What do we really know about the Aryan migration theory, and why is that debate so hot?
Why did the people of Khajuraho carve erotic scenes on their temple walls?
What did the monks at Nalanda eat for dinner?
Did our ideals of beauty ever prefer dark skin?
Indian civilization has existed for many millennia, but how much do we know about our forebears and their cultural worlds? In this riveting book, Namit Arora takes us on an unforgettable journey through 5000 years of history, reimagining in rich detail the social and cultural moorings of Indians through the ages. Drawing on credible sources, he explores what inspired and shaped them: their political upheavals and rivalries, vocations and trades, and a variety of religious beliefs, festivals, and social set-ups. Arora makes a stop at six iconic places—the Harappan city of Dholavira, the Ikshvaku capital at Nagarjunakonda, the Buddhist centre of learning at Nalanda, enigmatic Khajuraho, Vijayanagar at Hampi, and Varanasi—enlivening the narrative with vivid descriptions, local stories, and evocative photographs. Punctuating this are chronicles of famous travellers who visited India—including Megasthenes, Xuanzang, Alberuni, and Marco Polo—whose dramatic and idiosyncratic tales conceal surprising insights about our land.
In lucid and elegant prose, Arora explores the exciting churn of ideas, beliefs, and values that unfolded among our ancestors through the centuries—some continue, for better or worse, to shape modern Indian lives, while others have been lost forever. An original, deeply engaging and extensively researched work, Indians illuminates a range of histories coursing through our veins.