City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

City of Djinns A Year in Delhi Sparkling with irrepressible wit City of Djinns peels back the layers of Delhi s centuries old history revealing an extraordinary array of characters along the way from eunuchs to descendants of gre

  • Title: City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
  • Author: William Dalrymple Olivia Fraser
  • ISBN: 9780142001004
  • Page: 486
  • Format: Paperback
  • City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

    Sparkling with irrepressible wit, City of Djinns peels back the layers of Delhi s centuries old history, revealing an extraordinary array of characters along the way from eunuchs to descendants of great Moguls With refreshingly open minded curiosity, William Dalrymple explores the seven dead cities of Delhi as well as the eighth city today s Delhi Underlying his questSparkling with irrepressible wit, City of Djinns peels back the layers of Delhi s centuries old history, revealing an extraordinary array of characters along the way from eunuchs to descendants of great Moguls With refreshingly open minded curiosity, William Dalrymple explores the seven dead cities of Delhi as well as the eighth city today s Delhi Underlying his quest is the legend of the djinns, fire formed spirits that are said to assure the city s Phoenix like regeneration no matter how many times it is destroyed Entertaining, fascinating, and informative, City of Djinns is an irresistible blend of research and adventure.

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      Published :2018-09-15T20:04:59+00:00

    One thought on “City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

    1. Warwick

      Delhi is lucky to have William Dalrymple as a chronicler – not many cities get such exemplary treatment as this. I think I even preferred it to Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography, just because Ackroyd presents himself as an expert dispensing knowledge, whereas Dalrymple is pure ingénu: curious, open-minded, he allows us to accompany him on his own journey of exploration and discovery which dovetails with the social and historical narratives he uncovers.For Dalrymple, Delhi is a city of acc [...]

    2. Riku Sayuj

      City of Djinns: The Reader’s JourneyI started reading The White Mughals sometime in an auto in Lucknow, in 2011. I still remember reading enchantedly of Old Delhi while sitting stuffed inside a crammed  "share-auto", dodging the remains of an equally old Lucknow (and close to the pre-Shah Jahani capital, of Agra). I remember missing my stop. I don’t remember when I left off reading it.Then, recently, I had an argument with a friend about that fiendishly invented TV series/Soap Opera ‘Jodh [...]

    3. Kalliope

      This is the perfect read when visiting Delhi.Written by a Brit, this book is the result of a one year stay in Delhi. It reads as a mixture of memoir, travelogue, history, religion, and myth book.Its nicest charm is that it conveys, sweetly, the author’s absolute love for the country. The understanding with which he presents his stories becomes contagious and after this relatively short read one feels immersed into the magic and mysteries of India.I read it while visiting a friend who was also [...]

    4. Caroline

      At the still wet-behind-the-ears age of twenty-five, Dalrymple and his wife went to live in Delhi, and this amazing book is the result of his first year in the city.It is an utter delight from beginning to end. A smorgasbord of historical people and places, myths and facts, festivals and parties, pilgrimages and ancient texts. It is also full of touching examples of everyday life - as Dalrymple explores with a kindly eye, the nooks and crannies of Delhi and its people.The scope of the book is in [...]

    5. Hana

      “Some said there were seven dead cities of Delhi and that the current one was the eighth; others counted fifteen or twenty-one. All agreed that the crumbling ruins of these towns were without number. But where Delhi was unique was that, scattered all around the city, there were human ruins too…All the different ages of man were represented in the people of the city. Different millennia co-existed side by side. Minds set in different ages walked the same pavements, drank the same water, retur [...]

    6. Siddharth Sharma

      William Dalrymple embarks upon a journey to unravel the history of Delhi, thus providing the reader with historical perspectives behind various parts of the city- a city which, as a Persian proverb goes, is destined to be lost by whoever who builds it. Set upon a period of a year of his stay in the capital, the narration opens up beautiful aspects of Delhi, including architectures erected in the Mughal phase (Humayun Fort, the Red Fort), the Tughlaq phase, the British Raj; even dating back to th [...]

    7. Sudhakar Gupta

      I'm not sure if I can call myself a Delhi-walla after reading City of Djinns. Despite living in Delhi for the past 17 years, I had not known most of the sites mentioned, except on a superficial level. Delhi today is completely unrecognizable from the beautiful city that it once was. Dalrymple successfully manages to bring to life that old Delhi with all its charms and customs. He employs a rather unusual method, that of going through the history in a reverse chronological order. Thus we start in [...]

