Exploring the real India extends far beyond the scenic imagery of Eat Pray Love; it plunges deep into the heart of its diverse narratives through some of the best books on India. These narratives, woven with the rich tapestries of India tours, Rudyard Kipling’s insights, and Ramachandra Guha’s historical perceptions, invite you into an immersive journey.
The collection ranges from the compelling streets of Delhi in “Midnight’s Children” to the introspective “God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy, each offering a unique passage to India. These must-read Indian books provide a window to the country’s soul, far beyond the typical tourist trails, making them a treasure trove for those seeking to truly understand India’s essence.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

“The White Tiger,” a novel by Aravind Adiga, presents a dark, yet riveting narrative of Balram Halwai, a man from a modest village, navigating through the complexities of social hierarchies and economic disparities in India. Published in 2008, this compelling story not only won the prestigious Man Booker Prize but also inspired a film adaptation in 2021.

A Fine Balance

Rohinton Mistry’s novel A Fine Balance (1995) is a compassionate and intricately woven story about two rural tailors who venture to the city in search of employment during the tumultuous period known as the “Emergency” from 1975 to 1977. This was a time when Indira Gandhi’s government suspended individual rights and democratic elections, leading to widespread abuses. As they face numerous challenges, a fellow passenger on their train advises them to maintain a delicate equilibrium between hope and despair – a wise counsel that proves to be true as the tailors encounter struggles akin to those of the biblical figure Job. Mistry’s more recent work, Family Matters (2002), further solidifies his position as one of the most exceptional and poignant chroniclers of contemporary India, particularly Mumbai. As per my 25 years of experience in Travel Industry my several Guest read or travel with it and Exploring the real India.

Wanderlust and Lipstick: For Women Traveling to India

“Wanderlust and Lipstick: For Women Traveling to India” by Beth Whitman is an essential guide for female travelers exploring the real India and vibrant and diverse landscapes of India. Published by Dispatch Travels in 2008, this book spans 216 pages of invaluable advice tailored specifically to women, covering everything from cultural nuances to personal safety. You can also check our tour for women traveling to India.

Best Features

  • Practical Guidance: The book offers a wealth of practical advice, including how to dress appropriately, choose safe accommodations, and navigate transportation options in India.
  • Empowering Insights: With advice from over 35 experienced female travelers, the guide empowers women to explore India confidently and securely.
  • Thematic Structure: Unlike typical guides, it organizes information thematically, covering ‘Getting Around,’ ‘Feasting,’ and ‘Your Health,’ making it user-friendly and relevant.
  • Anecdotal Evidence: It includes real-life stories and testimonials from women who have journeyed across India, adding a personal touch to the practical tips.

Chai, Chaat & Chutney by Chetna Mayan

“Chai, Chaat & Chutney” by Chetna Makan is a delightful exploration of India’s vibrant street food culture. As a semi-finalist on The Great British Bake Off, Makan brings her culinary expertise to this 240-page cookbook, which serves as a gateway to the bustling streets of Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, and Chennai. Each recipe is a reflection of the rich diversity found in these cities, making it a must-have for anyone eager to delve into authentic Indian cuisine at home.

A Suitable Boy

In 1993, Vikram Seth’s novel, A Suitable Boy, portrays the middle-class society of India through the story of a young woman’s search for a husband among three contrasting suitors. Set during the post-independence period, the novel is akin to a soap opera, yet with a more refined touch, and introduces a captivating cast of characters. With a length of nearly 1,500 pages, once you begin to Exploring the real India you might start reading this book and read it for your entire journey.


What is the real-life basis for ‘Eat, Pray, Love’?
‘Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia’ is a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert that recounts her journey around the world following her divorce. It is a true story that explores the discoveries she made during her travels.

During her time in India, where did Elizabeth Gilbert stay in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’?
Elizabeth Gilbert spent four months in an ashram when she visited India as part of her journey in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. She went directly to this ashram and did not travel elsewhere in India. The exact location of the ashram is not disclosed by Gilbert, but it is widely thought to be the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Ganeshpuri, Maharashtra.

What central theme does ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ convey?
The central theme of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ revolves around the pursuit of balance and fulfillment in life. Elizabeth Gilbert’s travels are a metaphorical journey toward finding equilibrium between pleasure and discipline, spiritual and material needs, and self-reliance and interpersonal connections.

Can you summarize ‘Eat, Pray, Love’?
‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is a profound narrative detailing Elizabeth Gilbert’s decision to leave her successful life behind to explore different facets of her personality within the context of three diverse cultures. She seeks pleasure in Italy, spiritual devotion in India, and aims to find a balance between the material and spiritual on the Indonesian island of Bali.