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Friday, February 14, 2014

Buddhist India Rediscovered by Aruna Deshpande


The very moment I laid my eyes on this book in the catalog sent by Jaico people with their new releases, I thought to myself, I have to read this!

Buddhism has always had this mystic effect on me. In fact, although being an Hindu, one will find more Buddha idols and posters in my room than any Hindu deity. Buddhism always had this ascetic impression on me.

In short, I loved everything about Buddhism. Their monks. The tonsure-headed children. The idols of Buddha. Their way of living. Various tales floating around Him. The tranquility that blankets one, who visits a Buddhist monastery. And the list goes on. Like I have already said, I just love everything about Buddha and Buddhism. In fact, I even love Siddhartha (by Herman Hesse) - Buddha has a small guest appearance in this piece of fiction.

Like various books from Jaico Books, this book is also sent by Marina.

To look at the list of the book sent by Jaico books, click here...

Blurb (from the jacket):

INDIA IS THE GUARDIAN OF a rich and ancient culture, and the seat of Buddhism. Mystic monasteries on Himalayan slopes, richly carved stupas amid lush gardens, cavernous dwellings with exquisite paintings –India is home to all these and more.

In this, her seventh book, respected historian Aruna Deshpande travels the length and breadth of the country to track down the imprints of Buddhism. Never before has any historian presented every major Buddhist site located in India in one book.
Here are the architectural gems of Lumbini, the lesser known Tawang Monastery of Arunachal Pradesh, the unparalleled Bodh Gaya and a reliable guide to visiting all these places. A boon to pilgrims, travelers and armchair explorers alike, Buddhist India Rediscovered will fire the imagination and carry you on a memorable journey.

Our take on the book:
Maybe the picture I have uploaded - the picture uploaded on GoodReads is also by me - does not convey the entire artistic value of the cover design, but in actual the cover design of the book is pretty good. One look at the cover and the reader will be transported to a Buddhist monastary lost somewhere in the virgin place among the cluster of Himalayas. The feeling is the same. Tranquil-blanket. Classic cover design.

The Dalai Lama's foreword enclosed in this book has a authentic feel to it. With a royal seal on the top and a signature at the bottom. It was damn exciting to read the book with Dalai Lama welcoming me.

My mind was blown also by the epigraph of the book. I don't whether the credits of the line goes to someone, but it is in this book I have read it for the first time,


The lines can't get any truer.

This is book is more of a tourist guide. I say that because it starts off with the details of India - like its geography, climate, languages, polity, etc. But then the actual part starts. Some Buddhist-related history later, the referential guide to all the Buddhist sites across the country starts, state wise.

I was 139 pages down. Just read about the Buddhist sites in Harayana, when I realized that it was not a easy one. Well, it was a tourist guide. It is not meant to be read and remembered. It is not a story. It is whole lot of information not to be just read and forgotten. So then on, I started to go through the rest of the book as if it was a guide. I read it, but didn't study it, as I usually do. I learnt various facts, but now, after reading the book, I remember only few of them. So I am not going to stash away the book inside my read box, but I will stack it with the book I tag Referential.

I also liked another aspect of the book. There was no show of stinginess about the printed photographs. Though they were black-and-white, they were awesome and to the curve perfect. And there you go, if you buy this book, you also get a photography book. Photographs of various Buddhist sites across the country.

Overall, the book was very helpful and informative, at least to me, a Buddhism-fiend. I suggest the others of my type also to get their hands on this book. Don't miss it, buds.



Title: Buddhist India Rediscovered

Author: Aruna Deshpande

Tagline: Lose Yourself in the Buddhist Experience

ISBN (edition I've read): 9788184952476


Read between: 10-02-2014 to 14-02-2014

Publishers: Jaico Books

Reviewed for: Marina

Pages: 381

MRP: ₹ 399

The best deal of this book could be found here:  

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