We travelled extensively around Delhi, then took cars, trains and flights to Rajastan, Agra, UP, MP, Kajurahu, Varanassi, Mumbai and finally Goa. In spite of taking the most enormous precautions, and thumbing the book well before we even left the UK - we did get ill. Thanks to the book, we knew what to do, and where to go. Well-thumbed the book has now found its way to a couple of friends who are planning an India trip with it. The Health Section of the book really saved our lives, particularly when we were nearly killed in a car crash on the dusty road to Kajurahou. I did not get ill when I visited the largest jail in the Asian continent in Delhi to do some research, but in a five star hotel! This book is a must for anyone travelling to India.
What I like about Rough Guides is that as well as giving you potted information about sights and attractions they are very strong on historical and cultural contexts. This edition is a balanced overview of this fascinating country in which travelling can be truly exhilirating and occasionally irritating. The introduction of the book gives you some 'must sees' and 'when to go' advice. For those interested in Northern India I would recommend travelling in November as flights are relatively cheap this time of year and the weather is hot but not unpleasant The main part of the book is split up into India's different regions. There is a chapter on Rajasthan, Goa, Mumbai etc. I mainly stuck to the Rajasthan section. I found the information on this area very useful and I used it as a basis of my trip. At the end of each section there is information regarding train/plane times. I found this essential, and Rough Guides are the best in this respect. Another reason I liked this guidebook is it's 'reading list' towards the back of the book. In this section, the editor recommends reading material. Using this as a cue I read the various books by Indian authors which really brought India to life. On several occasions on I leant my bok to fellow travellers as the historical and cultural sections were much more instructive then the LP guide books. There is also a short section on India's amazing food . I did not try any of the recipes but I think this is a good idea. I do have some slight criticisms of the book. It should have a larger section on 'Crimes and annoyances'. People do have problems in India, but with common sense you should have a great time. Plan your holiday well in advance. I recommend that you learn a bit of the local language, be very careful about what you eat and drink, do not stand out as a tourist and make yourself aware of scams. But don't get too paranoid-look out for the plentiful genuine and honest local characters as well as scam artists. Also, this book is too big to carry around with you if you are backpacking. Why not take out the pages you need for your journey rather then taking the whole book? Your load will be lighter and you will look less conspicious. My other criticism is that Rough Guides can sometimes be a bit political and left field. Please, let the reader make it's own mind up! All in all, I found this guide to be very useful. You can enjoy reading it before your trip to India, and as invaluable and entertaining read (especially on the long journeys) whilst you are there. Enjoy your trip!