City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

William Dalrymple
 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 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.


Beautifully written book from the eyes of a visitor and explorer who unlike the people of the city hasn't just accepted the things as they are or grown immune to all the pieces of history scattered around the city. He asks questions and chases the stories behind each experience in the city, taking each experience as a clue. The result? I, after living in and around New Delhi for 10 years, learnt some amazing, intriguing and some heart breaking stories from Will and Olivia's year long adventure. Most of all it makes me want to explore Old Delhi again, make up for the 4 years of living amidst the remains of multiple eras of Indian history and still oblivious to it.

His work is well researched and the book follows a chronological order through the various periods of history. Each exploration is linked with a modern day experience, whether triggered by a tangible piece of history, culture or a conversation. Read it if you love to learn from stories, abstract connections and if you hated school history textbooks :)
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