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March 31 , 2009

If It's Monday It Must Be Madurai

A Conducted Tour of India


This delightful travelogue around ten conducted tours is full of rich experiences: hanging on to a camel in the Thar, rediscovering music on the trail of Kabir, joining thousands on an ancient pilgrimage in Maharashtra, crossing living root bridges near Cherrapunji, and more. As much about people as places, the book is also a reflection on the nature of popular travel today marked by the packaging of experiences, the formation of tourist economies and compulsive picture-taking. How this influences tourists comes through vividly: in their creating a ‘mini- India’ in a bus, while racing through treasured sights in Europe; in their perfunctory devotion while hopping from temple to temple in Tamil Nadu; in their ‘enjoying’ with sex workers far away from home. Deeply felt, ironic, and often comic, the book entertains and enlightens, and becomes an idiosyncratic portrait of India and her people.

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