Top 10 Best Indian Books to Read Before Visiting India


India, with its rich cultural heritage and diverse traditions, has always fascinated people from around the world. If you are planning to visit this incredible country, immersing yourself in its literature is a great way to gain insights into its history, society, and people. Indian literature reflects the complexities and nuances of the country, offering a glimpse into its various aspects.

1. “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy’s debut novel, “The God of Small Things,” takes you on a journey through the lives of twins Rahel and Estha in the state of Kerala. Set against the backdrop of political turmoil and social taboos, this book beautifully captures the essence of the region.

2. “Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie’s masterpiece, “Midnight’s Children,” is a magical realism novel that tells the story of Saleem Sinai, who was born at the stroke of midnight on the day India gained independence. This book explores the post-colonial history of India in a unique and captivating way.

3. “A Suitable Boy” by Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth’s epic novel, “A Suitable Boy,” is a sprawling tale that follows the lives of four families in post-independence India. With its vivid characters and detailed portrayal of Indian society, this book provides deep insights into the country’s social and cultural fabric.

4. “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga

Winner of the Man Booker Prize, “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga is a thought-provoking novel that explores the dark underbelly of India’s economic growth. It offers a unique perspective on the class divide and the struggles faced by those at the bottom of the social ladder.

5. “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories, “Interpreter of Maladies,” delves into the lives of Indian immigrants and their experiences in both India and the United States. Through her poignant narratives, Lahiri beautifully captures the complexities of identity and belonging.

6. “The Guide” by R.K. Narayan

R.K. Narayan’s “The Guide” is a classic novel that tells the story of Raju, a tour guide in the fictional town of Malgudi. This book explores themes of spirituality, love, and self-discovery, providing a unique perspective on Indian society.

7. “Train to Pakistan” by Khushwant Singh

“Train to Pakistan” by Khushwant Singh is a powerful novel set during the partition of India in 1947. Through its compelling narrative, the book sheds light on the human tragedies and communal tensions that accompanied the partition.

8. “The Palace of Illusions” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

“The Palace of Illusions” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a retelling of the Indian epic, Mahabharata, from the perspective of Draupadi. This book offers a fresh and feminist take on the mythological tale, making it a must-read for anyone interested in Indian mythology.

9. “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Namesake” explores themes of identity, culture, and the immigrant experience through the story of Gogol Ganguli, a first-generation Indian-American. This book beautifully captures the complexities of navigating between two cultures.

10. “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts

“Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts is a gripping tale of an Australian fugitive who finds himself in the slums of Mumbai. This book offers a vivid and immersive portrayal of Mumbai and its vibrant street life.


Reading these top 10 Indian books before visiting India will not only enhance your understanding of the country but also deepen your appreciation for its rich cultural heritage. These books offer a glimpse into the diverse aspects of Indian society, history, and traditions. So, grab a cup of chai, find a cozy spot, and embark on a literary journey through the enchanting world of Indian literature.

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