Through the snow-peaked mountains of the Hindu Kush, Peter plunges into the vast mysterious subcontinent of India, experiencing an intoxicating fusion of natural beauty and exotic peoples. He encounters Rajput warrior brides and their marvellous adornments, and nomadic tribes in Gujarat’s Great Rann of Kutch. From the old Portuguese trading posts of Diu, Peter journeys to Kerala, where pre-Muslem Syrians introduced Christianity, then across to Orissa with its so-called ‘naked people’, and then takes us back up to the north-eastern territories of the Naga tribes. His explorations shed light on the myth of the Vedic goddesses: the story of Lakshmi, the creator of beauty, and Padmini, the lotus woman. We learn how concepts of women’s divine beauty in the Indian pantheon are not based on fantasy or an ideal but are the inspiration for the creation of new life and motherhood. We browse the Ananga Ranga, a guidebook for marital relationships and the appreciation of physical beauty specifically aimed at preventing the separation of married couples. We take a break at the Red Fort perfumery, the last vestige of Mughal olfactory culture in Old Delhi, to learn about the importance of scent in stimulating attraction and desire. In India’s steaming south, doctors of the ancient science of Ayurveda share their knowledge on the origins of plastic surgery, mystical ointments and healing plants, offering dietary advice and insight about the beauty within.