Divining The Deccan (A Motorbike to the Heart of India)

Divining The Deccan (A Motorbike to the Heart of India)

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Book Specification

Item Code: IDH144
Author: Bill Aitken
Publisher: Oxford India Paperbacks
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 0195663500
Pages: 279(B & W Illus:14, Map: 1)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.1" X 5.1"

Book Description


Travel anywhere in the subcontinent hints at the possibility of finding treasure underfoot. To dig the middle ground where Afyan tongues yield to Dravidian with the implement of English however is to acknowledge at the outset only a scratching of the surface. When the spade does strike gold, the theologically inclined, who celebrate at taverns overnight, have to admit to the occasional stagger next morning. I would like to thank Ivan Hutnik for finding the time to read the manuscript and apply a steadying hand. I also wish to thank Rukun Advani for his inspiration and Anuradha Roy for her editorial aplomb.


In this fascinating account of his travels through the Deccan, Aitken describes the Lure of the awesome plateau country to which he returned every year for twelve years, mescerized by a rocky landscape in which theology and topography are hard to disentangle. He tells us the story of the region, its many religions, warring sects, kings and queens. On his motorbike he goes deep into the numinous bouldered terrain of the Deccan, visiting the birthplaces of Shivaji and Tipu Sultan, the ashrams of Shirdi and Puttaparthi, the monumental sites of Badami and Pattadakal, Bijapur and Gulbarga, Hampi and Lepakshi. Aitken investigates gods, godmen and cults in search of the truly spiritual, finding it in Sai Baba of

Puttaparthi, among others.

Wry, profound, vivid, passionate and informative by turn, this is an unusual guide to the Deccan, indeed to India, in a far deeper

sense than usual

Bill Aitken is a well-known and versatile writer, and the author of

several books.
Excerpts from Reviews

'Unfailingly interesting and readable it makes the heart glow.'

-India Today

'Unusually perceptive and observant.' - Indian Review of books
' [a book] done with a dispassionate searching eye that only erudition and knowledge can bring about.'

-The Statesman

' Aitken clearly relishes studying not only the history and geography of a place, which he does brilliantly, but also its human foibles and dramas.'

-The Hindu

1 Core Concern 1
2 Ganesha Sharanam 16
3 Diverse Pigments 28
4 Over the Ghats 42
5 Sab Ka Malik Ek 53
6 Blow Horn, Keep Distance 68
7 Southern Approaches 78
8 I Like this Panduranga 93
9 Bull in the China Shop 103
10 Bijapur: Monumental Joy 113
11 Forever Blowing Bubbles 130
12 Wandering in Uncertain Places 142
13 Anvil of the Creator 155
14 Golden Handshake 170
15 Royal Route 182
16 Ganga Snana, Tunga Pana 191
17 Theology on the Rocks 205
18 In a manner Most Singular 222
19 Honeymoon Special 233
20 Spring to Both Body and Soul 245
21 Cold Waters in a Dry and Thirsty Land 257
22 Divinity Exploring its Own Wonders 271

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