Most of us grew up listening to the parables from the Indian epics and reading mythological tales from Amar Chitra Katha. They always left us curious for more and their vastness and enigma intrigued our young minds.
As we grew up, we carried some of the fables from the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata with us, and some faded into oblivion.
Here is a collection of the best books to read on Indian Mythology, that would not only help us remember the good old sagas but also give us a whole new perspective of the characters.
1. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
This book is written from the perspective of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. The narrative is extremely engaging and once you start this book, there’s no going back. You will be introduced to the human part of all the characters that makes you relate to each character better.
Also, since this is a female protagonist book with a great influence of the strong females of Mahabharata, this book would give us a break from the legends of our stoic heroes and would make us see their shortcomings in a better way.
Despite there being some references from folklore and not the actual Vyasa- Mahabharata, this book makes you question some integral parts of this epic.
The writing style of this best-selling author will keep you captivated till the very end and the beauty of the words weaved into an insightful tale would make your minds full and your hearts even fuller.
A similar book by the author:
The Forest of Enchantments
2. Myth = Mithya: Decoding Hindu Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik
Devdutt Pattanaik is a well-known author who is best known for simplifying scriptures to a fun yet intuitive tale with the use of quirky comics that are hand-drawn by the author himself. This book gives a modern-day analysis of the traditional tales.
The decoding of this mythological fiction starts with the retelling of a tale and what follows is an in-depth analysis combined with metaphors and anecdotes. This is more of a hand-book and can be read again and again.
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Similar books by the author-
- The pregnant king
- Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata
- Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of Ramayana
- Shyam: An Illustrated Retelling of the Bhagavata
- My Hanuman Chalisa -English
3. The Shiva Trilogy by Amish
You know a book is legendary when it makes you cry. Not the plot, but the intricate description followed by pure emotion that is beautifully incorporated into words.
It is a very famous work of fiction, and all the hype surrounding these books is worth it. The lovely narration takes you afloat into the land of Meluha and makes you relive every moment of this popular folk-lore.
Much is said about this book, and one can only get to its core once they start reading the book. Indeed, it is one of the best books to read on Indian Mythology.
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A similar book by the author-
Amish’s Ramachandra Series
4. ASURA Tale of the Vanquished: The Story of Ravana and His People by Anand Neelakantan
In the world of fiction, a rebel is always welcomed. This story is a narration that goes way differently from the convention. The person who is the prime villain of Ramayana- Ravana, is the protagonist of this book.
While most tales just go on and on about how Ravana was the worst person alive, this one humanizes him. Although some of his actions are not justifiable, this book makes one question the hate that this particular antagonist has been receiving for ages.
Indian mythology often focuses on the black and white of things, but this saga helps you see the grey areas surrounding our epics.
Similar books by the author–
- Ajaya: Duryodhana’s Mahabharata
- Valmiki’s Women
5. Ahalya: The Sati Series by Koral Dasgupta
Another norm-breaking book that is enthralling and once you read it, a thousand questions keep you awake and another thousand deliberations bombard your mind.
In this series, the author revisits the women of substance whose characters were plundered yet defeated all the odds only to emerge as the strongest women of their times.
For any feminist, this book is a treat and it also helps one understand the complexities of human nature and how the purity of mind precedes the purity of body.
Living in a culture where women are abashed for the slightest defiance and where laws are framed in a way that they best cater to the interests of men, this thought-provoking book makes one appreciate the women who broke the norms and rose to their fame.
A similar book by the author-
Kunti: Sati Series II
With modernization, our take on various aspects of life is changing, so accordingly, our viewpoint for mythology needs to change too.
These books do exactly that. These were some of the best books to read on Indian Mythology, which are truly the epitome of tradition yet they somehow make us rethink our beliefs of the sagas that are instilled in us since time immemorial.