The past decade has seen travellers move from traditional travel guidebooks to the digital medium, thanks to the magnitude of information available on the internet. Not only guide books, but all the travel information you can find on the internet is extraordinary,particualry for India. From researching all the destinations to booking cheap direct flights to India, guide books and similar have sort of become redundant. However, one can’t deny that a good old guidebook is a seasoned traveller’s best friend, with all the information in one place, and after all, little can beat the charm of a nice, thick paperback or hardcover. While there have been multitudes of travel guidebooks over the years, some classic ones have remained clear favourites. Here’s our pick for the top 5 guidebooks to choose from when you’re travelling in India.
Lonely Planet India (Country Guides)
Perhaps the most popular of all travel guidebooks, Lonely Planet India allures you with its simply designed yet intriguing covers. Who says not to judge a book by its cover? Because what’s inside is just as good – the detailed sections on each state of the country, major cities and other getaways, cultural and historical information, do’s and don’ts for travelers unfamiliar with local tradition and customs, safety information for women, and of course hotels, transport, visas and currency-related information as well. The maps in the book are accurate and very useful, especially for first-timetravellers. Lonely Planet also has a region and state specific guidebooks which give you more detailed information about a particular part of the country. There are phrasebooks which also tell you what the common phrases used in different Indian languages are, to help you communicate with the locals.
The Rough Guide to India (Rough Guides)
Rough Guides, Mark Ellingham’s contribution to the travel world is another popular travel content treasure. History and culture is examined and explained at a deeper level for those interested and tells you why you should visit a particular site. The usual information regarding accommodation, transport and dining is accurate and adequate, and the maps are quite easy to use. If you’re travelling in India for extended periods of time, then Rough Guide to India may be your best bet.
DK Eyewitness Travel India (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide)
If you love pretty illustrations and colourfulmaps and would choose a guidebook based on them, you will be floored by Eyewitness India. Dorling Kindersley Publishing has made sure that the lavish illustrations, 3D aerial views, and even floor plans of sites you want to visit, make this book a great companion while travelling in India. While you wouldn’t want to take your eyes off the pages owing to the visual treat, you may not be fully satisfied with the details on transport and how-to-get-there sort of information. However, overall it’s a great guidebook to have with you while travelling.
Frommer’s® India (Frommer’s Complete Guides)
Backpackers and those travelling on a budget won’t take away too much from this one. Aimed at those looking at slightly higher end hotels and travel itineraries without too much of a budget constraint, Frommer’s is great when you fall under that category. One of the useful features of this book is that it has discussions and suggestions that will help you decide what you may and may not want to do. The maps are not the best, so unless you have a pre-booked car with a local driver who knows the roads, this guidebook may not be your best option.
India Footprint Handbook
The India Handbook, apart from being just a guidebook, makes for some interesting reading. It has detailed information on history and culture and also gives you useful information on lesser-travelled locales. The basic information is all pretty accurate, and it makes for a useful guidebook, overall.
India can be an intimidating country to travel in, owing to its vast cultural, linguistic, culinary, and topographical diversity. However, with a good guidebook, and help from friendly locals, you can make your trip a memorable one!