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Enjoying India: The Essential Handbook Paperback – May 31, 2010


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Enjoying India: The Essential Handbook + Lonely Planet India (Travel Guide) + DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: India
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Tara Satara Press (May 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981950302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981950303
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

". . . filled with simple and recommended wisdom as J. D. Viharini walks readers through the best ways to enjoy the cities and culture of the this massive country well. From overcoming language barriers, cultural taboos, safety concerns, and many more, "Enjoying India" is a strongly recommended read . . . ."
--Midwest Book Review

About the Author

J.D. Viharini is a single woman who has lived and traveled alone extensively in India. She was born in California, but has spent more than two-thirds of her life in other states and other countries. Having earned an MS in Vedic Studies in Europe, she came to India in 1980 and loved it immediately, though she had to wait a few years for her next visit.
She has been living in India for several years, and has traveled extensively throughout the country. Although she has an apartment in a remote village high in the Himalayas that's her home base, she tends to move around India with the seasons. She's spent time in nearly every part of India except the Northeast. Over the years, she has traveled around India first class, sardine class, and everything in between. From the Ritz to the pits, so to speak, she has stayed and dined in some of the most exclusive places in India and some of the least. She has stayed with families and attended their celebrations. She has rented apartments and learned how to contend with all that living here entails. She has experienced the intense, seething crowds of the Kumbha Mela and the serenity of the sparsely populated, high Himalayas. She has gone on pilgrimages and done business. She has been sick and learned how to stay well. She has made many friends and has come to regard India as home.

More About the Author

J.D. Viharini is an American woman who has made India her home. The writer's name stands for Jambu-dvipa-viharini, which means one who wanders around enjoying India. Like Emerson and Thoreau, she was inspired in her twenties by the Vedic literature and traditions of India (Veda means 'Knowledge of Life,' and the Vedas are the basis of Indian religion and culture). She studied the Vedas for many years, eventually receiving a Masters degree in Vedic Studies.

With this deep understanding of the roots of the Indian way of life, she began traveling to India in 1980, and immediately felt at home. She found a county where every facet of their effervescent society was originally based on the ideal of the Vedas: to raise all aspects of life to the fullest--dress, food, music, architecture, science, medicine, and enlightenment.

Soon Viharini began doing business in India, going on pilgrimages, visiting ancient temples, and attending great festivals (like the 2013 Kumbha Mela, with 30 million people). Eventually she moved there permanently. She has traveled everywhere, from the remote Himalayas (where she now has an apartment) to the tropical south.

She knows India as few expatriates do. Viharini has traveled, mostly alone, by first class, sardine class, and everything in between. She has been sick and learned how to stay well; resided in opulent hotels and lived in poor villages; stayed with traditional families and studied at ashrams; learned how to cook Indian food and how to wear Indian saris. In every way, she has learned how to travel and live, happily and comfortably, in that most magnificent of countries.

Viharini's book, "Enjoying India", is an expression of her 30 years of familiarity with India and her practical understanding of how to enjoy traveling there. But, even more, it is an expression of her genuine love for her adopted home. It is a how-to guide by someone who understands and respects the real India--from the vibrancy and color on India's teeming surface to the wisdom and silence at its Vedic roots; from its remote, traditional villages, which have not changed in centuries, to its huge, modern cities, which are changing at the speed of light.

Customer Reviews

The book contains very practical information for navigating this beautiful culture.
amy
You can either read the book in sequence or "jump around" to know about this or that particular thing.
JJJ108
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in India.
Satyanarayana Pamarty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Satyanarayana Pamarty on June 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being an Indian myself, I can tell you that this book is an authentic account about India. It is obvious that the author is someone who has lived and traveled in India over a long period of time. India is such a vast country that it is difficult for even Indians to gain such a depth of knowledge about the country as this author has achieved.

From the insights that the book oozes, it is evident that the author has travelled the breadth and height of India. I have read a few other accounts about India by westerners and was always disappointed by the superficial nature of those books and observations.

