions of India have Pradesh,
their own classical dance forms, while classical music which often
enacts scenes
is distinguished by two main styles – Hindustani and from the
Carnatic (see p599), the latter specific to South India. great epics.
The tiara is
shaped like a
temple spire.
and spiritual at
the same time,
Odissi has sinuous
Frieze of a dancer from an 11th-century movements and
highly sculptural
South Indian temple poses.
Fan pleats
Complex footwork and
rhythms, and multiple decorate the
pirouettes characterize front of the sari.
this dance form.
Classical Dance
A range of hand gestures,
facial expres sions and
body postures, codified
in the Natya Shastra, A swirling
a treatise compiled from skirt is
the 5th century BC to worn
the 5th century AD, over tight Ghungroos (bells)
help to mark the
constitute the “language” rhythmic beat.
of Indian classical dance
forms. Their themes are
mostly based on religious
myth ology, and Kathak was a favourite Odissi developed in the temples of
percussion and music dance at the royal courts Odisha as an offering to the deities.
play an important role. of northern India.
Hindustani Music Pt Ravi Shankar (1920–
2012), one of India’s foremost
The origins of Hindustani classical music sitar players, introduced Indian
date to about 3000 BC. The raga (melodic classical music to the West.
line) and the tala (rhythmic cycle) are its
foundation, and there is no formal written
score. This gives artistes great latitude to
improvise within the melodic framework
of a raga. There are more than a 100 ragas,
each assigned to a particular time of day
or season, according to the mood or images Amjad Ali Khan
its melody evokes. Royal patrons founded plays the sarod,
different gharanas, or schools of music, an instrument
which have preserved their individuality developed
by passing knowledge down orally from from the rubab,
guru (teacher) to shishya (disciple). a medieval Central
Asian lute.

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Navarasa or nine rasas
(moods) are mentioned in
the treatise Natya Shastra.
From the erotic, comic and
pathetic to the odious,
marvellous and quiescent,
the rasas cover every mood
and expression, whether in
music, dance or painting.
This 17th-century miniature
painting depicts the serene
mood of the morning,
Raga Todi. Kerala’s Kathakali dance featuring
spectacular masks (see p661)
Fresh flowers jewellery
adorn the hair. Diaphanous
Red colour on the
hands and feet draws
attention to intricate

skirts and
gentle swaying
are typical of
Manipuri dance.
Chiselled movements
Beautiful and symmetrical
silk sari stances are typical
of this dance form.
Bharat Natyam, from Tamil Nadu, has eloquent Manipuri, from the northeast, enacts the
eye and hand movements (mudras). legend of Radha and Krishna (see p183).

Bismillah Khan (1913–2006) played
the shehnai, a ceremonial reed pipe,
which the late maestro popularized
into a concert instrument.

Zakir Hussain
plays the tabla, a
pair of drums
that provide Kishori Amonkar (1932–2017) was a
percussion at leading singer of Hindustani classical music.
most music A concert usually begins with an evocation
and dance of the raga, followed by an elaboration of
performances. the melodic line and a fast-paced climax.

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Traditional Indian Attire

One of the most remarkable features of Indian apparel is the
ingenious way in which a simple length of unstitched cloth
is used. Gracefully draped as a sari, or wrapped around the
head as a turban, the length of fabric is versatile, and is worn
by both men and women. Stitched garments include the
kurta, pyjama, sherwani, the voluminous skirt (ghaghara or
lehenga), and of course, the trouser, shirt and ubiquitous blue
jeans. Today, despite the growing influence of contemporary
Western fashion trends, most Indians continue to dress
traditionally. The sari, particularly, is still worn all over India, The Veil (odhni or dupatta)
even though the style of draping differs from region to region. is an essential part of dress
in conservative societies.
The sari, usually 5.5 m Sari
(6 yd) long, is tied blouse
around the waist, Sari
with the pleats
tucked into
an underskirt. Choli (tight-fitting
The pallav blouse)
(end-piece) is
either drawn The bride’s lehenga
over the left is red silk, heavily
shoulder or encrusted with
draped over gold embroidery.
the head.

Salwar-kameez, consisting of
a baggy pyjama (salwar),
a loose tunic (kameez)
and dupatta, are worn by The Indian Wedding
women in Punjab. This outfit is Odhni
now worn all over India. Festivals and weddings (veil)
are glittering events that
showcase the range and
variety of clothes worn
by both men and women
in India. Such occasions
are what keep
traditional customs
and attire alive today.

In Kerala, women wear a
Maharashtrian women two-piece sari (mundu-
wear 8-m (9-yd) saris in a veshti), of which the mundu
style very similar to a dhoti. forms the lower garment,
The extra fabric is pleated while the veshti is tucked
in front, drawn bet ween into the waist to form the
the legs and tucked in at pallav. Men just wear
the back, to allow freedom the lower garment, with
of movement. an angavastram.

