New novel on ancient Indian art

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California, USA, March 24, 2017

‘Ajanta: A Monk’s Mission & a Maiden’s Mystery,’ which recently became the ‘Amazon Kindle Bestselling Book on Indian History, offers an introduction to the 5th century India to Western readers.

It is the first novel in English on the history of Indian Art.

Written by Dr Kalpa Srivats, it features rich illustrations and full-colour images of ancient Indian Art to help tell the extraordinary story.

On the day of Buddha-Poornima, protagonist Nandhini Devi, is unsettled by startling predictions from her village soothsayer.

Twists of fate find Nandhini in a Buddhist monastery, with monks, royal family members, ministers, and feudal kings playing a role in her life. ‘Ajanta’ celebrates the art and culture of the times, including Buddhist monastic life and Buddhist cave art at the famous UNESCO site Ajanta, as a backdrop to Nandhini’s story.

As one reviewer says, “Ajanta gives a wonderful insight as to what living in 5th Century India must have been like. It also offers great plot lines with character development.”

As an Amazon reviewer summarised, “If you want to know fifth century India, including politics, kingdoms, religions, Buddhism, culture and art, this researched novel will fulfill your wish.

About the Author

Dr Kalpa Srivats comes from Chennai, India, from a family of academicians. Her father, a historian and academician, encouraged her to pursue art history and Indian cultural studies as her career. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (Art History & Studio Arts) from Stella Maris College in Chennai, Kalpa moved to the US to pursue higher education. She joined the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she earned triple Masters in the combination of South Asian Studies, Art History, and Comparative Literature, and a PhD in Comparative & World Literature in 2003.

Extensive Research

After receiving her doctorate, Kalpa Srivats has been teaching various courses in liberal arts, in Asian and Western context, both as an adjunct and as full-time faculty.

For her doctoral dissertation, she explored how Indian aesthetic principles work across both visual arts (Indian sculpture) and Sanskrit literature. She has a diploma in Sanskrit and is a trained Bharata Natyam dancer.

She has done extensive field work all over India for her research in Indian art, culture, and religion and has been giving many lectures about Indian art, mythology, and classical theater at museums, libraries, and cultural organisations across the US.

For more information, please visit


Photo Caption:

Dr Kalpa Srivats

Ajanta, Book Cover

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