Why are cows on the Street? What is “arranged marriage”? Is caste different from class? Does one need to worship a thousand Gods? Who was Buddha? Why does a lovesick emperor build a Taj Mahal? Why are the bodies cremated on the banks of the river Ganges?
This book has been in the making for nearly a decade. In 1982, when I returned from Spain, life as a student burning a hole in my parent’s pocket came to an abrupt end and the order of the day. And all I had, besides best wishes of family and friends, was working knowledge of Spanish. Fortunately, this asset was worth its weight in gold for it is may karma to unveil the secrets of the land of my birth to travelers from across the planet. Not that I was the last word on the wonderful mélange that is India. Indeed, as I got to know my own country, I discovered there are a thousand India’s and the quest to know each of them has kept me on the move ever since. And every time a visitor asks a simple question, I’m amazed that there are so many things about this wonderful land that not only baffle, amuse, horrify and attract foreigners. In fact, even a lifetime of study is not enough to produce a single volume which answers all questions.
India has a long tradition of transmitting knowledge by way of parables and stories, reader, through stories and pictures, what India-its historical tradition, religious customs and societal structure – is all about. So, when you return home and your friends want to ask you why cows are worshipped in India, why love is expressed in marble as in the Taj Mahal, why it’s a boon to die and be cremated on the Ghats at Varanasi or, indeed, why the temples at Khajuraho are adorned with erotic art, this book has the answers. Of course, if your want to know more, you can always ask more questions. Or wait form my next book!
Tarun Chopra was born in Delhi but his formative years were spent in Jaipur, wherein began a passion of color and pageantry of Rajasthan. Desire of learning Spanish brought him to JNU, and from there it took him to Madrid.
On his return he joined the travel trade. His love of travel and history took him to many exotic parts of this fascinating sub-continent. Later this was to be the subject of his photographs and books. The towns, villages, places of worship, festivals and people are the subjects, which fascinate Tarun. He goes back to them time and again only to encounter them refreshingly different each time. Being a self taught photographer his initial encouragement came when an American travel company used his photos to publish their brochure. After that his work was regularly published in USA, UK and in Spain.
In the year 1995 he published his first coffee table book “Majestic India”. Which already has gone in for the third edition. Then followed his second photo book “Majestic Jaipur”. It already is a runaway success. “Holy Cow and the other Indian Stories” is his third book. He lives in Delhi where he is working on his forthcoming books.
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