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Food and Faith: A Pilgrim’s Journey through India

Shoba Narayan

Why do we pray?What is the role of religion in your life today? Do you commune with the divine through rituals? Or is it a comforting routine, going to church or temple once a week or month? Are these questions making you uncomfortable? Do you think religion is a private act to be done in the confines of one's home, with family, and not something to declare publicly? These are the questions this book seeks to answer. Shoba Narayan travels across some of the most prominent places of worship in India and presents to her readers the mythologies, histories and contemporary relevance of these sites.

Shoba Narayan dreams of being a trapeze artist or a stand-up comedienne, both of which are unrealistically ambitious given that she is galactically un-funny and clumsy to boot.

Meanwhile, she writes about food, travel, fashion, art and her native India for many publications. They include Condenast Traveler (US edition), The National, Financial Times, Destinasian, Gourmet, Time, Silkroad, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Town & Country, British Airways Highlife, Cathay Pacific’s Discovery, Singapore Airlines’ Silverkris, Knowledge@Wharton, Departures, Food & Wine, Saveur, Newsweek, Beliefnet and House Beautiful, among others. She is not sure why she said “among others” given that she has given a fairly exhaustive listing.

Shoba is a weekly columnist for Mint Lounge, an Indian business daily which is affiliated with the WSJ. She writes frequently for The National, based in Abu Dhabi. She does freelance features for a number of publications; and teaches an MBA course at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Shoba’s essays and commentaries have appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered Weekend. Her essay, The God of Small Feasts, that was published in Gourmet, won the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Award for Distinguished Writing. She is the author of a book, “Monsoon Diary: a memoir with recipes,” published by Random House (US) in 2003. It was a finalist for a James Beard Award.

Shoba graduated from the Columbia Journalism School with a Master of Science degree. The school awarded her a Pulitzer Travelling Fellowship given to the top three graduating students in the class. She used her fellowship to travel to Israel. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Bangalore, India. She can be reached at