Released by William Dalrymple


Claudia Hyles, in a lifetime of journeys to the sub-continent, has never been deterred by someone saying “Don’t go, there’s nothing to see.” Discovering Rikki Tikki Tavi’s garden at Allahabad, the original Indore location of the National Gallery of Australia’s Brancusi Birds in Space or a twilight glimpse of the site of the Battle of Plassey are all tiny pieces in her giant Indian jigsaw. From paradise gardens to cautionary tales for children, cricket balls to carrots, solitary days in country buses to bathing in the Ganges with 30 million others, India’s colour, complexity and vitality is painted vividly.


Hyles visited India for the first time in 1968 as a university student. She has found many ways to return. Leading tour groups, purchasing for art gallery shops, attending festivals, working for six months for the Jaipur Virasat Foundation and for sheer unadulterated pleasure. She has written many articles and several books on food, art and life and has been a book reviewer since last century.