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For Indian men, the most important accessory is the turban (pagri or
safa), an unstitched length of cloth that is deftly tied
around the head. More than just a fashion statement,
the turban’s style and colour also indicate the wearer’s
social, religious, caste and regional status. Rajasthani
turbans are intrinsic to the cultural ethos of the land,
whereas in Punjab, the Sikh turban is characteristic of
their identity as a martial community (see p107). From
the mid-19th century onwards, topis (caps) became
popular, especially among courtiers in the Muslim
Topi, worn by a young courts. Even today men wear plain or ornamental A turbaned patriarch from
Muslim boy caps in mosques or during festivals. Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Safa (turban) Kurta The dhoti-kurta is the traditional
male attire and comprises a dhoti
(loincloth) or lungi, either tied
around the waist or tucked
between the legs. The upper
garment is the stitched, long-
sleeved kurta.

Sherwani, a long coat
with a high collar, is worn
above the churidar
pyjama, so-called
because of the
like folds
near the

Angavastram is
the unstitched
mantle draped
over the
The bridegroom
wears a formal
of rich silk fabric,
often with
gold motifs.

Ghaghara, the ankle-length, gathered In Manipur, women wear
skirt worn in Rajasthan and Gujarat, is the sarong-like phanek,
tied with a drawstring. A choli (tight- while men wear a garment
fitting blouse) is worn on top, while the known as the khudei. Each
odhni has one end tucked into the tribe, however, is identified
waistband and the other taken over by its distinctive colours
the right shoulder to cover the head. and stripes. This couple
is from the Paite tribe.

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The Hindi Film Industry

Hindi films from Bollywood (deriving its name
from Bombay) are a fascinating mix of romance,
violence, comedy, and tragedy, interspersed
with song-and-dance sequences, and with a
clear social or moral message. Ever since the
inception of the industry in 1899, its
output has swung from mythological
epics to action thrillers to family dramas.
But the basic masala (spicy mix) formula,
which appeals to a large and diverse
audience, remains unchanged.

Heroes While Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh
Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have
stayed at the top of their game for around
25 years, the talented younger generation
of actors includes the likes of Ranbir
Kapoor (right) and Ranveer Singh (centre),
touted as the next big superstars.

Romance trickles down into almost every plot. The hero
wooing the heroine always forms a very popular sequence.
A favourite with the masses, Salman Khan (above) is famous
for delivering blockbusters on the sheer strength of his stardom.
Seen here with him is Sonam Kapoor, Bollywood’s fashion icon,
best-known for her gripping role in Neerja.

The Business
of Bollywood
It costs anywhere between
US$1.75 million and $30 million
to produce a Bollywood film.
The budget is spent on
sequences range from massive fees for the stars,
duets between the exotic locations, special effects
hero and heroine to and huge promotional
spectacular set pieces campaigns. Of the more
with lots of male and than 100 films produced every
female dancers. These year, some are dubbed into
are released before the regional Indian languages,
film as music videos for or subtitled in English for
TV, and often become international audiences.
hits, even if the film
does not do well at
the box office.

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Anti-Heroes Otherwise known as the
King of Romance, Shah Rukh Khan gives
a stellar performance in Fan (above), as
the anti-hero, diminishing the divide
between hero and villain, as is the trend.

Priyanka Chopra, known
for choosing performance-
oriented characters, can
single-handedly carry an
entire film on her shoulders.
She forayed into Hollywood
with the television series,
Quantico, and the movie
installment of Baywatch.
Heroines While her
seniors continue to rule
the box-office, Alia
Bhatt (right), at a young
age, has garnered both
critical and commercial
success. A natural actor,
she has carved a niche
for herself with movies
such as Highway, Udta
Punjab and Kapoor
and Sons.
Deepika Padukone, with a slew of
successful films to her credit, is one
of the highest-earning actresses in the
country. She also stars in the third part
of the Hollywood movie franchise, xXx.

New Wave Cinema
In the 1950s and 1960s parallel or “art” cinema was dominated
by Satyajit Ray (see p264), whose thought-provoking films
portrayed life in Indian villages and small towns. By focusing
on realism and social
issues rather than
fantasy and entertain-
ment, he paved the
way for films that Youth, the prime focus of Bollywood
leave an impact on films, saw a paradigm shift with the
society. However, iconic Rang De Basanti, that made a case
the lines between for a better society with the participation
mainstream and non- of the younger generation. Bollywood’s
The star cast of the highly acclaimed commercial cinema perfectionist, Aamir Khan (above), is
Masaan, in a still from the movie have blurred over the years. known for blending content and
entertainment in his movies.

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Indians love celebrations, and the year is anniversaries and events of national
filled with innumerable fairs and festivals. importance such as the Republic Day
Almost every day marks a religious or (see p79). Hindu festivals usually follow
social event celebrated by the diverse the lunar calendar, and both the full moon
religious or local communities, where (purnima) and the new moon (pradosh)
ritual fasting and feasting go hand in are considered auspicious. Muslim festivals,
hand. Some festivals are linked to the too, are determined by the new moon.
pantheon of gods and goddesses, others This means that the dates of most religious
follow the changing seasons and mark festivals vary from year to year. See also the
pastoral occasions. Some commemorate special festival columns in each chapter.