However, this book was a surprise. With a very humorous point of view, it was thoroughly enjoyable and I read it in almost one sitting. It is a must for anyone to carry and read if they are visiting India even for a brief time. This book prepares you for the surprises that await here.

The author's observations are presented without bias and prejudice. It was an open minded thesis that delved deep into the psyche of the Indian phenomenon. This is obviously an effort that should have spanned several years of unrelenting research and observation.

Whatever it is, this certainly is not anything that falls under the genre of books that typically stereotype India. It looks beyond the usual shocking point of view of India as a country of elephants and tigers. This book is about the real contemporary India and about real Indians.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in India. I also commend and thank the author for an unbiased view of my country that I so love.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By K. Sands on July 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoying India - A Traveler's Handbook

An Indian tour guide once said that to really get to know and appreciate India one must live amongst its' people experiencing how they live their daily lives - walk amongst the crowded streets, shop at the local markets, visit the temples, and completely immerse oneself by living firsthand as an Indian does. Only then will one be able to truly understand and appreciate the people,the country and the culture.

Ms. Viharini's new book Enjoying India - A Traveler's Handbook is clearly written by someone who has done just that! Hence it serves as the perfect companion for any foreigner's sojourn throughout the country. In fact, I would strongly encourage anyone contemplating a trip to India to read it before leaving home and familiarize oneself with all the numerous topics covered then use it as a resource book throughout one's travels. You will quickly realize how Ms Viharini has very extensively covered everything that you might encounter on your travels e.g., preparation & arrival; cultural differences; numerous ways to get around India; safety & security to cite just a few.

Of all the hundreds of books on India, I find there is none that is a clearly "how to" book like Ms. Viharini's. Traveling with a copy of this book on your next trip to India can only enhance your experience. It is so comprehensive that a traveler would be truly lost without it.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Egenes on June 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is my favorite travel book on the market for India. Every page is worth reading, as the author obviously has years of experience traveling in India. If you are planning to go to India, this is the top book on the market. Take it with you -- you'll find that the advice given is like having your own personal guide, telling you things that you may have never thought about. I fully recommend this book!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ronel on August 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to go to India for a work project and having never been, bought and read this book. As I was reading it I felt more and more anxious and really did not want to go - it felt as if everything us westerners do will necessarily offend someone in India. How overstated? Given, we've been to Mumbai and Chennai - both big cities, but very few of the do's and don'ts were real. Even the people we met laughed at our list of do's and don'ts. Honestly, this book is doing more harm to the tourism in India than good! The people are not so easily offended and definitely not so behind the times! I have wonderful time from the moment that I decided to relax.... and forget about this book's lectures!!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By d. birdzell on April 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the book to have if you are a first time or seasoned traveller in India or doing business there.

This book was written by someone who has lived for years in India, speaks the language, and has travelled extensively and even done business there. It can give you advice that you won't get anywhere else. My experience from living and working in India is that Indians are very friendly and polite, but they won't tell you what is really going on unless you know them quite well. And that takes a long time, so most tourists miss out on a lot that India has to offer.

The book is clearly by an insider who understands and respects the culture and the people, and tells you from firsthand experience all the practical things you need to know to get around smoothly, safely and enjoyably.

There are chapters on travel, money matters, food, and medical tips to keep you healthy. There are also very insightful sections on Indian culture and how to gain the most from the personal relationships you have with Indians you meet from all levels of society. The section for women traveling in India is very frank and informative.

The book also has chapters covering bargaining and business dealings for the many different types of situations you will encounter in India, both a as a tourist and also if you are there for business. My favorite is the section that tells you about a dozen ways to know when an Indian is really telling you "No" even when he seems to be saying "Yes".

If you want to find places to eat or stay, get the Lonely Planet guide to India. But if you want to know everything else, get this book. Highly recommended.
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