It’s 25 years since an adventurous quartet of Rough Guides authors set off for the Subcontinent to begin work on researching the inaugural instalment of The Rough Guide to India. After two years of intensive writing and painstaking editing, the first edition of the book thudded onto the bookshop shelves in 1994, weighing in at a mighty 1168 pages.
It was a very different book from the slickly produced full-colour tenth edition of 2016: black and white throughout, with many of its maps hand-drawn and printed on paper now stained parchment yellow by the intervening years.
Back then, India was a very different place, too: it was an inward-looking country, still one of the poorest in the world and the tech-based economy only just beginning to gain hold. Mumbai was still Bombay, Kolkata was Calcutta and Chennai still Madras. Scrimping travellers could get by on a budget of £5/$8 a day and could expand their coffers by exchanging Western currencies on the black market. India might have been cheaper but travel was also tougher.
Fast forward a quarter of a century and much has changed: budget airlines, comfy high-speed trains and new highways crisscross the country have sped up travel; travellers can take advantage of ubiquitous wifi to book transport and accommodation ahead; and the new e-Tourist visa makes access to the country cheaper and easier than ever before.