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Hunuz Dilli dur ast – City of Djinns

I usually do not re-read books, but when a book is as interesting as this one, what does a girl do? I have read the “City of Djinns” 4 times now, and I fall in love with Delhi every time I read it. Written by @williamdalrymple this fantastic travelogue of my favorite city is a must read for anyone who wants to delve deeper into Delhi’s glorious past and rich history. Each chapter is a detailed journey into the mystical realm of a city that once used to be.


Delhi has clearly been there and done that, the Nation’s capital which rightly described by Dalrymple was “once the last bastion of the chaperoned virgin, the double locked bedrooms, and the arranged marriage was slowly filling with lovers whispering, blushing, occasionally holding hands. After the long Victorian twilight, the sari was beginning to slip”. Delhi has lived many lives, right from the Mahabharata to the Mughals, ruled by the British and now dominated by the Punjabi middle class it has seen it all. And these worlds could not be further away from each other. It is almost painful to imagine how beautiful this city was.
Dalrymple is a sensitive and thoughtful writer and juxtaposes quickly from the relics of the great Mughals to the hot, dusty taxi of Balvinder Singh and the cramped room of Mrs. Puri, his eccentric landlord.
Delhi is now like a bereaved widow, it lies at the mercy of those who inhabit her, and the author has taken great pains for the reader to feel her plight, her pain, and her sadness. You can imagine great poets like Ghalib shedding tears for this city that were their home. The dedication with which Dalrymple has researched Delhi makes one want to abandon everything and be in this city to embark on a crazy journey to explore each and every corner of all the forgotten parts. But alas “Hunuz Dilli dur ast” (Alas Dehli is still far away).

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I REALLY have to check out this book now that you’ve posted about it because I loved Dalrymple’s White Mughals book!! I’m Hyderabadi and that book is all Hyderabad history so it spoke to me. But my family was originally from Delhi so I’m putting this on my to buy list! Beautiful review, by the way :)


Thank you Manal, glad your liked my review. Dalrymple is my favorite author. Love his work.

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