The Chanakya Reading List

A near comprehensive reading list of works by and about the genius statesman and political thinker and sage, Chanakya or Kautilya used for making the TV series, Chanakya.
The Chanakya Reading List

Among the many benefits of the recent nationwide lockdown caused by the Chinese-made Corona virus, Doordarshan’s re-telecast of the timeless classic series, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Chanakya counts as the foremost. Needless, their enduring popular appeal has remained intact as evidenced by the TRP of Doordarshan that shot through the roof.

A byproduct of the Chanakya telecast during this period was a complementary increase in the viewership of my interview with its maker, the legendary Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi. It has been my good fortune to interview him to understand the detailed process, research, groundwork, and trials and tribulations that went behind making this iconic TV series that is still unparalleled in the annals of Indian television.

A common thread that emerged even as Chanakya was being telecast was a request from our readers to provide a list of reference material that Dr. Dwivedi used for his research. Here it is, organised by language and subject.


Arthashastra – Kautilya

Mudrarakshasa – Vishakhadatta


Bhagawan Kautilya – K.M. Munshi

Mahaamatya Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya – Gauri Shankar Joshi (pen name: Dhumketu)


Arya – Vasant Patwardhan


Amrapali – Acharya Chatursen



Arthasastra of Kautilya – Translated by R. Shama Sastry

The Kautilya Arthasastra (in three volumes) --- R.P. Kangle

Maxims of Chanakya – V.K. Subramanian

Kautilya and his Arthasastra – Usha Mehta

Commentaries on Arthasastra – Various authors

History and Politics

Chandragupta Maurya and his Times – Radhakumud Mookerji

Invasion of India by Alexander the Great – Translated by J.W. McCrindle

Indian Polity – K.P. Jayaswal

Ancient Political Thought and Institutions – B.A. Saletore

Ancient India as Described in Jain Canons – Jagdish Chandra Jain

India as Known to Panini – Vasudev Sharan Agarwal

India as Described in Classical Literature – J.W. McCrindle

Art, Architecture, Literature and Daily Life

Indian Architecture (in two volumes) – Percy Brown

Archeological Excavation Report at Kumhrar – L.A. Waddell

Essays in Early Indian Architecture – Ananda K Coomaraswamy

Early Indian Architecture – K. Krishnamurthy

Village, Towns and Secular Buildings in Ancient India – Amita Ray

Town Planning in Ancient India – B.B. Grover

Food and Drinks in Ancient India – Dr. Om Prakash

Indian Art – Vasudev Sharan Agarwal

Life in Sanchi – A.L. Srivastava

Sculptures of Bharhuth – R.C. Sharma

Life in Ancient Uttarapath – N.P. Joshi

Costumes, Textiles, Cosmetics & Coiffure in Ancient and Mediaeval India – Motichandra, et al

Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India – Motichandra

Material Culture of Ancient India – Malati Mahajan

We hope you found this list useful. Happy reading!

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