25 Best All-Time Travel Books to Exploring India

Best Travel Books to Explore India

Being the 7th largest country by area and the 2nd most populous country in the world, India is vast and diverse. With a cultural history spanning more than 4,500 years, India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism, and Jainism among the nation’s major religions.

All these numbers (and more on Wikipedia), can be overwhelming and it can be really hard to find out where to start your trip from or what routes or mode of transport to take if you plan on traveling to India.

In this post, I have listed out the top 25 all-time travel books to help you explore India and discover it’s beauty, rituals, culture, history, scenic rail routes, and traditions. So, whether you plan to cover the whole of India or if you intend to travel from one city or state to the other, these popular travel books can be extremely useful for you. 

#1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

Best Travel Books to Explore India - City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

Author: William Dalrymple

Rating: 4.2 out of 5

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#2. The Age of Kali: Indian Travels and Encounters 

Best Travel Books to Explore India - The Age of Kali: Indian Travels and Encounters

Author: William Dalrymple

Rating: 4.2 out of 5

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#3. Banaras City of Light

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Banaras City of Light

Author: Diana L. Eck

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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#4. One Life to Ride: A Motorcycle Journey to the High Himalayas

Best Travel Books to Explore India - One Life to Ride: A Motorcycle Journey to the High Himalayas

Author: Ajit Harisinghani

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

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#5. Coromandel: A Personal History of South India

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Coromandel: A Personal History of South India

Author: Charles Allen

Rating: 3.6 out of 5

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#6. Following Fish

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Following Fish

Author: Samanth Subramanian

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

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#7. Wanderings in India and Other Sketches of Life in Hindostan

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Wanderings in India and Other Sketches of Life in Hindostan

Author: John Lang

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

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#8. Chai, Chai

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Chai, Chai

Author: Bishwanath Ghosh

Rating: 3.7 out of 5

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#9. The Land of Moonlit Snows: & Other Real Travel Stories from the Indian Himalaya

Best Travel Books to Explore India - The Land of Moonlit Snows: & Other Real Travel Stories from the Indian Himalaya

Author: Gaurav Punj

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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#10. Chandni Chowk: The Mughal City of Old Delhi

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Chandni Chowk: The Mughal City of Old Delhi

Author: Swapna Liddle

Rating: 4.2 out of 5

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#11. India On My Platter

Best Travel Books to Explore India - India On My Platter

Author: Saransh Goila

Rating: 4 out of 5

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#12. Around India in 80 Trains

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Around India in 80 Trains

Author: Monisha Rajesh

Rating: 4 out of 5

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#13. Chasing The Monsoon: A Modern Pilgrimage Through India

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Chasing The Monsoon: A Modern Pilgrimage Through India

Author: Alexander Frater

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

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#14. The Nanda Devi Affair

Best Travel Books to Explore India - The Nanda Devi Affair

Author: Bill Aitken

Rating: 3.7 out of 5 

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#15. The Travelling Belly: Eating Through India’s By-Lanes

Best Travel Books to Explore India - The Travelling Belly: Eating Through India's By-Lanes

Author: Kalyan Karmakar 

Rating: 4.8 out of 5

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#16. Butter Chicken In Ludhiana: Travels In Small Town India

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Butter Chicken In Ludhiana: Travels In Small Town India

Author: Pankaj Mishra

Rating: 3.9 out of 5

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#17. If Its Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India

Best Travel Books to Explore India - If Its Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India

Author: Srinath Perur

Rating: 4 out of 5

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#18. Holy Cow!: An Indian Adventure

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Holy Cow!: An Indian Adventure

Author: Sarah MacDonald

Rating: 3.4 out of 5

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#19. Mother Earth, Sister Seed: Travels through India’s Farmlands

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Mother Earth, Sister Seed: Travels through India's Farmlands

Author: Lathika George

Rating: 5 out of 5

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#20. Worth Every Gasp: A Lone Woman’s Journey in the Himalayas…

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Worth Every Gasp: A Lone Woman's Journey in the Himalayas

Author: Anamika Mukherjee

Rating: 4 out of 5

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#21. Hot Tea Across India

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Hot Tea Across India

Author: Rishad Saam Mehta

Rating: 4.1 out of 5

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#22. The Land of Flying Lamas & Other Real Travel Stories From the Indian Himalaya

Best Travel Books to Explore India - The Land of Flying Lamas & Other Real Travel Stories From the Indian Himalaya

Author: Gaurav Punj

Rating: 4.1 out of 5

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#23. A South Indian Journey: The Smile of Murugan

Best Travel Books to Explore India - A South Indian Journey

Author: Michael Wood

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

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#24. No Full Stops in India

Best Travel Books to Explore India - No Full Stops in India

Author: Mark Tully

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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#25. Truck De India: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Hindustan

Best Travel Books to Explore India - Truck De India: A Hitchhiker's Guide to Hindustan

Author: Rajat Ubhaykar

Rating: 5 out of 5

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