An illustrated story of Hanuman, the heroic monkey God of the epic tale Ramayana.
Its a simple story of a monkey rescuing the princess from the clutches of the villain. On a metaphorical level its a story of hope, faith, confidence, devotion, belief, righteousness, goodness prevailing over evil.
A simple tale assumes mythological proportions and a simple devoted monkey becomes a venerated god. People pray to Hanuman to remove all the obstacles in their life. There are temples devoted exclusively to Hanuman and of course he gets his permanent place at the feet of Lord Rama, the virtuous king.
The illustrations in the book are absolutely exquisite and mind blowing. Goodreads 5/5
This is an excellent compilation of stories relating to temples of India, from how the temple came to be formed with a mythological story invariably tied to it. The author then goes on to talk about all aspects relating to that temple including the main deities, the offerings provided, the rituals, the food, dances, arts, folklores, sculptures, colours etc. There are stories on how the Jagannath Temple in Puri came into being, or the story behind the modak at Siddhivinayak Temple, Prabhadevi or why a Hidimba Devi temple is situated in a forest in Manali. There are also short stories on the architectural marvels like the Sun temple in Konark, the Hampi grandeur, the magnificent Ellora temple in Aurangabad. Stories behind the Shekawati paintings at Raghunathji Mandir, Sikar, Rajasthan to the Picchwai painting at the Nathdwara temple etc. to animals, vehicles, birds, forests galore. The author has meticulously put together this collection, which is quite humongous because she has covered the length and breadth of the country, not sure, if she has travelled to all these places or referenced it, in either case, it is quite an awesome effort. After reading this book you will become aware of the rich spiritual history of India. Goodreads 5/5
Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik, arguably the best writer in Indian mythology today. This book is a kind of a primer, a kinda FAQ on Indian mythology. You have a brief introduction into all the gods – Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, Indra, Ganesha and the devis Sita, Parvati, Lakshmi etc. There is a brief insight into a whole lot of things covered by the author for instance “Ganesha is known as Vighna-karta and Vighna-harta, both a creator and remover of obstructions, how is that?” or for instance “Paintings depict Krishna in blue, what does that mean?”. There is a lot of entries on vedas, upanishads, puranas, sukhtas, devis, rishis, asuras, their weapons, vehicles, foods, animals, their boons & curses, the importance of pilgrimage, sanctity of the Ganga, relevance of the Bhagvad Gita. All along the author also cautions that mythology does not have any meaning sometimes, there is no logic – its just a belief. Good book to read and keep also to dip into from time to time. Goodreads 4/5