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 ...
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.
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Publishers Weekly, 1994-11-21 Delhi is a city alive with legends and history for British journalist Dalrymple. In this engaging, colorful record of one year spent in India's capital (which won him the 1994 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award), past and present intersect as he tours bazaars, crumbling palaces and imperial buildings designed by English colonialist architect Sir Edwin Lutyens; attends a Sikh mourning ceremony following a cremation; and meets mystics, nouveaux-riches Punjabis, poets and eunuchs descended from servants of sultans. Stories of djinns-mischievous spirits who presumably watched over Delhi through successive invasions-intertwine with the intrigues of Mughal emperors, the adventures of 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, who was appointed a judge and ambassador in Delhi and snippets of the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata. Dalrymple has a keen eye for the ethnic and religious tensions of a city where high-rises, shopping plazas and satellite dishes are crowding out bungalows and temples. Illustrated. (Dec.)
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