The aim of this extravaganza
is to preserve the country’s
cultural heritage and promote
the performing arts. It is today
a forum for talented youth
to interact and perform with
eminent music maestros.
Delhi Dhrupad Samaroh
(Mar), Delhi. Leading
exponents of Dhrupad, a
classical musical tradition,
present a series of recitals.
Holi (Mar). One of the most
important Hindu festivals,
Holi is celebrated in the
Holi celebrations at Krishna temple in Nandgao morning after a full-moon night
and marks the end of winter.
Nishagandhi Dance Festival On the eve of Holi, bonfires
Spring (Feb–Mar) (Feb), Thiruvananthapuram. are lit, and an effigy of the
From mid-February to the Artistes of almost all classical demon Holika is burnt to
end of March, spring (Basant) dance forms perform annually signify the triumph of good
is India’s most glorious season at the open-air Nishagandhi over evil. The next day, people
with flowers in full bloom Auditorium. swarm the streets, sprinkling
and pleasant, not-too-hot Milad-ul-Nabi (Feb). Prophet coloured water and powder
temperatures. It is also the main Mohammed’s birthday is (gulal) on each other. This
season for weddings, parades, observed with prayers and exuberant festival is especially
cricket matches, horse racing, readings from the holy Koran. dear to Lord Krishna, and
flower shows and other events. Shivratri (Feb/Mar). Devotees around Mathura, his birthplace
Vasantahabba (Feb), of Shiva observe the night of (see p182), it is celebrated with
Nrityagram. One of Bengaluru’s his celestial wedding to Parvati. great abandon.
most awaited dance festivals. Shankarlal Sangeet Jahan-e-Khusrau (Mar),
Acclaimed artistes from all Sammelan (Feb/Mar), Delhi. Delhi. Held at Humayun’s
over India perform from This is the capital’s oldest Tomb (see p87), this festival
dusk till dawn. Hindustani classical vocal and commemorates the death
Kala Ghoda Festival (Feb), instrumental music festival. of the Sufi poet Amir Khusrau
Mumbai. A two-week
extravaganza of the visual
and performing arts is held in
Mumbai’s main cultural district
of Kala Ghoda. The National
Gallery of Modern Art and the
Jehangir Art Gallery, as well
as the area’s sidewalks, become
venues for sitar and tabla
performances, dance recitals
and exhibitions of paintings,
prints, photographs and
installation art. Kathak dancer Jayantimala performs at a dance festival

038-039_EW_India.indd 38 26/04/17 11:52 am


National Holidays
Republic Day (26 Jan)
Independence Day (15 Aug)
Gandhi Jayanti (2 Oct)
Public Holidays
Milad-ul-Nabi (Feb)
Shivratri (Feb/Mar)
Holi (Mar)
Good Friday (Mar/Apr)
Ramnavami (Mar/Apr)
Mahavir Jayanti
Namaaz (prayers) being offered during Id-ul-Zuha Baisakhi (13 April)
Buddha Jayanti (May)
and attracts composers and founder of Jainism, Mahavira
performers of Sufi music from (see p400). This is celebrated on Janmashtami (Aug/Sep)
all over the world. a large scale in Rajasthan and Dussehra (Sep/Oct)
Nauchandi Mela (Mar, 2nd Gujarat. Devotees offer prayers Id-ul-Zuha (Oct)
Sun after Holi), Meerut. Held to the 24 tirthankaras (saints). Diwali (Oct/Nov)
around the shrine of a Muslim
saint and a temple, this fair Guru Purab (Nov)
has come to symbolize Hindu- Summer (Apr–Jun) Christmas (25 Dec)
Muslim unity. Its origins date From early April until June, the
to the late 17th century, when northern plains, and much of
local leaders decided to merge the south, have a hot and dry including almost 500
festivities held concurrently summer. By May and June, the varieties of orchids.
at both shrines. Today, this is heat in the north builds up to a Himachal Hang Gliding
more a fun-filled carnival than scorching 40° C (104° F) and Rally (May), Kangra.
a religious event. above – a signal for An international
Jamshed-e-Navroz (Mar). those who can afford competition that
Celebrated by the Parsi it to move up to the draws professionals
community as their New Year’s hill stations in the from all around
Day, the festival is named after Himalayas. Meanwhile, the world.
the Persian king Jamshed, temperatures in the Buddha Jayanti
who is believed to have first Deccan Plateau and Symbol of the National (May). The Buddha
introduced the solar calendar. the south rise to about School of Drama was born, attained
Parsis celebrate this day with 38° C (100° F). Most enlightenment and
family gatherings and feasts. festivities come to a halt. died on the full moon of the
They also visit fire-temples and Baisakhi (13 Apr). This festival fourth lunar month. Buddhists
make offerings of sandalwood. heralds the harvest season gather in viharas (refuges)
Ramnavami (Mar/Apr). Nine in the north. for prayers.
days of fasting (navaratris) International Flower Festival NSD Repertory Festival
precede the birth of the (Apr/May), Gangtok. A show (May/Jun), Delhi. This all-India
hero-god Rama (see p31) on of rare and exotic flowering theatre festival is organized by
Ramnavami (the ninth day). plants found in Sikkim, the National School of Drama.
During this period, many
Hindu households maintain
a strict vegetarian diet and
prepare special food cooked
in ghee (clarified butter)
without garlic or onions.
Four Square White-Water
Rafting Challenge (Mar/Apr),
Rishikesh. The premier white-
water rafting event in India,
this is also one of the richest
compe titions in the world
with a cash prize of US$25,000.
Mahavir Jayanti (Mar/Apr).
Jains celebrate the birth of the Procession of Buddhist lamas on Buddha Jayanti

