Solo travellers often find themselves in the company of books as they hit the road in search of their own stories. To spend some quality time while waiting for a bus or staying awake all night, having a perfect book in your bag is important.
India is a land of diverse culture and rich history, both oral and written. Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages of the world and some of the Hindu texts date back to thousands of years.
These texts, over the years, have formed a bank of abundant mythological stories and experiences emerging out of India and has attracted the curiosity of thinkers and writers from around the world for centuries.
In India, there are a number of authors who are choosing to explore the arena of mythology by adding modern perspectives to the old stories. We have chosen five such authors for you because of their distinct style and popularity among the masses.
Here are the five authors you can read on your next solo trip:
Also, known as India’s literary popstar, Amish is the name behind popular book series called Shiva Trilogy. All three books of his trilogy, namely Immortals of Meluha, Secret of The Nagas and Oath of The Vayuputras, became bestsellers with millions of copies being sold in the market.
The author is now working on another series of books on the life of Lord Ram of which two books have already been released. Amish’s books gained acceptance among the people of all age groups because of his use of modern and somewhat rational portrayal of mythological stories and characters.
The stories are written geographical and scientific examples and the characters come alive for the reader who can relate with them. Having been received so well by the readers, some of his books are also rumoured to get adopted as movies soon.
For those who love the component of mystery mixed with religion and are fans of Dan Brown, Ashwin’s books are a must read. With compelling storyline mixed with alternative stories and conspiracy, his books keep the reader captivated till the end.
He forayed into the world of writing with his book Chanakya’s Chant which received a good welcome from the readers. He has also authored other thrillers like Rozabal Line and Krishna Key. All three books have been bestsellers in the Indian market.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Indian mythology, like other older narratives from around the world, has been prejudiced against the women. The need for a feminist perspective has inspired various writers to write a retelling of these myths from the point of view of women.
One of the most impressive books in this genre has been by Chitra. Her novel Palace of Illusions, which was published in 2008, tells the story of Mahabharata from the perspective of Draupadi.
The book got a warm reception from Indian and international readers, especially women and also triggered a debate over women characters in the mythological stories.
Giving a new life to the ancient scriptures like Mahabharata and Ramayana through his illustrations and modern form of writing, Devdutt has reached out to a wide readership.
He has also incorporated Indian mythology in modern business practices in books like Business Sutra: An Indian Approach to Management.
His simple retelling of the scriptures and fascinating stories from the Indian mythology took him to the list of top best selling Indian authors in 2014.
Known to have started a new form of writing – the counter telling of mythology – Anand Neelakantan’s first novel ‘Asura’ was the story of Ramayan from the perspective of Ravana.
His first book became a bestseller within a week of its launch in May 2014. He has written two more books based on Mahabharata since then.
Anand also made news recently after the first book, part of a trilogy as a prequel to the popular movie Bahubali, was recently released in March 2017. His books have been translated in various languages like Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Gujarati, etc.
So, these are our five best Indian mythology authors. If you haven’t read any of the books by them, then pick up one soon and give it a read. If you have read their books and have any thoughts to share, please comment below. You can also tell us about any other authors who you think should have made it to the list!