We've collected a list of some highly recommended books and movies which might help you better prepare for your experiences in India. You can find many of these at your local library, and we also have several in our portable library in Delhi. There is certainly more out there, so let us know what you find.
Feel free to comment on this entry and let us all know what you've watched/read/enjoyed already!
Mahatma Gandhi. (Louis Fischer, ed.) The Essential Gandhi, Vintage, 1962.
Avedon, John. In Exile From the Land of Snows, NY: A Knopf, 1984
This excellent book as it offers a clear and concise background on Tibetan culture, and details the events surrounding the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese.
Tenzin Gyatso, H. H. the Dalai Lama. My Land and My People. NY: Potala, 1983
This is an autobiographical account of the history of modern Tibet, told by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the XIVth Dalai Lama. We also recommend any other publication by His Holiness such as Ethics for a New Millennium , The Art of Happiness and The World of Tibetan Buddhism.
Goldstein, Melvyn C. The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama. CA: The University of California Press, 1997
Mahatma Gandhi. Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Beacon Press, 1993.
Gita Mehta. Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East. Vintage Books, 1991.
Diana Eck. Banaras, City of Light. Knopf, 1982.
Travel/ Historical Fiction
Greg Mortenson and David Olivier Relin. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time. Penguin Books, 2006.
Rudyard Kipling. Kim. Bantam Classics and Loveswept, 1983 - Traditionally "Kipling" account of silk road adventures. We'll visit Ladakh, who's capital city, Leh, was once a major stop on the silk road.
Satyajit Ray. Twenty Stories. Penguin Books Ltd., 1993. - Ray is a well-known, edgy Indian film maker. These are some of his short stories, but check out his movies as well.
Peter Mathessien. The Snow Leopard. Penguin Nature Classics, 1978.
Herman Hesse. Siddhartha. NY: New Directions, 1951 - Yes, it's fiction. Let's discuss!
Arundhati Roy. The God of Small Things. Harper Collins, 1998. - Though set in the state of Kerala in South India (we'll not travel there), Roy presents her riveting story and shakes our paradigm of time and relationships.
Rushdie, Salman et al. Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997. Henry Holt & Co., 1997. (an excellent anthology; a good way to sample many authors who have written about India)
Ethan Nichtern. One City: A Declaration of Interdependence. Wisdom Publications, 2007. - Nichtern is a practitioner of Shambhala Buddhism and founder of the Interdependence Project, an organization promoting social awareness and personal responsibility based out of New York City but existing in cyberspace as well. He's young, hip, and can explain Buddhism to our younger generation in a completely engaging fashion.
Diana Eck. Darshan. Columbia University Press, 1998.
Aiden Rankin. The Jain Path: Ancient Wisdom for the West. O Books, 2006.
Michele Martin. Music in the Sky: The Life, Art & Teachings of the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Snow Lion Publications, 2002. - If our karma permits, we'll be able to have an audience with this Karmapa who is the head of the Karma Kagyud sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
John Powers. An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1995.
Walpola Sri Rahula. What the Buddha Taught. Grove/Atlantic Press, 1974.
A.L. Herman. A Brief Introduction to Hinduism: Religion, Philosophy and the Ways of Liberation. Westview Press, 1991.
Kim Knott. Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 1999. - These "very shorts" are great for getting some content info about what we'll see. There's also one on Buddhism and Sikhism.
Juan Mascaro, ed. The Bhagavad Gita. Viking Press, 1983. - Other great epics in the Hindu tradition to check out are the Mahayana and the Ramayana. These all greatly inform Indian culture.
Films (Available at your local public library and most video rental stores)
The Namesake (2006), Gandhi (1982), Earth (1998), Fire (1996), Water (2005), Om Shanti Om (2007), Dhoom 2 (2006), Outsourced (2006)
Kundun (1997), Windhorse (1997), The Cup (1999), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Cry of the Snow Lion (2002), Sun Behind the Clouds (2009), Tibet in Song (2009)