From the desk of the Author: My families have for four generations lived, served, worked, loved and been born in India. Ancestors served with great distinction. I am the very last of them. Now I sit at my desk and think back to last year’s two months in India journeying through four states, or the previous year’s experiences, or the year before. We have had the good fortune to return to India for varying lengths of time and each occasion provided a wealth of experiences – mostly good – sometimes challenging! This last 20 years of travelling has encompassed the length and breadth of India to its very tip. There is always something that has not yet been seen, or returned to, new places or restored places - and sadly some places that were better left in the distant past. Generally, however India repays close inspection and the approach must always be cup half full. Then, undoubtedly in some strange way, the cup will fill up with rich experiences, beautiful memories and interactions. The people are so important, be they professionals, hospitality providers, drivers of cars, hospitality staff, shopkeepers, connections and new friends plus, of course always, the old dependable friends. In this book I shall endeavour to put before the reader my experiences during the last twelve years of my travels - that is since my last book was published in 2008. There is a short book called Quicklook at India which came out in 2010 and was updated in 2012 but that is for business people who need to absorb the essentials of this great, ancient yet modern land in a quick efficient way - I am assured that 25,000 words can be read in one hundred minutes! This book India-ji, is about places, peoples, animals, birdlife, butterflies, flora, holy rivers, valleys, jungles, great heritage and architectural sites and cities, temples, palaces, forts, havelis, beaches, backwaters, mangroves, mountains and semi deserts which I will invite others to experience for themselves. Ji is the honorific used in India to signify respect and courtesy when addressing a person or writing to them or indeed, about them. Thus, I am writing about the country India-ji.