First novel in English about Indian art history is a fascinating read


Ajanta: A Monk’s Mission & a Maiden’s Mystery! by Liberal Arts professor Dr Kalpa Srivats celebrates the art and culture of 5th century India

Ajanta book cover
Ajanta book cover

Ajanta: A Monk’s Mission & a Maiden’s Mystery!, which recently became the #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling book in Indian History, offers an introduction of 5th century India to Western readers. The novel, written by Dr Kalpa Srivats, features rich illustrations and full-colour images of ancient Indian art to help tell the extraordinary story.

On the day of Buddha-Poornima, protagonist Nandhini Devi, is unsettled by startling predictions from her village soothsayer. Twists of fate find Nandhini in a Buddhist monastery, with monks, royal family members, ministers, and feudal kings playing a role in her life. Ajanta celebrates the art and culture of the times, including Buddhist monastic life and Buddhist cave art at the famous UNESCO site Ajanta, as a backdrop to Nandhini’s story.

As one reviewer says, Ajanta “gives wonderful insight as to what living in 5th Century India must have been like,” adding that it also offers “great plot lines with character development.”

As an Amazon reviewer summarised, “If you want to know fifth century India—politics, kingdoms, religions, Buddhism, culture, art—this researched novel will fulfill your wish.”

Dr Kalpa Srivats
Dr Kalpa Srivats

The author Dr Kalpa Srivats has been teaching various courses in liberal arts, in Asian and Western context, both as an adjunct and as full-time faculty. For her doctoral dissertation, Dr Srivats explored how Indian aesthetic principles work across both visual arts (Indian sculpture) and Sanskrit literature. She has done extensive field work all over India for her research in Indian art, culture, and religion. She has been giving many lectures about Indian art, mythology, and classical theatre at museums, libraries, and cultural organisations across the US.


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