Reference Points

March 08, 2009

India: People/Place/Culture/History

DK, $40

India is a vast land, boasting famously high mountains (the Himalayas), fertile valleys (Assam is the heart of the country's tea industry), arid deserts and densely packed cities (Mumbai is among the most populated). This gorgeously photographed coffee-table book captures the immense country in all of its complicated glory.

The long history section tells the story of the first prehistoric settlements, follows the emergence of regional kingdoms and the rise of the so-called Golden Age, the coming of Islam and India under British rule before discussing the state of contemporary India.

The people section, though, truly captures the paradoxes of India, offering visual portraits of everyone from Hindu priests and Hindu brides to elephant handlers and classical dance teachers. The back section includes a survival guide to travel in India.

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