on September 20, 2003
One should never rely on just one source for a major adventure, as any trip to India is, and this very complete guide is no exception. This guide has excellent information on the history, culture and people of India, and the color section on Sacred India is a nice touch. It has lots of very practical information on what to bring, what you can and can't photograph, what to read before you go, how to avoid "cultural misunderstandings." It's helpful for preparing people for the assault Westerners often experience--ask for directions and you have a friend/guide for life, often accompanied by a very aggressive demand for money. The health and safety information is also pretty good--except that they say that tap water in cities is OK to drink--ignore this advice! I find this guide limited in its retaurant and hotel selections, especially if you're not a low-budget or student traveller. Also, information changes constantly--internet cafes spring up and close overnight, new restaurants and hotels open up every day, and the political situation bears watching up until the day you leave. And of course no guide book has really good maps. But why limit yourself--the internet is chock full of information on this wonderful, confusing, fascinating country!