The Tiger: Soul of India

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From time immemorial, the tiger, India’s national animal, has been represented in various art forms. Valmik Thapar delves deep into the cult of the tiger to show how the animal resides in the very soul of the country’s cultural beliefs, myths, and legends.

Exploring the close relationship between man and tiger forged over thousands of years, this book reveals almost every facet of this amazing animal: from 10,000-year-old cave paintings in Madhya Pradesh to Mohenjodaro seals, Mughal miniature paintings, and contemporary art to wild tigers today. Focusing on various depictions of the animal on stone, wood, metal, paper, and more Thapar reveals how the tiger was vital to the life of people across India. With close to 250 photographs showcasing the tiger in various art forms, this book for the first time enables the pursuit of research in different cultural facets of tiger imagery.

Alongside art forms, there are spectacular pictures of wild tigers the source of inspiration for countless generations. A testimony to the power and beauty of this majestic animal, this book reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the cultural history of the tiger from a man who spent 35 years following the tiger’s footsteps.


Valmik Thapar, one of the world’s leading tiger conservationists, earned a degree in social anthropology from Delhi University in 1972 and since then has dedicated his life to tiger research and preservation. Thapar has been associated with Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, northern India, for nearly thirty years. He is the founder and director of the Ranthambhore Foundation, which he created in 1987, an organization devoted to maintaining the ecological balance necessary to protect the tiger and its habitats all over India. Thapar is the author of ten books on tigers, most recently Tiger: The Ultimate Guide (2004), The Cult of the Tiger (2002), Saving Wild Tigers (2001), Wild Tigers of Ranthambhore (2000), and The Land of the Tiger (1997), which accompanied a major BBC-TV series of the same name. Thapar has also written Bridge of God (2001), about the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya, and Battling for Survival (2003), an ecological history of the forests of South Asia. Thapar has appeared in and contributed to a number of documentaries. Since 1992 Thapar has been serving on several expert committees of the Indian government related to tigers and wildlife and is currently a member of the Central Empowered Committee, which was constituted by the Supreme Court of India to Monitor forests and wildlife. He lives in New Delhi.


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Bibliographic information

The Tiger: Soul of India
Ist ed.
198069693, 9780198069690
xvi+168p., Color Illustrations; 23x30cm.