We have rich resources for the study of South Asia, past and present. South Asia is taken to include India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Collection guides

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

Asian and African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues
If you need help, just ask our Information Specialists at the Reference Enquiry desk.

We also offer workshops to help you with your research and to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

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Opening hours

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

Problems in Deccani and Mughal drawings: a marbled ox fight and the Virgin of the Apocalypse

12 October 2015

This blog continues my recent series of posts on the Library’s Deccani collections with one on Deccani drawings and specifically Deccani Christian subjects from Richard Johnson’s collection. At least that was the original intention, given that there are ten drawings...

Battle of Panipat 1761

10 September 2015

Panipat, north of Delhi, is the location of three historic battles that shaped Mughal history. On the battlefield here in 1526, Babur defeated the Afghan Sultan of Delhi Ibrahim Lodi, which not only ended Lodi rule but gave the Mughals...

On the road: some user guides to libraries and archives

30 July 2015

Over the last couple of years I have been tweeting the many notifications that I have received on users' experiences of archives and libraries. Even if an institution has its own website, readers' impressions can be very helpful. Twitter, however,...

Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma

24 June 2015

Unknown Photographer, Portrait of Major-General Linnaeus Tripe (1822-1902), Madras Army, (?)1880s, British Library, Photo 612(1). Once heard, the exotically-named Linnaeus Tripe is difficult to forget. Yet even in his own lifetime and certainly in the century and more since his...

More blog posts

External links

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Centre of South Asian Studies

University of Cambridge

Find my past

Records of baptisms, marriages, burials, wills, pensions, military and civil career information

The National Archives

Records relating to the East India Company, and the Family Records Centre


The Lives of the Mughal Emperors (paperback)

The Lives of the Mughal Emperors (paperback)

This beautifully illustrated book tells the remarkable story of the 300-year Mughal dynasty in India.


The Goddess and the Thief (paperback)

The Goddess and the Thief (paperback)

Uprooted from her home in India, Alice is raised by her aunt, a spiritualist medium in Windsor.


The Book of the British Library

The Book of the British Library

As well as holding some of the world's most prized cultural treasures, the British Library is the repository of the nation's collective memory.