5 thoughts on “Comments on Blue Guide India

  1. Dear Mr. Miller and your colleagues at Blue Guides: It is hard to believe that one $20 purchase can make a trip that cost me several thousand, but that is the case. The Blue Guide to India was absolutely invaluable during my month long stay in India in December. I found the book authoritative, accurate, easy to follow, and filled with good editorial comments and suggestions. I know that the book invites critical comments so that the work may be improved, but I don’t really have much to say about improvements. Other than the company’s commitment to keep the book updated, I really have no ideas how it might be made better. Here is what I really liked about the guide. First, it was easy to follow. I travelled through much of India alone. I sometimes had a driver, but where I went was largely my decision. The guide was absolutely wonderful in laying out how to go about touring through a site or city. I was initially concerned that India might be difficult to navigate, but after using the book for a few days, I knew that would not be the case. Second, it was authoritative. For about half the trip, I joined a guided tour. I regularly compared what the guide had to say with what we were being told by our guide, and I consistently found the guide’s descriptions better – fuller and more precise. Finally, I have grown to enjoy (and be amused by) the guide’s selections for hotels and restaurants. Nothing is run of the mill. On the contrary, I count on the guide for authentic and maybe a bit quirky suggestions that enhance a trip. If there was any problem with the India guide, it was that there were fewer suggestions, particularly restaurants, than I would have liked. I’ve been using Blue Guides for over 40 years. I’ve always thought they were the best guides available. However, I think you have outdone yourselves with this one. It was my best friend for a month, and I appreciated it immensely. Best wishes, [Reader] Washington, DC

  2. The Good Book Guide in its May 2012 “Focus on Blue Guides”: “… excellent sections on the history, religions and culture of this extraordinary country.”

  3. I WAS DELIGHTED TO READ ABOUT SAM MILLER’S DISCOVERY OF NARNAUL EXECPT THAT WE MIGHT NEED TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU REGARDING HIS DESCRIPTION OF THE FIVE STORY RESIDENTIAL COMPLEX CALLED BIRBAL KA CHHAATA. TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE THIS EDIFICE WAS BUILT BY MY ANCESTOR RAJA RAGHUNATH RAI BAHADUR IN THE 17TH CENTURY. HE WAS A NOBLE AT THE MUGHAL COURT IN DELHI AND WAS A SON OF THE PRINCELY HOUSE OF KUKRAJ. THIS WAS HIS PERSONAL RESIDENCE. HE LATER MOVED TO THE COURT OF SHAHJAHAN AT THE RED FORT. MY GREAT-GREAT GRAND UNCLE MAHARAJA LAL AFTER WHOM IS NAMED AN ENTIRE STREET IN CIVIL LINES DELHI VISITED THIS HAVELI WHICH WAS ALWAYS KNOWN AS KAKARANIYON BAHADUR’S KII HAVELI. OUR FAMILY HAS BEEN VISITING THIS HAVELI FOR SOMETIME NOW AND WOULD IDEALLY LIKE YOU TO HELP US GET ITS NAME BACK AND IF POSSIBLE TO URGE THE HARYANA GOVERNMENT TO RESTORE IT AND CONVERT IT TINTO A MEMORIAL FOR THE PUBLIC IN THE NAME OF RAJA RAGHUNATH WHO’S NAME FINDS A MENTION IN ANY WORTHWHILE BOOK ON MUGHAL HISTORY. YOU MIGHT FIND IT USEFUL TO READ RIZVI SAHB’S VOLUMES ON INDIA AND PERHAPS A BOOK WRITTEN BY MY DISTANT AUNT MADHUR JAFFERY, A GLOBAL INDIAN ENTILTED ‘CLIMBING THE MANGO TREES‘ PUBLISHED BY EBURY RANDOM HOUSE WOULD GIVE YOU A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF OUR ROOTS AT NARNUAL AND OUR PROJENITOR RAJA RAGHUNATH . ERSTWHILE PRINCESS RACHNA BAHADUR PLS DO GET IN TOUCH WITH US AS WE WOULD LIKE TO GET THE ORIGINS OF THIS COMPLEX KNOWN PUBLICLY SO THAT THERE IS NO CONFUSION IN THE FUTURE FOR YOUR PUBLICATION.

    • Sam Miller / author’s response

      Thanks to Rachna Bahadur for your feedback on Birbal ka Chattha in Narnaul. Unless we’re able to discover old land records it’s probably not going to be possible to decide who actually built this wonderful (and, sadly, decaying) building. The state archaeological department has ascribed it to Rai Mukund Das based on an inscription at the nearby caravanserai (see http://mahendragarh.gov.in/historical_places.asp); it’s an ascription that’s also made in Alfieri’s Islamic Architecture of the Indian subcontinent. That doesn’t mean that I think your family traditions are wrong – I have no way of knowing what the truth is. You’ll note my deliberate wording in the book where I say ’seems’ to have been constructed for Rai Mukand Das. Whoever built it, I think what is most important now is that the building gets sensitively restored.

  4. I have road-tested this guide pre-publication on a trip around the little visited state of Madhya Pradesh and can vouch for its accuracy, its wit, discrimination and remarkable comprehensiveness. Other guide books may give fuller advice on the night club scene of Goa or the pubs of Bangalore; but there exists in print no better one volume guide to India’s architectural legacy, and how to get to see it. I’ve been waiting many years for a guide like this, and look forward to packing it in my rucksack for many trips to come.

    http://www.williamdalrymple.uk.com/

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