Review of The Emerald Route by R.K.Narayan

The Emerald Route is a travelogue written by R. K. Narayan. He details the cultural and mythological history of various cities in Karnataka. Narayan presents the mythological history alongside with the facts about the place, and gives you a glimpse of his character. He presents them as true stories that have happened in those places.

For example, Narayan shares the story that Sankara was born with a definite time of 16 years to live, and thus he studied all the scholarly works by 10, became a monk, and started preaching. When he was 16, a debate between Vyasa and Sankara took place. Vyasa was the original author of the work that Sankara was discussing, and not knowing this, Sankara was still holding on to his stance. When the debate did not end, student of Sankara called for truce. Ved Vyasa impressed by Sankara's knowledge of his own work, granted him the boon to live for another 16 years.

There was another interesting story that at Srirangapatinum, in one of the battles that Tipu Sultan lost, he had give away two of his sons, aged 9 and 11, as hostages to British on conditions of surrender. It seems that he got his sons back after paying huge money to British.

Filled with stories like this, giving the account of history and culture of the various towns in Karnataka, this book was a pleasure to read.

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