Journeys Across India



Journeys Across India will take you to places where standard history books seldom go—to the life and times of ordinary people and extraordinary places more than a century ago.’—Dhritiman Chaterji, actor

Durgacharan Rakshit (1854-1938) was a scholar and a business owner. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, he set out on an unprecedented set of travels that took him to nearly all corners of India. Travelling by foot, boat, train, carriage and more, he traversed the length and breadth of the country—quite literally.

In this detailed journal written over several years, Rakshit recounts seeing the temples of Orissa and the small towns of Assam; he describes the mountainous heights of Kashmir, the beauty of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the magnificent Jain temples near Mount Abu, and the transcendent Taj Mahal. In the south, he travels through Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, visiting cities, temples and towns, describing in detail what were for him unknown customs and ways of living.

Everywhere, Durgacharan Rakshit turns his enquiring eye on the way men and women look, dress, and their religious and traditional beliefs. From the elaborate rituals of major temples, to the price of bananas and betel nuts, nothing escapes his meticulous notice. Along the way he meets poets, administrators, wandering sadhus, businessmen, householders and more—all of which he records in his journal.

Journeys Across India, first published in Bengali as Bharat Pradakshin in 1903— and still in print—is an invaluable and exhaustive portrait of India and Indian society rooted in history, and will be of immense interest to both scholars and the lay reader.

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