Don’t miss these 5 superb documentaries on India

(1) The Story of India – Complete BBC series, with Michael Wood

For over two millennia, India has been at the centre of world history. But how did India come to be? What is India? These are the big questions behind this intrepid journey around the contemporary subcontinent. In this landmark series, historian and acclaimed writer Michael Wood embarks on a dazzling and exciting expedition through today’s India, looking to the present for clues to her past, and to the past for clues to her future. The journey takes the viewer through majestic landscapes and reveals some of the greatest monuments and artistic treasures on Earth. From Buddhism to Bollywood, from mathematics to outsourcing, Michael Wood discovers India’s impact on history – and on us.

(2) India with Sanjeev Bhaskar

Over the past 60 years, India has changed more rapidly than any other nation on the planet. In fields as diverse as agriculture, medical research and information technology, India already leads the world.
In this captivating tv documentary, comedian and writer Sanjeev Bhaskar follows his quest to get under the skin of modern India. His travels take him from the deserts of Rajasthan to the lush tea plantations of Darjeeling, high into the Himalayas, along the course of the holy river Ganges and across the border to Pakistan on a mission to find the ancestral homeland that his family left behind. This upbeat adventure is set against the backdrop of a country without visual equal.

India with Sanjeev Bhaskar presents an unforgettable journey through India visiting stunning palaces, chaotic cities and beautiful beaches, that also follows Sanjeev’s emotional journey to his father’s former home, now in Pakistan. It’s also a personal, colourful and comic look at one of the world’s next superpowers.

(3) Paul Merton in India

Having conquered China, comedian Paul Merton set his sights on India, bringing his own unique perspective to a vast and diverse country. Paul’s India travels shun the traditional tourist spots in favour of unexpected sights and surprising detours, to see ‘his India’. Wandering off the typical tourist trails, Paul readily follows his own instincts taking us on a personal odyssey where a delicate balance of heart and humour will expose an unfamiliar side to this economic powerhouse. Paul begins a surreal and intense journey from crowded city streets to the harsh beauty of rural India; from the rugged terrain of the North to the sultry heat of the South. Paul’s India travels sees him hanging out with a gang of Eunuchs; dining with convicted criminals in a high security prison; learning to ‘rock’ on stage Indian style, and getting swamped by thousands of naked holy men at a remote hilltop festival. Facing angry elephants, delinquent monkeys, spitting cobras and holy rats along the way… Paul heads off to find the ‘alternative’ India.

(4) Ganges

The Ganges River (Gang Ma or Great Mother) is the holiest river in the world. Rising from the pure glacial meltwaters of the Himalayas, it flows down onto India’s Northern Plain, then heads eastwards into the swamplands of Bangladesh, finally discharging a 500-km (310-mile) tongue of red silt into the Bay of Bengal. As well as filling wells and irrigating crops to sustain the cities and villages along its banks, it is the spiritual life-blood for India’s primary religion, Hinduism. Bathing in the Ganges remains the lifelong ambition of many of India’s believing masses, who consider the river to be a living goddess. People gather daily at her banks to murmur prayers, baptise children, wash vibrant coloured saris, drink her waters or simply die believing such acts help absolve sins and lead the way to Nirvana.

Ganges reveals the source of the river high in the Himalayas, the youngest mountain range in the world, and follows its route as it sharply incises the mountains on its journey south-east. Along the way we discover the Hindu story of the river’s creation, and how it supports the myriad forms of life that thrive on its banks. With stunning, evocative images by photographer Jon Nicholson, Ganges is a true visual feast, as teeming with life and colour as the mighty river itself.

(5) Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape: India

Like most of us, Gordon Ramsay likes a good curry, though he has little idea about the roots of his favourite dish. Join Gordon as he travels through the regions of India on a journey of discovery to reveal a new rich culinary world. Steering clear of posh restaurants and fancy dining, this is a trip to uncover the real cooking the country has to offer. Meet the people, experience the sights and see the real India as Gordon travels the country in search of the origins of authentic Indian cuisine. From working the kitchen on the Mangalore Express to cooking on the streets of Mumbai, this is Indian food and life at its most real. Along the way, Gordon will meet a host of food mentors who will teach him their own Indian dishes and recruit him into a number of exciting, challenging food related pursuits as he learns totally new cooking skills. This is Gordon Ramsay unlike you have ever seen him before, more thoughtful and open minded whilst retaining his passion in search of culinary perfection. Part cookery programme, part travelogue; follow Gordon on a voyage of self discovery and culinary & cultural delight. This is Gordon’s Great Escape.

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