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Winner of the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel book Award and Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year -Dalrymple is probably the best travel writer of his generation’ “Daily Mail -As the author of the best travel book of recent years at the intensely irritating age of twenty-two, William Dalrymple has now shown that In Xanadu was no fluke. City of Djinns is an entertaining mix of history and diary informed by a deep curiosity about the ways in which the ghosts of even the most distant past still walk in the twentieth century.’ “Christopher Lockwood, Daily Telegraph -Dalrymple has pulled it off again - At a time when the book of travels is beginning to lose its fashionable allure, City of Djinns is not really a travel book at all. It is a kind of memoir recording the response of a single, gentle, merry and learned mind to the presence of an ancient city ... Dalrymple is anything but a voyeur. Even his excursions into the world of the eunuchs are conducted with a kind of grave innocence. He is more a pilgrim than an observer, always trying to understand - It is the work of a man who has consciously chosen to commit himself to the profession of letters, and in it we see the first fine rapture of In Xanadu deepening to a profounder dedication - hours and hours of pleasure for his readers. ‘Jan Morris, Independent -One level there are the amusing rites of passage, the struggles with bureaucracy, the eccentricity of Dalrymple's landlord, all entertainingly related. Dalrymple has a way of letting you smell and feel the city. There are beautifully chiselled descriptions of a grand capital - but much of the book's strength lies in Dalrymple's skill in peeling the historical onion and showing how (the) New Delhi resonates with the old - A splendid tapestry.’ “Trevor Fishlock, Sunday Telegraph -A sympathetic and engaging portrait of this age-old city'"Nicholas Wordsworth, Financial Times -Scholarly and marvelously entertaining - A considerable feat.'"Dervia Murphy, Spectator -Unlike much of modern travel writing [City of Djinns] is informative, learned and funny - a lively and sometimes profound book.’ “Emma duncan, Economist -An expansive and inclusive work, richly peopled - an enlightening and entertaining book.’ “Iain Wetherby, Literary Review
|Number of Pages||360 Pages|
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The city of djinns is a fascinating travelogue, or said to be shaped like a novel about the historical capital of India. It revolves around the Life 'in' Delhi and 'of' Delhi, which was during the time of the book's conception in 90's.
From the recent politics of the subcontinent, Indira Gandhi's assassination, anti-sikh riot, 1947 independence and creation of two new states of India and Pakistan, the refugee camps in Delhi, its advancement thereafter.
Going in a retrograde fashion then, and describing the Imperial Lutyen's New Delhi and the life of all those Blighty sahabs and memsahabs; and also its degradation after independence.
Then he creates a scene of Mughal Grandeur, the sufis, fakirs, amirs, mughal havelis, nautch girls and old Delhi, the walled city of Shahajahanabad, the last mughal Bahadur Shah Zafar, and about the rugged life of the "living" mughals.
Going then back in history to the times of Sultans of Delhi, their atrocities and their corrupt historians and court writters, and accounts of various travellers.
Then comes the older Hindu Delhi and the Lal Kot, Prithviraj chauhan and Ghor, whose much material and substantial information is not available, and only exists in folklores and poems and short stories, as he says.
Finally William's search ends in an office of Archaeological Survey Of India office, where he finds answers to his question on the conception and creation of "Dilli"(Delhi).
Description of Mahabharata and the Delhi, then as Hastinapur and Indraprastha.And finally ending the journey at the Nigambodh Ghat, which is the first site where the city was born after the ritual of "Das ashwamedh yag".
The description of the city, its streets, life, people, and monuments has been described such that you feel like travelling along with William. Sometimes you will find yourself in the dark underground Mughal Tehkhanas or searching the Nehru library or standing in an old mansion, a fort or a palace.
A great portrait of a city whose different ages lay suspended side by side, which he describes as the "city of djinns" and which is as fascinating, and as old as history itself and as mystical and mythological as the stories which are heard in the alleys of the old Delhi.
William Dalrymple has rightly said, "Delhi is like a pheonix which rose from its own ashes century after century".
A fantastic portrait of a newly resurrected city of a reborn nation.
A great entertaining and well researched work indeed.
Everytime I land up at Delhi to stand infront of any of it's incalculatable historical monuments or ruins this book plays a silent music somwhere in my mind - this is the book that first gave me a vivid details of all seven capitals that this great city housed over the period of time.Be it the Lutyen's New Delhi or Tughlaqabad Dalrymple ensured details of history in a scotch like smoothness of language.No Indian before this has ever tried to present Delhi to us in this way - a collector's item and no doubt a guide that not only makes your travel easy but also make you a scolar when you really match it's contains with what you could see in Delhi's road. monuments,towers & by lanes - Hat's off the "videshi" who knows our capital much more than us.
The book is an excellent depiction of what Delhi was, what Delhi is and what Delhi is poised to become. The remains and flavours of the various dynasties that ruled Delhi are beautifully depicted. I am really amazed at the pain and patience that WD shows to explore Delhi and bring out it's true image, be it the past, the old walled city or the new flourishing capital. The colours of India are aptly described along with the heritage that Delhi has passed on over the centuries. The exploitations of the British are frustrating, esp the demolishing of our beautiful heritage within the forts. But Delhi has survived and will survive. Hats off to WD for gifting us this treasure.
This book is an excellent combination of a travelogue and the history of Delhi. It is obvious that WD is passionate about Delhi and the time he has spent here. He dives into the the gullies of Old Delhi to emerge to the roads of Lutlyens Delhi. He takes readers to the largely ignored North Delhi too. The highs and lows of his and his wife's everyday life like dealing with the landlady or the "regular" taxiwala adds a personal element to the junkets and reams of history.
Thankfully this is no "kitchy" India travelogue. It is a fun and enlighting journey into the open grounds as well as the nooks and cranies of Delhi. It inspired me to look at my city differently.
I have been an ardent fan of William Dalrymple since I read his book 'The Last Mughal'. City of Djinns starts from the year 1993 and descends backward in time to the Mahabharata age when Delhi was known as Indraprastha. The narration is quite strong with a little bit of humour always there in between which really keeps you engrossed. The reader also gets to know the common man of this great city through the writer's acquaintances especially his landlady who's quite funny. Overall a nice book with lots of information about Delhi regarding it's history!!Looking forward to his next book 'Nine Lives'.
Everytime I land up at Delhi to stand infront of any of it's incalculatable historical monuments or ruins this book plays a sil...Read More
This book is an excellent combination of a travelogue and the history of Delhi. It is obvious that WD is passionate about Delhi...Read More
The author paints the history of Delhi through the pre-Mughal, Mughal and British eras. It is fascinating at times to read abou...Read More
The city of djinns is a fascinating travelogue, or said to be shaped like a novel about the historical capital of India. It rev...Read More