A Journey Into Delhi’s History: City of Djinns

It happens seldom with me that when I read a book, I fall deeply and irrevocably in love with the book and not the character. But this time I fell in love with not only the book but its author, too.

City of Djinns is a product of William Dalrymple’s curiosity and the eagerness to know what made present day Delhi the city it is. This is the first book by Dalrymple that I got my hands on and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

This book is an eye-opener, especially for a Delhiite like me. It makes you think, it makes you want to visit all these places again, this time with a different viewpoint. With this book, Dalrymple peels Delhi’s history by visiting Old Delhi in order to know the history by trying to find the direct descendants of the last Mughal emperor, the origin and current state of eunuchs and the Hakims who still treat their patients the way they used to centuries ago.


City of Djinns transported me to some other world, every time I visit the Hauz Khas Fort, I think about how beautiful it must have been during Tughlaq’s reign. It has made me see my own city with a different viewpoint.

From the gory details of the Sikh riots of ’84, assassination of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi and to the eccentricity of Indian weddings, there is nothing that Dalrymple has not touched in his book.

This book is a mix of a personal diary and historical events which were held in Delhi centuries ago. Dalrymple even tried to know more about the mythological book, The Mahabharata in order to know exactly how Delhi came into being.

I feel this book is a must read in order to know what our history looks like and what makes Delhi the city it is right now. An exquisite book and an engaging read since the beginning, it will ignite curiosity in you and make you appreciate our history, the history of Delhi…

PS: This review does NOT do justice to the book, you’ll have to read to know how amazing and beautiful a book it is.

Title: City Of Djinns

Author: William Dalrymple

Pages: 350

Image: Goodreads


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