038-039_EW_India.indd 39 26/04/17 11:52 am


crops such as mustard and
wheat. The chill is at its worst in
the northern plains and hills
between mid-December and
mid-January, and though
temperatures often fall below
3° C (37° F), the days are sunny.
The southern region does not
experience very low winter
temperatures, the minimum
being around 19° C (66° F).
Dussehra (Sep/Oct). For nine
days, episodes from the
Ramayana (see p31) depicting
Rama’s adventures against
Women teams participating in the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Kerala Ravana are enacted. The tenth
day, Vijaya Dashami, celebrates
Lalbagh Flower Show (Aug), Rama’s defeat of Ravana, and
Monsoon (Jul–Sep) Bengaluru. This pretty flower huge effigies of the demon-
The monsoon season is show is held in the Glass House king, his brother and son are
celebrated for the magical of the Lalbagh Gardens. burnt. In Delhi, the Shriram
transformation of the earth. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race Bharatiya Kala Kendra’s month-
south, especially the coastal areas, (Aug), Kerala. Lavishly decorated long dance-drama encap-
and the northeast experience snake boats (see p637) take sulates the epic. Bengalis
very heavy rains. Rainfall is fairly part in a thrilling race celebrate Durga Puja (see
good in the northern plains. at Alappuzha. p285) at this time.
International Mango Festival Janmashtami (Aug/ Gandhi Jayanti
(Jul), Delhi. Over 1,000 varieties Sep). The day is given (2 Oct). Mahatma
of mangoes grown in North to fasting, and Gandhi’s birthday is
India are exhibited and sold festivities reach their widely celebrated
at the Talkatora Stadium. peak at midnight, which as a national holiday.
Kanwar Mela (Jul/Aug), Haridwar. is when Lord Krishna Id-ul-Zuha (Oct).
Thousands of Kanwarias (Shiva was born. The One of the several The Muslim feast
devotees) journey to the Ganges merrymaking in varieties of rakhi of sacrifice, popularly
barefoot and saffron-clad, to carry Mathura (see p182) and known as Bakr Id,
gaily decorated kanwars (vessels Brindavan (see p183) is commemorates Abraham’s
hung on bamboo poles) filled especially grand. willingness to sacrifice his own
with water from the sacred river son, Ismail. Since then, a goat is
back to their local Shiva temple. sacrificed to Allah on this day,
Independence Day (15 Aug). Winter (Oct–Feb) prayers are offered in mosques
A national holiday commemora- This is the best season in India. and special delicacies are served.
ting India’s freedom from British The monsoon is over, and the Pushkar Fair (Oct/Nov),
rule in 1947. The Prime Minister days now begin to grow cooler. Pushkar. Asia’s largest camel,
addresses the nation from the It is also the most auspicious horse and cattle fair takes
ramparts of the historic Red period in the Indian calendar and place in this pilgrim town.
Fort in Delhi. ushers in a number of festivals. Diwali (Nov). Oil lamps
Raksha Bandhan (Aug). Winter also marks the sowing of illuminate homes to
Women tie sacred woven
threads (rakhis) around their
brothers’ wrists as a token of
love, and receive in exchange
gifts and a promise of
everlasting protection.
Id-ul-Fitr (Jul/Aug). This festival
is celebrated when the sighting
of the new moon signals the
end of Ramadan, the 40-day long
period of fasting for Muslims
that marks the revelation of the
Koran to the Prophet by Allah.
It is also called Mithi (sweet)
Id, as sewian, a delicacy made
with sweetened vermicelli, is
prepared on the occasion. Huge effigies of Ravana, his brother and his son during Dussehra, Delhi

