6 Books with Indian Festivals

6 Books with Indian Festivals

We all love the Big Fat Indian Festivals! And books which have these festivals as part of the storyline, sometimes even playing the role of the protagonist which add another layer of intrigue (usually) or chaos (always) to the storyline.

Here are 6 popular books that have really brought the Indian festival alive through its writing and storytelling –

“The Palace of Illusions” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni:

Step into the enchanting world of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s “The Palace of Illusions,” where the festival of Diwali plays a pivotal role in the narrative. This retelling of the Mahabharata through the eyes of Draupadi weaves a spellbinding tale of love, loss, and destiny against the backdrop of the Festival of Lights. As the characters light lamps and exchange sweets, the essence of Diwali becomes a metaphor for the triumph of light over darkness in this literary masterpiece.

“The Guide” by R.K. Narayan:

Set against the backdrop of the festival of Krishna Janmashtami, this timeless classic follows the journey of a tourist guide named Raju, whose life takes unexpected turns amidst the revelry of the festival. Narayan’s vivid descriptions transport readers to the bustling streets of Malgudi, where the spirit of Janmashtami infuses every corner with joy and celebration.

“The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri:

Jhumpa Lahiri’s poignant novel, “The Namesake,” takes readers on a journey through the life of Gogol Ganguli, whose unique name becomes a constant reminder of his immigrant identity. The story unfolds against the backdrop of Durga Puja, a festival that symbolizes the triumph of the goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Lahiri skillfully incorporates the festivities into the narrative, offering readers a glimpse into the cultural tapestry of Bengali celebrations.

Books with Indian Festivals as part of the story

“The Feast of Roses” by Indu Sundaresan:

Indu Sundaresan’s historical novel, “The Feast of Roses,” transports readers to the royal courts of medieval India during the Mughal era. Set against the grandeur of Akbar’s reign, the tale unfolds during the celebration of Eid. Sundaresan vividly captures the opulence of the festivities, providing readers with a sensory experience of the grand feasts, vibrant colors, and the spirit of unity that defines this Muslim festival.

“The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy:

This book intertwines the narrative with the festival of Onam. Set in Kerala, this poignant tale explores themes of love, loss, and social hierarchies against the backdrop of the grand Onam festivities. Roy’s lyrical prose captures the essence of this harvest festival, from the tantalizing aroma of traditional Onam Sadhya to the electrifying snake boat races on the backwaters.

“The Immortals of Meluha” by Amish Tripathi:

Set in the ancient city of Meluha, this gripping tale reimagines the legend of Lord Shiva, with the festival of Shivratri playing a pivotal role in the narrative. Tripathi’s vivid world-building brings to life the grandeur of Shivratri celebrations, from the mesmerizing Nataraja dance performances to the sacred rituals honoring the Neelkanth.

In these books, the Indian festivals serve as more than just cultural celebrations or add-ons to complete the word count – The festivals instead provide a captivating backdrop for storytelling, the unfolding of the plot and offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of India’s cultural heritage.

Have you read these books? Which was your favorite and why?

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘BookishCafeBloghop2024’ hosted by Rakhi and Samata Dey Bose

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Mads’ Cookhouse.

34 comments found

  1. I have read only The Immortals of Meluha from this list, so you can given me new reading goals now. I have had the Palace of Illusions for long on my list, so that goes first, and then the rest later.

  2. I feel happy that I have read some of the books from this list of impactful books. I still have to read “The Palace of Illusions ” By Chitra Divakurni and “The Feast of roses ” by Indu Sunderesan. The former has been highly recommended by many reviewers.

  3. I read Arundhati book and Mehula one . I like the narration revolving around the festival. Rest of books are new for me. Our of which I would like to check ‘The Guide”

  4. Palace of illusion is one of my favorites. How can I deny the guide movie and book’s hold special place in my heart. thanks for sharing these gems

  5. Sadly, I haven’t read any of these books yet but 2 of these are on my TBR list, The Palace of Illusions and The God of Small Things. I hope to read at least one of these this year.

  6. I have read all the books you have listed apart from the Feast of Roses. It sounds interesting. Going to check it out for sure. Thanks for sharing this unique book list.

