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Vibha Sharma

“Travel brings power and love back into your life” — Rumi

Travelogues instigate and lure some to plan, pack and plunge into yet another adventurous travel while they offer glimpses of the world out there for the ones who don't want to forego the comfortable confines of their homes.

Nine Lives by William Dalrymple: This book brings out the essence of 25 years of long and far travels that the author undertook in India, a mystic land for many. The unique nine lives chronicled in this book betoken the diverse belief systems that are prevalent in some parts of the country ranging from Rajasthan to Calcutta and from Bihar to Kerala. These are stories of faith, conviction and reliance in response to their individual spiritual calling.

Along the Ganges by Ilija Trojanow: Here the author recounts the journey of river Ganga from its inception in pristine snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas till its maturity when it rushes to meet the ocean. From vivacity of youthfulness in the mountains, the poise of a young woman in plains to a veteran near the mouth of the ocean, the author witnessed all. Ganga is much more than a river for millions of believers and the author is mesmerised how amidst extremes of archaic traditions and miraculous modernity, Ganga zigzags her way for hundreds of miles.

Hot Tea Across India by Rishad Saam Mehta: A travel enthusiast and writer, Rishad Mehta follows the trail of that single beverage, tea, which brings security of known in unknown and a bit of solace amidst commotion. He narrates his experience of traversing the length and breadth of India from Leh to Munnar and from Rann of Kutch to Khajuraho. In his words, “If there is one certainty about roads in India, it is that no matter where you are or what the hour is, if you want a cup of tea you'll find a chai ki dukaan within a few kilometres.”

One Life to Ride by Ajit Harsinghani: A travel diary of sorts, Ajit's motorcycling adventure through the mountain range of Himalayas is a wonderful write-up on his experiences through various villages, across meandering rivers and through sloping mountains. The narrative is simplistic yet it beautifully brings out the earthiness of the terrain.

Exploring new countries

Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, one of the most acclaimed names in the field of travel writings, is an adventure trek on Appalachian Trail. Similarly, his report on a country which doubles up as a continent (In a Sunburned Country), retracing a youthful European backpacking trip from Scandinavia to Istanbul (Neither Here Nor There) or his report on his adopted country Britain, the land of Shakespeare (Notes from Small Island), Bill Bryson packs the right proportion of information, facts, humour, wit and his hallmark panache in his writings.

China Road by Rob Gifford: The National Highway 312, length 4,967 km (3086 miles), from Shanghai to Khorgas, runs across the complete breadth of China from east to west. Rob Gifford journeyed route 312 for six weeks, passed through the old Silk Road which runs through the Gobi desert to Central Asia to Persia and to Europe. He met competitive entrepreneurs, rural people, angry citizens and witnessed depleting morality, weakening cultural values, modernity and excitement galore. China Road brilliantly brings out the heterogeneity of modern China as it marches forward as a global power.

Paul Theroux's The Great Railway Bazaar: It is a wonderful accompaniment for those solitary train travels. Resplendent with detailed observations of people and surroundings, The Great Railway Bazaar captures the essence of train travels. The route begins from Victoria Station, London to Asia and through Trans-Siberian express. You never know, you might just see some interesting character portrayed so comically in the book pop out in front of you.

A Short Walk in the HinduKush by Jack Kerouac was originally typed (in 1951) as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper, which were later taped as a 120-foot scroll and eventually published in a book form. It is one of the most distinguished and compelling accounts of American history, post-World War II.