Resources for India

Whether you’re curious about India, trying to get a feel for the place before moving, or interested simply in expanding your horizons, it can be difficult to weed through the data and find the useful things. Here’s my list of what I’ve found useful:

Recommended Reading

  • Wanderlust and Lipstick: For Women Traveling to India (Beth Whitman, Amy Scott and Elizabeth Haidle): A quick but useful read for packing, culture notes and experiences from the view of the single female traveler.
  • Dreaming in Hindi (Katherine Russell Rich): A woman’s trip to India to learn the language, and a review of her year not just from a cultural-lessons view, but also a linguistic view of learning a second language as an adult.
  • Culture Smart! India (Nicki Grihault)
  • Culture Shock! India (Gitanjali Kolanad)

Recommended Websites

  • IndiaMike Great resource for all things India from people in-country as well as frequent travellers who may be out-country at the time. Packing lists, “Only In India” experiences, travel suggestions, meetups and more.
  • The Hindu An English-language newspaper based out of Chennai, with 12 other printing cent(re)(er)s.
  • Times of India
  • Hindustani Times
  • WIKIPEDIA! – Wherever you’re going, you can find a close/local town and get some information.

Language Learning Resources

Hindi

English is one of India’s official languages, and the more inclined you are to interact with people who communicate with tourists, the less likely you’ll genuinely need to learn Hindi or one of the other languages. Hindi is most used in the Northern segment of the country, so it’s a good idea to pick up some if you’ll be in the area of Delhi or north. Southwards and Eastern is a greater variety of language options (Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam….).

  • University of Texas at Austin’s free first-year Hindi textbooks
  • A Primer of Modern Standard Hindi (Michael C Shapiro) *great for linguistic details – it doesn’t give you sentences like “Where is the train station”, but talks about noun formation, subjunctive case, etc. If you’re serious about learning Hindi, track this down and buy it.
  • Elementary Hindi (Richard Delancy) *I am in love with this as a textbook – introduces Devanagari in phases and gives you words which utilize the structures you’ve just learned. Hardcover edition only at this time, but it includes an audio (a critical! aspect) CD and a separately-purchasable workbook. I 100% recommend this for anyone considering active study of Hindi.

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