040-041_EW_India.indd 40 26/04/17 11:42 am


commemorate Rama’s return
to Ayodhya after 14 years of
exile. Firecrackers are lit, and
sweets are exchanged. Every
locality holds Diwali melas (fairs).
Guru Purab (Nov). On the
first full moon night after
Diwali, Sikhs celebrate the
birthday of Guru Nanak,
the founder of Sikhism.
Prithvi International Theatre
Festival (Nov), Mumbai. Prithvi Immaculate vintage cars contend with city traffic at the Kolkata rally
Theatre is one of Mumbai’s best-
known theatres. This week-long sun from the Equator to in period costumes. A similar
festival brings to the city the Tropic of Capricorn. This rally is held in Delhi in March.
international theatre groups, day coincides with the Tamil Mamallapuram Dance
who perform a variety of festival of Pongal (see p593). Festival (Jan/Feb),
contem porary plays, along Republic Day (26 Jan). Pomp Mamallapuram. Leading Indian
with a handful of Indian and pageantry mark India’s classical dancers perform
theatre groups. birth as an independent Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi,
International Trade Fair republic. In Delhi, a colourful Kathakali and Odissi against
(14–21 Nov), Delhi. In this major military parade is held a backdrop of the famous
event for Indian industry, at Rajpath. Pallava rock-cut sculptures.
goods manufactured in India Beating of the Retreat Thyagaraja Aradhana
and abroad are exhibited (29 Jan), Delhi. This ceremony Festival (Jan/Feb), Thiruvaiyaru.
at Pragati Maidan. Cultural recalls the end of the day’s An eight-day music festival is
events are also held in battle, when armies retreated held in honour of the saint
the fair grounds. to their camps. A composer Thyagaraja, attracting
International Film grand display eminent musicians from all
Festival of India of regimental over the country.
(Nov/Dec), Goa. bands play Basant Panchami (Jan/Feb).
India’s premier film music and march against Considered to be the first day
event, showcasing the spectacular backdrop of spring, Basant is celebrated
state-of-the-art films of the North and South all over North India. People
by Indian as well as Decorative blocks. As the sun sets, dress in shades of yellow,
international directors. paper kite a bugle sounds the echoing the yellow mustard
International Film retreat, fireworks are lit, blossoms that are in bloom.
Festival of Kerala (Dec), Kerala. and the buildings are framed In Eastern India, the same day
This event invites films from with fairylights. is celebrated as Saraswati puja,
around the world, in cate gories Vintage and Classic Car honouring the Goddess of
such as world cinema, short Rally (Jan), Kolkata. The Learning and Wisdom.
films, documentary and Statesman group of news- Desert Festival (Jan/Feb),
Malayalam cinema. papers organizes this event Jaisalmer. A cultural festival,
Madras Music Festival when vintage cars, or the held on the sand dunes over
(Dec/Jan), Chennai. The city “grand old ladies”, are flagged three days, with camel races,
celebrates its rich heritage off on a short race. Their camel polo, folk dances and
of Carnatic music and dance, owners often dress up music performances.
with recitals by numerous
well-known artistes.
Island Tourism Festival
(Dec/Jan), Port Blair. A ten-
day festival of dance, theatre
and music reflects the multi-
cultural population of the
Andaman Islands. There are
also exhibitions of local
crafts, flora and marine life.
Lohri (13 Jan), Punjab.
Bonfires and merriment mark
what is believed to be the
coldest day in winter.
Makar Sankranti (14 Jan),
Jaipur. Kites are flown to
celebrate the return of the Bagpipers of an army regiment at the Beating of the Retreat ceremony

040-041_EW_India.indd 41 26/04/17 11:42 am


The Climate of India

Summer, monsoon and winter, with a brief but glorious spring
and autumn, span the seasons in India. The climate changes
with latitude and geographical location. In the north,
temperatures soar in the vast Gangetic Plains, though the
Himalayan belt remains pleasantly cool in summer. In winter,
the high mountain passes remain snowbound. The central
Deccan and deep south, however, have a tropical monsoon
climate, with high temperatures and virtually no winter. India’s
coastal belts, on the other hand, remain humid and warm, with Giant cacti growing in the arid
torrential rain. The semi-arid regions of Rajasthan and Kutch, as Thar Desert, Jaisalmer
well as the rain shadow areas east of the Western Ghats, are

among the country’s worst drought hit Srinagar
areas, while the coasts and the JAIPUR This arid
region receives
northeast states, face the full onslaught little rainfall.
of the monsoon, and are devastated by 37/99
cyclones and floods each year. °C/ºF 34/93 33/91 India’s highest
21/70 22/72 recorded in the Thar
18/64 Desert in Rajasthan,
8/46 rise above 48° C
Key (118° F).
9.3 4.4 9.6 8.6 • Delhi
Tropical rainy region: consistently
high temperatures and heavy hrs hrs hrs hrs
summer rainfall. 4.2 193 19.3 14 • Jaisalmer
Humid subtropical region: mm mm mm mm Jaipur •
hot summer followed by month Apr Jul Oct Jan
heavy rainfall. Dry winter.
Tropical savannah region: long, •
dry season with high summer
temperatures. Mild winter.
Tropical and subtropical steppe
region: semi-arid. Low and erratic • Bhopal Tropic of Cancer
rainfall leading to drought. °C/ºF 32/90 30/86 32/90 29/84 Kolkata •
Tropical desert region: high 25/77 25/77 25/77
summer and very low winter
temperatures. Scanty rainfall. 19/66
Mountain region: cold and dry
climate. Short summer.
9.6 2 8.3 9.1 Mumbai •
Mountain region: cold, humid hrs hrs hrs hrs Bay of
winter. Short summer. Bengal
2.8 710 88 2
mm mm mm mm Hyderabad
Arabian •
month Apr Jul Oct Jan
The Monsoon
The word monsoon, from the Arabic mawsim (season),
refers to South Asia’s seasonal moisture-laden winds.
In India, the Southwest Monsoon hits Kerala at the end • Chennai
of May. Simultaneously, one branch sweeps across the
Bay of Bengal towards the Eastern Himalayas and the
northeast, while the other, deflected westwards by
the vast Himalayan barrier, moves towards the Gangetic
Plains and gradually spreads across the mainland. Lakshadweep
At the end of September, the monsoon reverses Islands Andaman &
Torrential showers typify direction and, as the Northeast Monsoon, brings heavy Nicobar Islands
Kerala’s monsoon rain to southern Andhra Pradesh and the eastern coast
of Tamil Nadu in October and November. Nothing in Thiruvananthapuram •
India is awaited more eagerly than these annual rains; and songs and poems celebrate
the months of Sawan and Bhadon (July and August), as a time of renewal and hope.
042-043_EW_India.indd 42 26/04/17 11:52 am


