Mythology holds a strong position in India and its culture. In the field of writing, mythological fiction has emerged as an intriguing and interesting genre. Today, authors are coming up with new and refreshing ideas to write the age-old stories according to the new dynamic setting. This makes it all the more exciting to pick up a mythological title that can cater to our never-ending imagination.
The best Indian mythological books satiate the hunger of book lovers who are looking for the tales of old times. So, here we bring you the 15 mythological novels that are loved by all. These must-read novels break the barriers of creativity and imagination.
1. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Restating the Mahabharata from the perspective of Draupadi or Panchali, The Palace of Illusions is one of the best Indian mythological books that is pretty unique in its approach. This epic novel is summed up in 360 pages and retells the story from the perspective of the woman around whom everything was happening.
Divakaruni’s interpretation of the world-famous epic provides it with a humanistic touch, making it more personal and more realistic. While reading The Palace of Illusions, mythological lovers would be entranced from the first page to the last as it is beautifully written and is a moving story that upholds the legacy of Mahabharata.
You can also read a detailed book review of The Palace of Illusions.
2. Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi
The list of the best Indian mythological books is incomplete without The Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi. It is one of the most-talked-about mythological fiction about Shiva. Amish Tripathi is well-known for his lucid writing and storytelling. The way Amish Tripathi brings fiction into the story of Shiva to create an engaging narrative is highly commendable.
In The Immortals of Meluha, Shiva is a Tibetan immigrant who is the sole hope of the Chandravanshis against evil. In the second book, The Secret of Nagas, Shiva is shown as God and the destroyer of evil. Shiva has vengeance in his mind and is set upon finding the Nagas. The Oath of the Vayuputras, the third book in the series, is a final face-off between Shiva and his enemy.
3. The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattnaik
The Pregnant King is a story about Yuvanashva, a childless King from Mahabharata, who unintentionally drinks a magic potion that was meant for his queens. The magic potion was for bearing children and as a result, he ends up giving birth to a son. The story also has other such characters that blur the lines of king-queen, male-female, or son-daughter.
Devdutt Pattnaik also talks about Arjun, who after being castrated by a nymph, is forced to masquerade as a woman. The Pregnant King is a book that breaks quite a few barriers in society and presents itself as a fictional yet relatable story. The different elements make it a risky but entertaining read.
4. The Liberation of Sita by Volga
Volga’s The Liberation of Sita is a unique take on the character of Sita. In The Liberation of Sita, the protagonist, Sita, meets other mythical female characters such as Renuka, Urmila, Surpnakha, and others. After talking to these women and hearing their stories, Sita discovers her way that also resonates with the epic tale of Ramayana.
The Liberation of Sita is a powerful subversion of the most popular tale of sacrifice, choice, and morality in India. Through The Liberation of Sita, Volga has opened up new spaces within the old discourse itself. This is one of the best Indian mythological books that will enable women to experience some freshness and also review their lives.
5. Ram Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi
Amish Tripathi pens down another great mythological saga with a series that revolves around Ramayana. The first book, Ram: Scion of Ikshvaku is a tale from the perspective of Ram. The second- Sita: Warrior of Mithila is a thrilling adventure that narrates the rise of an orphan who initially becomes the Prime Minister and later goes on to become a Goddess. Lastly, the exhilarating third book of the Ram Chandra Series elucidates on Ravaan, the most passionate, violent, and complex man of all time.
Although the Ram Chandra series is not as proclaimed as the Shiva Trilogy, it has a great plot and an amazing storyline. The Ram Chandra series is meant for the readers who want to delve into the depths of Amish’s imagination.
6. Ajaya, Epic of the Kaurava Clan by Anand Neelakantan
Ajaya, Epic of the Kaurava Clan series has Roll of the Dice and Rise of Kali as its first two books. Through Ajaya, Anand Neelakantan retells Mahabharata from the perspective of Duryodhan, or Suyodhana. Ajaya is a narrative of the invincible Kauravas, who were wiped out to the last man.
The duology is an elaborate plot that acquaints the readers with a distinct side of Mahabharata and makes one think about Suyodhana, the protagonist as a different individual. Ajaya has many sparks of innovation and is a great read because of its unique narrative. Anand Neelakantan has approached everything scientifically and logically which is bound to be appreciated by the readers.
7. Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan
The epic story of the Ramayana has been told innumerable times, mostly by the victors who live on. Asura is an enthralling story from the perspective of Ravana and the defeated Asura clan, whose voice remains lost in silence. Through Asura, Neelakantan justifies Ravana’s action and portrays Asuras as the oppressed and Devas as the oppressors.
Asura is a well-carved premise that is best suited for the readers who love retellings where the villain is portrayed as the hero and all his actions are justified. Anand Neelakantan has come up with a brilliant plot that has been beautifully articulated into one of the best Indian mythological books of all time.
