Indian Mythology is full of intriguing stories that will leave its readers enchanted. Beautiful dialogue rich with characters with divine powers, magic, and sacred religion, these books will certainly leave your mind rich with a culture full of imagination and history.
There is an abundance of Indian mythology for those wanting to seek out their charming tales. This is a culture that has always been rich in mythology with tales of Mahabharata and Ramayana but has seen an increase in fantasy books in the past decade.
Those who seek tales from Indian mythology have happened upon the right place. We have compiled a list of the best Indian Mythology books for those in need of a fascinating story full of cultural history and imagination.
Read: Big Lists of Greek Myths
In no specific order, here are the best Indian Mythology books for you to enjoy.
1. The Palace of Illusions – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
This bestselling author and poets tell us the story of Mahabharata, one of the Sanskrit epic sagas of ancient India. This book narrates this classic tale from Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, frame of reference.
A suspenseful story, Divakaruni takes on an insightful journey through a time of history weaved with myth and magic. Draupadi is a fiery female on a quest to reclaim the birthright of her five husbands, leading us on a path of love, war, and magic.
The Palace of Illusions is a fantastic starting point for those wanting to dip their toes into Indian Mythology.
2. My Gita – Devdutt Pattankaik
Not to be mistaken for a translation, this is Dr. Pattanaik’s take on the most famous book of Hinduism. If understanding the Gita, ‘ The Song of God’ and it’s 700-verse Sanskrit scripture is something that intrigues you, Dr. Pattanaik’s thematic arrangement and precise breakdown is a perfect read.
In a world that chooses argument over a conversation, Dr. Pattanaik focuses on the importance of how Krishna helps Arjuna to understand and comprehend rather than make judgments.
Accompanied by illustrations and simple diagrams, this book was written and drawn by this master storyteller, is an engaging and informative read, and should definitely be on your list if you enjoy Sanskrit.
3. Asura: Tale of the Vanquished – Anand Neelakantan
A fresh perspective on the ancient tale of Ramayana, this book focuses on Ravana’s perspective and his way of looking at life. It is another look at the age-old epic of Ramayana and provides an alternative narrative between the King of Lanka and a common man.
There is a lot in Indian Mythology regarding Rama, the incarnation of God, who defeated the evil Ravana, but nothing from his perspective.
This unconventional book is unique in that it takes out all the divine elements and instead uses real-world explanations in this tale about victory and defeat.
This is an enthralling read for those who are after a take from the other side of this ancient story.
4. The Pregnant King – Devdutt Pattanaik
Another by Dr. Pattanaik, this is a story set in the backdrop of the Mahabharata, following Yuvanashva, a childless King, who makes the mistake of drinking a magic potion intended to make his queens pregnant.
Rich the complexity of Hindu mythology, this is a great modern story about lines being blurred between men and women. Society has set many rules for its inhabitants, and this book helps us to question those.
This book is incredibly intriguing and unique in its content of a lesser-known tale. This story is barely remembered in the history of Indian mythology, but here, Dr. Pattanaik takes us on Yuvanashva’s journey with incredible detail regarding his social and political struggles.
5. Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen – Kavita Kane
Another tale of an unsung character, this book narrates the story of Karna and his wife, Uruvi. Kane brings a unique perspective in the genre of magic realism, following a story of love and it’s social implications.
It brings with it many twists and turns and will provide an enthralling read you won’t be able to book down until finished.
If you are familiar with the story of Mahabharata, this retelling through Karma’s wife’s eyes will impact you wholeheartedly. It is rare to find a book told from the perspective of a woman in mythology, and this remarkable tale shows that behind every successful man is a woman.
6. Prince of Ayodhya: Book One – Ashok K. Banker
An epic retelling of Ramayana, this is a fantastical story of Rama, Prince of Ayodhya, and his quest to prevent the prophecy of his homeland becoming a wasteland of ashes and blood.
Banker provides the reader with an authentic retelling of the classic tale, rich with Sanskrit and Hindi words. He provides a glossary at the end of the book to help those with a lack of knowledge in these terms and words, making it an informative read also.
It is a more action-oriented retelling of Ramayana, providing oomph in a tale most only know as an ancient religious one. A great read for young and old.
7. The Hindus: An Alternative History – Wendy Doniger
An engrossing narrative account full of history and myth, this profound work is surrounded in controversy. The cause of many debates amongst Indian readers, it gives many different perspectives in order to help readers understand Indian mythology.
American Indologist, Doniger, offers a new understanding of Hinduism, one of the world’s oldest major religions. It is a fascinating read for those intrigued by the controversy of this book and also for those after fairly dense prose regarding Hinduism.
We recommend for those studying the religion, in order to look at another perspective. Her choices can be idiosyncratic, but this book is one of a kind.
8. Myth and Reality: Studies in the Formation of Indian Culture – D.D Kosambi
Kosambi provides a set of essays overviewing early Indian History. He provides a historical connection to the formation of Indian myths.
Kosambi created this refreshing range of material through careful study of literacy courses and impeccable fieldwork, resulting in a compilation of essays carefully analyzing Indian tradition.
Logical interpretation of the origins of Indian mythology, Kosambi raises and solves questions that are extremely important to those interested in the study of Indology, including the significance of the Pandharpur pilgrimage, the data of Karle Caves amongst other things.
This is a fantastic read for any scholar wanting less fiction and more analysis of Indian mythology.
9. The Immortals of Meluha – Amish Tripathi
The first in a series of 3, this story is based in Meluha and follows a Tibetan named Shiva, believed to be their savior Neelkanth. Facing severe perils, the Meluhans believe Shiva will triumph over their enemies and restore peace back into their homeland. Shiva is drawn suddenly into his destiny, and this enthralling epic saga about vengeance is a fantastic read.
A highly rated read, this novel is pure fiction and is akin to the likes of Tolkien, Terry Pratchett.
The other two books in the series are The Secrets of Nagas and The Oath of Vayaputras.
10. The Krishna Key – Ashwin Sanghi
A suburb blend of history and mythology, this epic adventure tale comes highly recommended.
This tale provides its readers with extensive information about Vedas, one of the most ancient Hindu scriptures. Following a history professor who has to prove his innocence against a murder charge, this thriller mixed with mythology is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys modern-day literature sprinkled with ancient myths.
Bestselling author, Sanghi is considered to be a frontrunner in the historical and mythological retelling. This is a book that is no different.
11. Mahabharata – William Buck
Considered one of the longest epics ever, this is a translation and presentation of the ancient Indian epic poem, Mahabharata.
Originally in Sanskrit, Buck decodes the poem about the struggle between the Kurus and the Pandavas.
Historical fiction can be a bore, but this is read that is captivating from start to finish, peppered with the ancient tale people obsessed with Indian mythology will know and love.
If you enjoy this read, Buck has also written a novel called Ramayana, another retelling of an ancient story, and equally as epic.
Like the title suggest this is mainly about the Pandavas and the Kauravas, who are incarnations of the gods and demons. It covers a lot of myths and is a great introduction to listening about Hindu mythology and all it has to offer.
A Comic Book – Gods and Goddesses by Various Authors
If you are looking for something for your children to learn about Indian mythology than this is the book for you.
This special edition novel brings in stories from countless authors all about the Gods and Goddesses of India. A fun way to introduce someone to mythology!
If you managed to scroll to the end of this, we hope you’ve written down some books rich with the enchanting history of Indian Mythology. There’s a whole world of Gods and Goddesses, heroes and villains, retribution and betrayal to dive into, a never-ending collection of fantastic books at your disposal, but these are a great starting point.