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City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi

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Language: English
Length: 360 Pages
Publisher: Penguin
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City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi By William Dalrymple
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City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi (Paperback) Price: Rs.275

City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi is William Dalrymple’s second book about his love affair with India, more specifically in this case, the capital city of Delhi.

Summary Of The Book

Published five years after his first book, In Xanadu, City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi is Dalrymple’s second publication, first published in 1994. Resulting from what he encountered over his six year stay in Delhi, the book is written in the form of a travelogue. The book has been composed in a way in which the history of the city is written backwards, going back in time from the 1984 riots and Indraprastha, to even the Pandavas.

Though technically a travelogue, the composition style is similar to a novel, as can be seen when he extols on what he means by calling Delhi a “bottomless seam of stories”. The stories and anecdotes are woven around the fiber of his and his wife’s daily interactions with various people of the city, including but not limited to taxi drivers, customs officials, his Sikh landlady, the cleaning lady and the gardener.

Besides his daily interactions, City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi is a record of his efforts to dig deeper into the city’s mysterious past, facets long lost that even the inhabitants are unaware of most of it. Yet, Dalrymple even attempts to give a fresh lease of life to the allure of already famous structures such as the Red Fort and the Parliament buildings.

He explores the colorful nature of Delhi and the centuries of evolution that have made it what it is now. He goes as far back into its history that he attempts to find proof of the occurrence of the events in the Mahabharata.

City Of Djinns: A Year In Delhi is widely acclaimed by critics and readers alike and is a winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.

About William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple, born in 1965 in Scotland, is an award winning historian and author as well as a well known critic and broadcaster.

William Dalrymple has written other books like The Age of Kali, White Mughals, and The Last Mughal, The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857.

He is one of the co-founders of the Jaipur Literature Festival. In 2012, he was appointed a Visiting Fellow in Humanities by Princeton University. Dalrymple was educated at Ampleforth College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He lives most of the year at his Mehrauli farmhouse in India with his wife Olivia. During the summer, he spends his time in London and Edinburgh.

Specifications of City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi (Paperback)

Contributors
Authored By William Dalrymple
Book Details
Publisher Penguin
Imprint PENGUIN
Publication Year 2004
ISBN-13 9780143031062
ISBN-10 0143031066
Language English
Edition 1stEdition
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 360 Pages
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Book Reviews of City of Djinns : A Year in Delhi

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Based on 35 ratings
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Most Helpful Reviews (5 of 15)

★★★★★
★★★★★
29 November 12
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A fantastic portrait of a newly resurrected city of a reborn nation.

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.

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1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
08 February 13
He knows Delhi better than us

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.

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0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
09 April 11
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the immortal delhi

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.

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1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
04 January 13
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Inspired me to look at my city differently

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.

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★★★★★
★★★★★
03 October 11
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From 20th century Delhi to the Indraprastha of Mahabharata!!

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'.

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Most Recent Reviews

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★★★★★
★★★★★
Abhinav Sethi
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A deserved Thomas Cook to say the least.

Being a delhite, it was great to read about your city in a different light altoghether. Dalrymple lends a great insight into th...

Read More
06 April 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
Great Literary Treat

Trust this Scot-man describe and co-relate the past and present in a refreshingly straight-forward , lucid and intelligent lite...

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18 August 13
★★★★★
★★★★★
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
A writer who loves Delhi

1 way to express is that I have bought 9 copies for so far and gifted away to people who had lived in Delhi but did not know ab...

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08 July 13
★★★★★
★★★★★
He knows Delhi better than us

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
08 February 13
★★★★★
★★★★★
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
Inspired me to look at my city differently

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
04 January 13
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    ISBN Number: 0143031066, 9780143031062, 978-0143031062

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