    8. russell barnes

      DespiteWilliam Dalrymple's deeply upsetting background of being posh, and having wealthy relatives allowing him to potter around ancient castles in Scotland and seemingly taking random years off without having to work, it's a pretty inspiring read. There's more to Dehli than curry and he picks it apart to reveal the fascinating, multi-layered history beneath the stereotypical surface.It made me want to seek out the two Eighteenth Century books he used as a guide to learn more. And not only that, [...]

    9. Jim

      I first heard about this book as a result of searching eBay for the works of the Scottish writer and poet George Mackay Brown, whose works I collect. I kept running into William Dalrymple's City of Djinns, which Brown is quoted in the accompanying squibs as saying it was his favorite travel book.Brown was only half right. It is both a travel book and a history at the same time. Under the guise of describing a year in Delhi, Dalrymple also goes back into the history of Delhi, ranging from even be [...]

    10. Zaki

      I'd love to live in Delhi. I'd eat a chicken vindaloo every fucking day, smoke it up with the Sadhus, and see about these ethereal Djinns that rule over the cities unconsciousness.

    11. Travelin

      I FINALLY finished this, just so I wouldn't have to carry it to another strange Balkan country. Such high hopes dashed again. I really feel like Dalrymple is some kind of hermaphrodite, who can't decide if he's proudly English or proudly Scottish/English, but he does spend the first part of the book ridiculing Indians who still think they're English, then 10 full days more trying to meet the city's eunuchs, so I guess that excuses his broad apologia for a Scottish governor and empire builder who [...]

    12. Abhishek

      This book is an encyclopaedia for all common Dilliwalas and any Indian even slightly interested in knowing about Delhi and ancient India. This is what you can call ‘The Discovery of Delhi.’ Partly a travelogue, partly a history book and overall a pleasurable book. Dalrymple provides information not usually found in school history. He starts describing Delhi right from her very birth and the saga continues till the modern times. It is most fascinating when Dalrymple describes an ancient monum [...]

    13. Ishi

      When I was first told of this book, I was skeptical about reading it, as nonfiction is a genre which I had a completely irrational dislike for. I'm glad to say that all my doubts vanished as soon as I read the first page of this book. This made me know the city I've been in forever even better. The many traditions, the ever-changing rulers, the rich history, it all had me awestruck. I was pulled into this book instantly and abandoned all my other "current-reads" for the time being. The picture W [...]

    14. Vikas Lather

      William Dalrymple is the best travel writer(only exception is V.S.Naipaul)"In Delhi, right of way belongs to the driver of the largest vehicle", shows he wrote the book with exceptional observation. Teeth-grinding horror episodes of 84 Sikh riots and his conviction to discovery truth behind the story of Mahabharata capture imagination to seemingly endless degree. "Delhi ladies very good. Having breasts like mangoes", Second rate filthy expression of Mr Singh(his driver), reflects his playfulness [...]

    15. Sashwati Sanyal

      This is the first of William Dalrymple that i am reading. Having being pushed into it via heavy recommendations, must say that WD fails to inspire. The book starts with a lot of promise but takes a meandering tone halfway through the narration. Delhi's intriguing past is a delicious topic that more than simply nudges your curiosity but WD is yet to bite a fulsome piece into it.Here's hoping that the latter half would live upto expectations!

    16. Parinita

      What a spectacular book! My first Dalrymple and definitely not my last. I've fallen in love with Delhi all over again (which is supposed to be odd behaviour for a true-blue Mumbai girl) and can't wait to visit the city for a longer, more illuminating stay. I'm going to keep an eye out for all his other books.

    17. Ashish

      My first Darlymple book, and a fine introduction to his style of writing. I have never been much of a history buff, it was a chore to get through in school as we don't allow a more storytelling-based approach towards teaching it. The topic of the Mughals is prominently featured in the school curriculum and yet there is so much more to discover. The author creates a beautiful tapestry of stories, places and events, which when juxtaposed with the present creates an exquisite narration. The languag [...]

    18. Soumen Daschoudhury

      William Dalrymple, in one of his interviews says, “If I had five more lives, I would have lived all of them in India.”I have travelled to Delhi many a times. If you ask a non-Delhiite about the city, though they would awe at the roads and structures, complain about the filth and crowd in some parts of the city, one common thing that they would say is ‘it’s a city of snobs’ and so would I.Delhi – a city like any other city in the world; what’s the fascination attached to it? History [...]