°C/ºF 36/97 35/95 °C/ºF 36/97 32/90 32/90
33/91 temperature
27/81 25/77 26/79 27/81
21/70 21/70 24/75 Average
The lowest 19/66 14/57 monthly
temperatures 7/45
are recorded in minimum
the Himalayan 8.8 5.7 9.1 7.7 8.8 3.9 6.5 8.1 temperature
belt, averaging
below 7° C (45° F). hrs hrs hrs hrs hrs hrs hrs hrs Average
6.8 211 31.2 24.9 42.7 301 160 13.8 daily hours
mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm of sunshine
month Apr Jul Oct Jan month Apr Jul Oct Jan
• rainfall
Cherrapunji and Mawsynram,
in Meghalaya, are the two wettest
places on earth, recording an
average of 1,186 cm (467 inches)
of rainfall per year, and up to 104 cm
(41 inches) on a single day.
• Delhi
Bhojpatra (silver birch) trees in the alpine
meadows, Kashmir Valley
• Jaisalmer
Jaipur •

• Tropic of Cancer

INDIA 38/100
Mumbai • 30/86 31/88 26/79
Bay of 23/73
Bengal 21/70 18/64
Arabian •
Sea 9.8 3.6 9.2 9.5
The eastern coast receives hrs hrs hrs hrs
winter rainfall from the 3.3 428 36.9 16.8
retreating Southwest Monsoon.
mm mm mm mm
month Apr Jul Oct Jan
• Chennai
°C/ºF 35/95 35/95
26/79 26/79
Lakshadweep Andaman &
Islands Nicobar Islands
9.5 5.4 6.4 8.6
hrs hrs hrs hrs
0 kilometres 250
• 24.7 83.5 267 23.8
Thiruvananthapuram 250
mm mm mm mm 0 miles
month Apr Jul Oct Jan
042-043_EW_India.indd 43 26/04/17 11:52 am

044-045_EW_India.indd 44 26/04/17 11:42 am
Eyewitness Travel LAYERS PRINTED:
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(Source v1.2)
Date 20th August 2012
Size 125mm x 217mm




The name India comes from “Indoi”, a Greek word for the people who
lived beyond the Indus river. The roots of Indian civilization lie in the
country’s precise and awe-inspiring natural boundaries, formed by
the Himalayas in the north, and seas to the east, south and west.
These have fostered a remarkable physical and cultural unity, despite
the size and diversity of the area they enclose.
Indus Valley Civilization Sanskrit text of that period, they had
Prehistoric sites in India date back to a mixed pastoral and agrarian economy.
at least 250,000 BC, with agricultural Three later Vedas, written between
settlements appearing around 7000 BC. 1000–600 BC, and associated Sanskrit
By 2500 BC, a sophisticated urban texts, record the extension of their
civilization emerged, stretching across settlements across the Gangetic Valley.
the Indus Valley and northwest India, This was also the time of the Mahabharata
all the way down to Gujarat. Its main epic (see p30), which describes a great
cities were marked by solid brick war between two clans.
structures, roads in a grid pattern, and While the Rig Vedic religion worshipped
elaborate drainage systems. Stone seals nature gods, the deities of the later Vedic
with an as-yet-undeciphered script, and period were more complex. Later Vedic
standardized weights and measures literature included a remarkable set of
were among the artifacts found in Sanskrit treatises called the Upanishads,
this culture (also known as Harappan which advocated a philosophical quest
Civilization), which had a thriving trade for truth, through enquiry. By this period,
with Mesopotamia. Remains of two of a social structure based on the caste
these cities can be seen at Lothal and system had developed. It was earlier
Dholavira in Gujarat. By 1800 BC, these occupational, but was now becoming
cities declined, perhaps because of hereditary and increasingly rigid. At
tectonic or ecological changes. the apex were the Brahmins or priests,
followed by the kshatriyas (rulers and
The Vedic Age warriors). Below them were vaishyas
Around 1500 BC, a people commonly (farmers and traders), and shudras (servants
known as the Aryans, who were probably and labourers). Sacrifices and rituals to
migrants from Central Asia, settled in the appease the gods were prescribed by
Indus region. Described in the Rig Veda, a the Vedas, and became a part of daily life.

