In this lavishly illustrated companion to his BBC TV series, Michael Wood weaves a spellbinding narrative out of the 10,000-year history of India. Home today to more than a fifth of the world's population, the subcontinent gave birth to the oldest and most influential civilization on Earth, to four world religions, and to the world's largest democracy. Now, as India bids to become a global giant, Michael sets out to trace the roots of India's present in the incredible riches of her past. From the Khyber Pass and the Himalayas to the tropical jungles of India's Deep South, this original and striking survey of Indian history provides vivid portraits of India's regions and cultures, and new insights into some of history's greatest figures: the Buddha and Ashoka, Samudragupta and Akbar the Great, Nehru and Gandhi. It explores the ways in which Indian ideas and inventions have shaped the history of the world, and shows how some of ancient India's conclusions about the nature of civilization have lost none of their relevance for our own times. Dazzling colour photographs capture an extraordinary spectrum of landscapes, architectural splendours, customs, rituals and festivals. This sumptuously illustrated book from one of Britain's best-loved historians and broadcasters is a magical mixture of history and travelogue, and an unforgettable portrait of India, past, present - and future.