  7. I really like this idea of writing about festivals celebrated in books… I wouldn’t have thought of it ever. I have read four of the six books in your list and I remember the festivals in each of them faintly except in The God of small things as when I read the book looong ago it was a new festival to me n I was quite curious to know more. Those days we didn’t have the ease n accessibility of a search engine like we have now… so my knowledge was limited to what was described in the book.

  8. I find books that weave Indian festivals into their narratives incredibly captivating. They transport the readers into a world brimming with culture, tradition, and joyous celebrations.

  9. Very impressive list of books. I have read the immortals of Meluha and loved it, will add others in my TBR for sure. Thanks for the recommendations

  10. I’ve read Meluha and NameSake, both of which are amazing. I might take up the rest in the coming days.

  11. I’ve read only three of these and God of Small Things is an all-time favorite. You’ve won my vote of confidence with that book on your list and now I’m definitely gonna check out the others, one of which has been on my TBR for long (The Palace of Illusions) Thanks for motivating me to pick it up at last

  12. The choice of books are definately a good one and I cant stop appreciating you. You made the best use of the prompt and came up with a wonderful piece which I really enjoyed reading. Keep writing and winning hearts.

  13. I’m glad that you chose to write about these books and I do spot two of my favourite the palace of illusions and the one from Shiva trilogy. I’m yet to read the rest will do so

  14. Your list is very helpful. I couldn’t think of many books when I came across this topic. But now after reading your blog, I’m in awe! I’ve heard of all these books and they are in my TBR but haven’t read them except for Palace of Illusions. Gonna read them all soon !

  15. I liked the way you included so many festivals in your post. You have covered festivals from every region. I have read a few of these books and they were amazing. Nice recommendations.

  16. I would certainly like to pick up The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan. I don’t know much about EID, so this would be a good way to learn. Also, Guide is high on my list. Have seen the movie, of course, and that piqued my interest in the book.

  17. The palace of illusions context where the festival of lights that is Diwali has been included so well and the retelling of Mahabharata against the backdrop of the same that I got to know from your write-up is enhancing my long-drawn interest in reading this book by one of my favorite authors

  18. I have read most of these books and although some of them highlight on a God or so, or the culture of a state at times, I really don’t think any of these highlight any festival as such. But yes India is a country of diverse culture and festivals are a part of our lives integrally

  19. I have read all of these books except for Namesake. For some reason, I have always been unsure whether I would like the author’s writing style. That being said, I do have the book in my bookshelf, I guess its time I give the book a try!

  20. Four books from this list are already on my reading list, but I didn’t know they were tied to Indian festivals. After reading this blog, I’m really excited to get started on them!

  21. I’ve read a few books from your list and loved them. The palace of illusions is on my shelf for a long time now. Also Guide is another book that I wanted to read. You have convinced me to pick it up as my next read thank you for sharing

  22. Your choice of books on Indian festivals are interesting. The palace of illusions is a very good one and so is the the god of small things. Though I’ve read almost many here, I’m eyeing to add a couple more to my TBR.

  23. This blog post beautifully captures the essence of Indian festivals as portrayed in literature. It’s incredible how authors weave the spirit of celebration, tradition, and community into their stories, offering readers a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of India. From the joyous energy of Diwali to the spiritual significance of Navratri, these books allow us to experience the magic of festivals in a whole new way. I’m inspired to explore these literary gems and immerse myself in the cultural wonders they depict!

  24. “The Feast Of Roses” is a new recommendation to me in this list. Special thanks to penning down and helping readers like me to pick the next read. It’s always a good practice to hop into the festivals through the book reader’s eye. Not to miss mentioning your composure in this blog without missing any compound in your presentation…!!!

  25. I’ve read 3 books of the 6 mentioned. Palace of Illusion, Namesake and immortals of meluha and 3 are such wonderful reads. Palace of Illusion anyways holds a special place for me as I’ve loved how a story as Maharashtra was for the 1st time told from a woman’s perspective. Kudos to the author for the sheer attempt to write this book.

  26. Except for The Namesake, I haven’t read any of these. But I’m very intrigued after reading your descriptions.

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