Early Stone Megalithic
Age relics 1500 BC Aryans 1000–600 BC Later stone
migrate to
6000–1000 BC Neolithic Vedic Age. Painted dolmens,
or New Stone Age northwest India Grey Ware and South India
iron used
7000 BC 6000 1000 900 600
2500–1800 BC Harappan 1200 BC 950 BC Mahabharata war
culture flourishes in the Iron supposed to have been fought
8000–4000 BC Indus Valley discovered
Mesolithic or 1000 BC–AD 100
Intermediate Indus Valley 1800–800 BC Farming 1500–1000 BC Period of Megalithic grave sites
Stone Age seal communities emerge the Rig Veda in southern India
Miniature painting of the 1526 Battle of Panipat, which established the Mughal dynasty in India

044-045_EW_India.indd 45 26/04/17 11:42 am


The Age of Mahavira and Buddha
The 6th century BC saw the rise of several
urban centres in the north, accompanied
by widespread trade. Urbanization led to
changes in social stratification, and encour­
aged the emergence of new religious sects,
which challenged Brahmin dominance. Chief
among these were Buddhism and Jainism,
founded respectively by Gautama
Siddhartha (566–486 BC), who became the
Buddha, and Vardhamana Mahavira (540–
467 BC). These religions gained popularity, as
they subscribed to neither caste nor ritual
sacrifice, and were open to everyone,
including women. The Buddha’s simple yet
profound teachings (see p225) had
particularly wide appeal. Mahavira believed
in an ascetic life accompanied by truth and Detail on an Ajanta painting showing Lord Buddha with
non­acquisitiveness (see p400). Both religions a monk
rejected the notion of a creator god,
discussed the laws of the universe, and Ashoka gave up violence and became a great
advocated ahimsa – not harming any living patron of Buddhism. He recorded his ethical
being. Merchants, traders and others who code on rocks and pillars all over his vast
adopted these religions gained an empire, enjoining his subjects to
improved social status. respect others’ religions, give to
charity and avoid the killing of
The Mauryan Empire animals. These edicts were written
The first empire in India was founded in the Brahmi script, from which
in 322 BC, when Chandragupta Maurya, most Indian scripts evolved. Ashoka
an unknown adventurer, defeated also built many stupas enshrining
the ruling Nanda dynasty of Magadha Buddhist relics, including the one
(in Bihar) and established an empire at Sanchi (see pp248–9).
extending down to the Narmada Lion capital of
river in the Deccan. Chandragupta’s Ashokan pillar Central Asian Invaders
grandson, Ashoka (269–232 BC) After Ashoka, the Mauryan Empire
became one of India’s greatest rulers, declined. Local kingdoms arose across North
extending the Mauryan Empire to reach India, while from the northwest a series of
from Afghanistan to Karnataka. But after invaders from Central Asia established
his bloody conquest of Kalinga (see p313), successive dynasties. These included the

269–232 BC
327–325 Alexander the 321 BC Accession
566–486 BC Great invades northwest of Chandragupta Ashoka’s reign
Age of Buddha India but soon retreats Maurya, founder of
Mauryan dynasty 189–75 BC Rule of
Shunga dynasty
500 BC 400 BC 300 BC 200 BC 100 BC
540–467 BC 315 BC 260 BC 165 BC Menander,
Age of Megasthenes, Ashoka’s Indo­Greek king, rules
Mahavira Jain votive the Greek conquest of in northwest India
plaque from writer, Kalinga (now 100 BC–AD 220 Rule of
Mathura visits India Odisha) Satavahanas in Deccan

046-047_EW_India.indd 46 26/04/17 11:42 am
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Date 20th August 2012
Size 125mm x 217mm


Indo-Greeks from Bactria (200–80 BC), the Mauryas. They included the Satavahanas (100
Scythians or Shakas with many branches BC–AD 220), and the Ikshvakus (AD 225–310)
(from 80 BC), the Parthians (1st century AD), in the eastern Deccan, under whom Buddhist
and the Kushanas (AD 50–300). The stupas were constructed at Amravati (see
territory of Kanishka, the greatest Kushana p679) and Nagarjunakonda (see p680).
king, covered the northwest, Kashmir Another Deccan dynasty were the Vakatakas
and most of the Gangetic Valley. He too (AD 250–550), during whose reign many of
was a patron of Buddhism. Mahayana the superb sculptures and paintings at Ajanta
Buddhism developed at this time, reflected (see pp483–5) were made. In the western
in two great schools of art, with Deccan, the Chalukyas came to power
Buddha sculptures in the Graeco- and built great temples at Badami (see
Roman Gandhara style in the pp540–41), Pattadakal (see pp542–3)
northwest, and in a more and Aihole (see pp544–5). Their most
indigenous style at Mathura. powerful ruler, Pulakeshin II (AD 608–
As the Kushanas declined, 642), defeated Harsha, and stopped
the Gupta dynasty emerged in his southward advance.
northern India to establish another In the far south, the three
great empire (AD 320–500). The kingdoms of the Cheras (now Kerala),
Gupta period saw a great cultural Buddha head, Cholas and Pandyas ruled between
flowering, with fine sculptures, Gupta period 400 BC and AD 400. The people
classical Sanskrit poetry and of this region were of non-Aryan
drama, and learned treatises on origin and were known as Dravids. Another
mathematics and astronomy produced at major dynasty in the south were the
this time. In religion, the two Hindu sects of early Pallavas, who ruled from AD 275–550,
Vaishnavism and Shaivism (followers of with their capital at Kanchipuram. During
Vishnu and Shiva) became prominent, and these centuries, cities, craft guilds, and
the Buddhist university of Nalanda was inland and foreign trade flourished across
established (see pp222–3). But inroads by India. The South Indian kingdoms grew rich
the Huns, marauding tribes from Central on trade with Rome
Asia, contributed to the decline of the till AD 300,
Guptas after AD 450. export ing
The next major empire was established luxury goods
by Harsha (AD 606–647) at Kanauj. His long such as spices,
and enlightened rule is described by the fine silks,
Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang (see p223). precious gems,
and exotic
Rulers in the South creatures such
Meanwhile, in the Deccan region, numerous as monkeys The Drunken Courtesan, a 2nd-century
dynasties arose after the decline of the and peacocks. Kushana panel

