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India (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) Paperback – 31 Aug 2001
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Includes a stunning colour section featuring the highlights of the wonder that is India; a colour section showing the magnificent array of Indian arts and crafts; accommodation and transport options for all budgets; a clear and easy-to-follow section on the delicacies of Indian cuisine; and bargain shopping tips.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Given the India guidebook's thickness and weight, I've found it convenient to cut it into sections and only take the parts with me for the regions I plan to visit. It's still desirable to get supplemental maps for any city or region one plans to spend much time in, as the maps in the book are usually pretty minimal in terms of detail. And other guidebooks do indeed have useful information this one doesn't (browse the travel shelves in your favorite bookstore to find the additional guides most suitable for your own interests and style of travel). I also advocate reading the better novels set in India, to experience insights into daily life that guidebooks can only hint at.
No single guidebook on India can be all things to all persons for all occasions, but this one surely comes the closest, especially for travelers who don't have their arrangements taken care of on organized tours.
In contrast, the Rough Guide spends much more space discussing the background and culture of individual locations, and is packed with lots of interesting details not found in the Lonely Planet. The RG spends less space on restaurant/hotel reviews, which was perfectly fine - I'd rather know more about the places I'm visiting than worry how much chicken shahjani costs at some particular restaurant.
The tone and approach of the books are different too - the RG takes a much more optimistic, romantic view of India, while the LP is often so terse and cynical that it doesn't really inspire you to visit many wonderful places.
Get the LP for the listings. Get the RG to appreciate the beauty of India.