Divining the Deccan - A Motorbike to the Heart of India

Divining the Deccan - A Motorbike to the Heart of India

Product ID: 7345

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Author: Bill Aitken
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 279
ISBN/UPC (if available): 019 566350 0


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, mesmerized 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.


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 relished 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

2.Ganesha Sharanam

3.Diverse Pigments

4.Over the Ghats

5.Sab ka Malik Ek

6.Blow Horn, Keep distance

7.Southern approaches

8.I Like this Panduranga

9.Bull in the China Shop

10.Bijapur: Monumental Joy

11.Forever Blowing Bubbles

12.Wandering in Uncertain Places

13.Anvil of the Creator

14.Golden Handshake

15.Royal Route

16.Ganga Snana, Tunga Pana

17.Theology on the Rocks

18.In a Manner Most Singular

19.Honeymoon Special

20.Spring to Both Body and Soul

21.Cold Waters in a Dry and Thirsty Land

22.Divinity Exploring its Own Wonders