A 4th-century Iron
pillar, Delhi 606–647
250–300 Buddhist 300–399 Ramayana Harsha’s reign
AD 52 stupas of and Mahabharata 476 Birth of
St Thomas Nagarjunakonda and are compiled Aryabhata, great
in India Amravati are built astronomer and 630–644 Hiuen
320–500 Gupta dynasty mathematician Tsang in India
100 BC AD 100 200 300 400 500 600
AD 78–110 335–375 Reign of
Reign of Samudra Gupta 608–642 Reign of
Kushana king Statue of Pulakeshin II,
Kanishka Kanishka Gold coin of 450 Hun Chalukyan king
Samudra Gupta invasions begin

046-047_EW_India.indd 47 26/04/17 11:42 am

48  Introduc I ng Ind I a

ancestors, in order to enhance their
political and social status. Early Rajput
dynasties included the Paramaras in Malwa,
the Solankis in Gujarat, the Tomars in Delhi,
the Chandelas in Central India, and the
Chauhans in Rajasthan, whose best known
king, Prithviraj, is still extolled in Rajasthani
ballads for his legendary valour and chivalry.
During this period, independent kingdoms
The elaborate traditional ceremonial procession of a
Rajput prince also existed in Kashmir, the northwest, the
northeast, and in Odisha, where the Eastern
Northern Kingdoms (AD 750–1200) Ganga dynasty, builders of the great temples
Kanauj, once the capital of Harsha’s empire, at Konark and Puri (see pp314–16) ruled.
centrally located in the Gangetic Plains, had All these Rajput and non-Rajput dynasties
by 750 become the focus of conflict fought frequent wars with each other to
between three major dynasties – the gain control of strategic areas, setting
Pratiharas, the Rashtrakutas and the the stage for their downfall – they
Palas. The Pratiharas were a Rajput clan would be unable to form a united
who ruled in Rajasthan and Malwa, front to defend themselves
while the Rashtrakutas (740–973) against outside attack. In between
ruled in the northern Deccan. wars, however, the rulers and
The Palas (750–1150), who were a princes lived in great luxury, in
Buddhist dynasty, ruled Bengal. grand forts and richly ornamented
Each captured Kanauj for a short palaces. Agriculture was well-
while, but finally around 836, the developed, with over 100 types
Pratiharas gained control and held of cereals cultivated. Trade with
it for nearly two centuries. Soon the Arab lands flourished,
other Rajput clans began to establish bringing new prosperity to cities,
independent kingdoms. merchants and craftsmen, and
The origins of the Rajputs are leading to the emergence of many
shrouded in mystery, but they are Woman writing a new towns. This period also saw
known from the 7th century AD in letter, Khajuraho a flowering of literature, as well as
Western India. Some of them may sculpture and temple architecture.
have been descended from Central Asian Outstanding examples, apart from those
tribes who settled in India in the wake in Odisha, are the Khajuraho temples of the
of the Hun invasions (see p47). They called Chandelas (see pp240–41), the Modhera
themselves rajaputra or “sons of kings”, and Sun Temple (see pp422–3) and the Dilwara
their 36 clans claimed descent from the marble temples (see p398), which were
sun and moon, from fire, or from mythical built under the Solankis of Gujarat.

Rajput shield with
sun emblem
700 Arab 783–1036 Pratiharas 871–1216 Rule of 974–1233 Rule of
merchants arrive rule Rajasthan and Imperial Cholas Paramaras
in Western India Kanauj of Thanjavur of Malwa
700 750 800 850 900 950
740–973 800 Adi 900–1192 Rule of
Rule of 916–1203
736 Dhillika (Delhi) Rashtrakutas 750–1150 Shankaracharya Western Gangas, Rule of
builders of
founded by Tomars of the Palas rule preaches his Shravana Belagola Chandelas,
Deccan Bengal and builders of
Bihar Khajuraho

048-IND-AT509-1354-Hist3.indd 48 29/04/14 7:21 pm
Eyewitness Travel LAYERS PRINTED:
History Portrait template “UK” LAYER
(Source v1.2)
Date 20th August 2012
Size 125mm x 217mm

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