Long since the days of yore, Naveen Patnaik has had many artsy inclinations. Although he was hooked on oil painting, he never really considered himself a professional artist. The 1960s were particularly glitzy years for him when he had a boutique named Psychedelhi in the famous Oberoi hotel of Delhi and whose clientele also included the Beatles. Thereafter, he was introduced to Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of the former American president John F. Kennedy, which sparked a bookish-friendship between them. Interestingly, Jacqueline Kennedy has even edited two of Naveen’s books.


We are well aware how Naveen Patnaik has scripted history time and again through his charismatic political pursuits. But the way he has scripted his books are testimony to the fact that his political acumen has never stood in the path of his literary devotion.

Digging perfectly into the obscure archives, the sauve Doon School and Delhi University alumnus has authored the below mentioned books in an educative yet lively way. His writings, appreciated in large numbers and reviewed by reputed magazines worldwide should indeed be on your To-Read list.

  1. A second Paradise: Indian courtly life, 1590-1947 (Published: 1985)

a second paradise

This book travels back in time when the bejewelled princely courts of India were richly glorious. Depicted in valued text and breath-taking illustrations, you would not help but stay awed at the intricacy of Indian artists. Portraying the highs and lows of early Mughal emperors and their supreme struggles upto the dawn of Indian Independence era, the book truly is a “Paradise of art and words.”

2. A Desert Kingdom: The Rajputs of Bikaner (Published: 1990)

a desert kingdom

For any Rajput, this is a sure read. For all other commoners, read to get an exquisite flavour of the lost and exotic world of Bikaner. From battles to the vibrant life of this great subcontinent, the book provides a first-hand visual experience of the activities that defined our ancestors’ lives. A classic royal, we must say!

3. The garden of Life: An introduction to the healing plants of India (Published: 1993)

The garden of life

The folklore about the ancient healing plants has been re-examined by Naveen Patnaik in a lush way. He has traced the history of 70 plants by dividing the book into 5 informative sections. Get to know some intriguing stories of plants, each graced by a specially commissioned miniature painting. This garden of Ayurveda and art is certainly worth paying a visit if you are intimately drawn towards nature!

4. Sacred Geography of Puri: Structure and Organisation, and Cultural Role of a Pilgrim Centre

sacred geography of puri

The majestic mystery and history of the sacred land-Puri is finely compiled in this comprehensive writing. Get a visual pilgrimage to Puri, its environs and the rich culture and everything that comprised in the religious centuries of days bygone. An interesting read not just for the sightseers, but for those who are forever enchanted with this mystic beach-land!