I have never been to India but I believe it is a place, like Italy perhaps, which changes you forever.
To kick off, two beautiful modern Indian interiors:
Something soft and restful:
Then, the hotel to die for. Have you ever stayed at an Aman resort? We have toyed with the idea of the one in Java, and also Ubud in Bali but the furthest we have ever got is lunch at the Amandari and Amankila (both on Bali). I think they are a bit outside my budget. This is the Amanbagh near Jaipur.
And of course, some Indian reading. These are my five must read Indian novels. They capture all the magic, mystery and spirituality of India. Each of these books I have brooded on for some time after finishing and to me, that is the key to a great book.
This book demonstrates the power of luck and opportunity better than any other I have read.
This book is set in in Mumbai, in India, in the middle of last century when a bad decision or an instance of bad luck can change your life forever.
I won't describe it further other than to say you must read this book. It will make you a more humane person.
This book is about old India and the British Raj, and its clash with the new. Set in Chandrapore, the book follows an excursion to some caves led by doctor Aziz and the life changing consequences of that day.
If not the book,then you should watch the excellent Merchant Ivory film of the same name.
I read this book for school when I was 15. Set in India in the 1920's It is about a little girl who lives on a river which feeds into the Bay of Bengal. Harriet is in that time between between childhood and adulthood and the rhythms of her life are disrupted and changed in this deceptively simple and subtle book.
At more than 1300 pages this is one of the longest novels ever published in a single volume in the English language (I actually read it when it was published in a three book series).
This amazing evocative epic book is set in post independent and post partition India, and follows Mrs Rupa Mehra's attempts to arrange the marriage of her daughter to a suitable boy.
It sounds simple, but it is not. There is a wonderful array of eccentric, personality filled characters, and Vikram Seth manages to cover a range of political and societal events like Muslim education, the caste system and the land reforms.
I have to be honest. I am a bit scared of Gregory David Roberts. He was an armed robber who broke out of jail in Melbourne in 1980, skipped the country, fled to India and lived an adventurous life including gun running in Afghanistan and working as a slum doctor in Delhi. This book is lengthy but worth it. Whilst it is true that he escaped from prison, Roberts has since clarified that parts of it are fictional.
This book is a fascinating glimpse into modern India.
(Images: (1) via Indian Summer Blog (2) from Contemporary Indian by Henry Wilson (3) Elle Decor India (4) (5) Tobias Harvey via Sarah Kaye (6) Amanresorts)