The Rough Guide to India
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  • The Rough Guide to India
  • David Abram, Nick Edwards, Mike Ford, Daniel Jacobs, and Shafik Meghji
  • Published by: Rough Guide
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2011

The Rough Guide to India is a great introduction to both the language and culture of India. This book helps students learn some useful phrases and words while going over information about the religion, culture, and touristic sites located throughout India.

Review posted: 28/01/2014
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What if you know how to speak a language but understand nothing of the culture or country? It’s just not good enough. If you are studying a language, you should do your best to learn something about the people who speak it and the land where it’s spoken, even if you don’t plan on going there any time soon. If you’re studying Hindi, then one choice of books might be The Rough Guide to India.

Rough Guides have been around for a while, helping to guide tourists across many countries and regions. Most people wouldn’t think to buy a Rough Guide book unless there are plans to travel, but these books are a wealth of very specific knowledge. This book will tell you a bit about many regions across the country. Not only will it lead you to the best site seeing spots in India, it will give you an in depth historical lesson about temples, mosques, festivals, and much more. It makes Indian politics, independence, the situation in Kashmir, and other topics very accessible and easy to read about by giving a condensed yet mostly accurate account. One should note that the book dedicates very little time to the Northeastern states of India. If you are studying Hindi, you may be less interested in the Northeast anyway as Hindi is not the primary language in those seven states, but it’s still an important thing to know prior to buying the book.

"Most people wouldn’t think to buy a Rough Guide book unless there are plans to travel, but these books are a wealth of very specific knowledge."

You may know that the majority of India is Hindu, but do you know that Hinduism is practiced in many different ways throughout the country? This book gives you a crash course not only about Hinduism, but also Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Sikhism, and other religions practiced in India.

The book does provide a few pages of simple Hindi phrases, but if you have already studied Hindi then these pages will prove rather useless. The phrases are as they state, basic. Given in list form and minus the Hindi script, the phrase section is only helpful if you’re stuck in a pinch and need to say something standard. If you’re looking to really study Hindi, then you will definitely need additional learning material.

In a country as vast and diverse as India, even if you do travel to the country, there’s a good chance you will only have time to see a fraction of it. But you can still learn about the country as a whole without visiting every major area in India by simply reading Rough Guide to India. This book is great to have when you want to learn about the culture and touristic spots of India, but the book seems to lack quite a bit when it comes to useful language learning content.



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