The complex and, in some ways, contradictory Indian civilisation has been both an object of great interest and violent criticism. Impartial scientific observation of the country and its people has only been a recent development and still today expectations, prejudices and clich��_s colour the outsider's approach. The past still plays an important role in India and so knowledge of its ancient civilisation contributes to a better understanding of the present of this, one of the world's largest countries. For five thousand years India has undergone constant transformation and this extraordinary continuity, almost unique in the world, is what strikes the student of its culture most forcibly. A set of superb photographs supported by short but exhaustive captions introduces the reader to a world of refined beauty that often veils allusions to an esoteric level of meaning. The text is supplemented by colour tables, drawings and black and white maps.