8. Dharmayoddha Kalki: Avatar of Vishnu by Kevin Missal
Kevin Missal narrates the story of Kalki who is hailed as the 10th incarnate of Vishnu. Kalki is born as a hero and the face of Dharma. He needs to fight Adharma which is portrayed through Kali, the evil Asura. Dharmayoddha Kalki is about the learning curve that a man has to follow to realize his duty and save the world.
Kalki is a must-try mythological fiction with a good plot, an interesting storyline, and some wow moments. Through Kalki, Kevin has done an amazing job by combining science, fantasy, and myth. Kalki offers the readers an opportunity to lose themselves in a fresh perspective with a vivid imagination.
9. The Hastinapur series by Sharath Komarraju
The Hastinapur series is a powerful retelling of Mahabharata that has a touch of fiction and fantasy. It starts with The Winds of Hastinapur that depicts the story of Ganga and Satyavati and their role in determining the fate of Hastinapur. The second book, The Rise of Hastinapur, talks about Amba, Kunti as well as Gandhari and how they deal with the respective circumstances that they are put in. Lastly, The Queens of Hastinapur is the third installment that revolves around different female characters of the Mahabharata such as Gandhari, Pritha, and Kamsa.
Sharath Komarraju lends a new dimension to the familiar tale by talking about the not-so focused female characters of Mahabharata. The Hastinapur series are well-crafted works that have a rich language and a detailed narrative.
10. Manthan: Chronicles of Kalki by Utkarsh Pandey
In case you are searching for a new author, Manthan is one of the best Indian mythological books that can fulfill your thirst for a distinct retelling of Kalki. Utkarsh Pandey keeps you on your toes as he draws your attention to the invigorating journey of Padma, Vasu, and Bhairav to save mankind from Kali, the dark God.
Manthan is a pleasant narrative with a combination of comfort and awe. The subtle language used by Utkarsh makes it a compelling read. Manthan is a tale of intensified mythological stories and facts that is peppered with a bounteous serving of lore and magic.
11. The Aryavarta Chronicles by Krishna Udayashankar
The Aryavarta Chronicles is another retelling of Mahabharata that has a perfect dose of mythology and fiction. The first installment in The Aryavarta Chronicles, Govinda talks about how the Aryavarta Empire was formed. The second book, Kauarva focuses on the Kauravas, especially Yudhistir and Syoddhan. The last title in the trilogy, Kurukshetra centers around the ultimate battle.
Krishna Udayashankar has used simple and elegant language in The Aryavarta Chronicles. With a whiff of antiquity and a gentle lyrical touch, The Aryavarta Chronicles has an amazing narration and does justice to the original Mahabharata in every way.
12. The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi
With The Krishna Key, Ashwin Sanghi creates an anthropological thriller keeping mythology as the foundation. The captivating plot has been narrated through the perspective of Saini, the protagonist of the story who is accused of the murder of his close friend. It also involves serial murders that bring the four seals of Krishna together.
The Krishna Key is a blend of mythology and history that is woven together by fiction. Ashwin Sanghi has put together an incredible alternative interpretation of the Vedic Age that would be adored by thriller addicts and conspiracy buffs alike.
13. Mrutyunjay by Shivaji Savant
Mrutyunjay is a classic novel written by Shivaji Savant that takes the readers through the life of Karna, one of the greatest warriors in Mahabharata. It is a story through multiple POVs, including Karna himself. Shivaji Sawant portrays an uncanny similarity between Karna and Krishna and also hints at a mystic link between the two.
Mrutyunjay is a literary masterpiece that imparts a three-dimensional personality to Karna. Through Mrutyunjay, Shivaji Sawant gives voice to the characters that did not have much say in the original epic. Summing up, Mrutyunjay is an eloquently narrated title that is worth adding to your reading collection.
14. Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen by Kavita Kane
Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen is different from others in the list of the best Indian mythological books as it is told from the perspective of Uruvi, Karna’s wife. Karna, one of the best warriors of Mahabharata, was considered an outcast in the epic. Uruvi is a Kshatriya princess who dares to choose Karna over Arjun and how she comes to terms with the social implications of her marriage.
Kavita Kane brings a splendid saga that retells the story of a woman who sticks through her husband through thick and thin. It is remarkable how Kavita Kane blends the story of Uruvi with Mahabharata. Karna’s Wife is a must-read for book lovers who like mythology and are looking for a unique perspective.
15. The Sage’s Secret by Abhinav
The Sage’s Secret is a fictional tale about Kalki, the tenth avatar of Vishnu. It had been prophesied that Kalki would be sent to restore balance in the world. In the year 2025, Anirudh- the protagonist, experiences vivid illusions about life and the varied forms of Lord Vishnu. Since the character of Anirudh is used as a host for Kalki, Abhinav describes how Anirudh struggles with his new identity and his dramatic journey throughout.
The Sage’s Secret has a strategic plot and a comfortable pace along with some genuine moments of inquisition and exclamation. The story is one of the best Indian mythological books that is a complete package of fiction, mythology, and suspense.
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