    19. Pramod Nair

      I was hooked to the works of William Dalrymple from the moment I started reading City Of Djinns. It was in 2004 while browsing through a bookshop that I came across three of the 2004 penguin published Indian editions from the author – ‘City Of Djinns’, ‘The Age of Kali’ and ‘In Xanadu’ and I bought them all. The authors name was slightly familiar from a newspaper article, which I have read a year before about his documentary titled ‘Indian Journeys’ and the news about his then [...]

    20. Maitrey

      I came into this book as an unabashed fan of William Dalrymple (WD). I think he's a razor-sharp observer who can write hilariously. Combine this with his love for history, assiduous scholarship and great sympathy and fondness for the subjects he writes about, and we have a winner. He's definitely an oasis in the desert that is Indian-history writing.The City of Djinns trawls through time, peeling away layer by layer the city that is Delhi. Even though the book was written in the late 80s/early 9 [...]

    21. Kislay Verma

      From SolomonSays:William Dalrymple's City of Djinns: A year in Delhi is a perfect amalgamation of an informative travel guide, a beautiful retelling of the city's history and a very personal storyAlthough the book describes just one year of his stay in Delhi, the content has been drawn from the experiences he had over a couple of years. Dalrymple's love and understanding of the city is clearly visible through the myriad stories woven together seamlessly into the narration. He paints such a life- [...]

    22. Indrani Sen

      I had moved away from this book a few times. It took me a long time getting around to finishing it. I loved it. Loved the way Delhi has been depicted through it's long history backwards. A very very good and interesting read.

    23. Raghu

      'City of Djinns: a year in Delhi" is probably the finest book on the city of Delhi covering mostly its recent history of 400 years. It is lovingly and passionately researched and is embellished with endearing encounters. The author spends a whole year in Delhi in 1989 and researches for four more years to produce this gem of a book. It was of particular interest to me as I lived in Delhi for five years in the mid- 1970s. This book teaches me how little I knew of the city and its history. The aut [...]

    24. Pushkar Srigyan

      First time I find out that reading history can be so interesting . I have never much interest in monuments and parks. But of course the unbiased descriptions of incidents and actual research had made this book very addictive and once you start then you also feel the same way as author feels. Basically william has written in travel book style so you feel the same way as you are also traveling those places . Whenever he finds out a little about anything , we also start filling curious about it and [...]

    25. gurpreet kaur

      With its rich cultural heritage Delhi has intrigued the interest of many a historian and traveller. William Dalrymple has made an interesting attempt at unravelling the history of this age-old city. A dedicated effort to research and sketch the portrait of a city disjointed in time, a city which has managed to preserve many varied centuries, frozen in time, at different areas. Beginning with recent and familiar events the author goes backwards to the cavernous chambers of myth and legend holding [...]

    26. Jenny Brown

      I wish there had been more Delhi and less history. The author's scholarship is, as usual, impressive, but the city he is actually living in rarely comes alive as he describes its past in great detail, though at times with what seemed to me to be the introduction of stereotypical people chosen to illustrate points he is trying to make. Indeed, all the of the people he encounters seem like stage characters. Perhaps Dalrymple's youth at the time he wrote this book (he was barely 25) and his own Bri [...]

    27. Priya

      It takes some time indeed to settle into this city, for you think there is no flavor and everything is too loud and boisterous. Quite true. But equally true is the spirit of city that exits as glimpse, just like the encounter or the imagination of it ( say at Nizamuddin) or even the glimpse of where the it all began i love Delhi. And this book articulates the reasons for me . To all who are new to the city - this book deserves a chance if you are already disillusioned with the big city's existe [...]

    28. Jaidev

      I was first introduced to William Dalrymple in a documentary I watched nearly eight years ago. The scene was shot in a Kali temple where devotees had gathered on the eve of Holi. Dalrymple then proceeds to explain what Holi means to Hindus. The timing of his narration was such that as soon as he finished talking, the nearly hundred devotees threw up their hands and started dancing to chants of "Jai Mata Di" and "Holi hai". Dalrymple then proceeds to tie a handkerchief around his head and disappe [...]

    29. Zeeshan Ahmed

      One of the finest books I have ever read. A book on my beloved city Delhi. A book that I fell in love with before even reading it, and that love has only gotten stronger. Mr. Dalrymple explores Delhi. Meets the ghosts of the past, explores the ruins, meets sufi dervishes, fossils still breathing and so on. He explores the Delhi that was once an ancient city, then became a capital full of riches. Riches that weren't only confined to material. Riches that were of intellect, literature and poetry. [...]

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