Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Women's Cyber Monday Deals Week Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Train egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Deals Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer mithc mithc mithc  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage Shop Now HTL
City of Djinns and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $17.00
  • Save: $3.68 (22%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
City of Djinns: A Year in... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Cover and edges has wear, Eligible for free shipping. Shipping and customer service provided by Amazon.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi Paperback – March 25, 2003

104 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$8.99 $1.13
Audio, Cassette, Abridged, Audiobook
"Please retry"

$13.32 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
  • +
  • White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
  • +
  • The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857
Total price: $42.97
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Delhi has a richly layered past, and Dalrymple (In Xanadu, McKay, 1990) deftly peels away each layer to reveal how the city came to be what it is today. Djinns are spirits said to be seen only after prolonged fasting and prayer; they too are integral to understanding the city. The author, a young Scot carrying on the fine British tradition of travel writing, has a knack for meeting fascinating people and capturing their most revealing remarks. He introduces us to dervishes, eunuchs, partridge fighting, weddings, and expatriates. His wife contributes sketches that nicely complement his text. Considering the importance of Delhi, the capital of the world's second most populous nation, this book deserves to be in most public and academic libraries.
Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon State Coll. Lib., Ashland
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Delightful ... Surely one of the funniest books about India' Times Literary Supplement 'Scholarly and marvellously entertaining ... a considerable feat' Dervla Murphy, Spectator 'Dalrymple has pulled it off again' Jan Morris, Independent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at

Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (March 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142001007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142001004
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Pompeo on August 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book, 90% informative and 10% humorous, equals 100% reading enjoyment. It's a delightful and entertaining history of Delhi, India told in a very ingenious way: it runs in reverse pattern from conventional history books in that it starts with the most recent history first and then gradually works back into time, ending in the ancient. However, what I enjoyed the most was how the author always introduces some present-day aspect (an existing ruin or a living person) as background material on which he weaves his historical journey in and out of Delhi's past and present. For example, a Dr. Jaffrey is his link to the Red Fort; a now very old Indian-born English woman, Alice, describes her associations with Lutyens, the creator of New Delhi; a Pakeezah Begum, a crown-princess and librarian, is one of the last surviving descendants of the Mughal emperors and becomes the modern-day connection to history of the Mughal dynasty; and the very decrepit Residency tells you about Delhi's romantic past in the era when it was beautifully intact.

I don't know why, but to me the most poignant stories told were about the Anglo-Indians who ended up abandoned by both Britain and India after the birth of an independent India. I never realized such unfortunate people existed, becoming political refugees denied rights by India, the country of their birth; and by the UK, to which they had blood ties. Mr. Dalrymple interviews a few of these people who by now have grown old and are the living remnants of hardball politics of a bygone era. They give their personal accounts of their own hardships. As victims abused by the system, they were denied basic privileges. These interviews are still quite vivid in my memory.

In the midst of all the daunting history of this city, Mr.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Tim F. Martin on May 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
_City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi_ by William Dalrymple is an excellent portrait of a fascinating city. I have to admit, having read a few travel essay books on India that the image I had of the city was of a fairly uninteresting place, a "city of gray bureaucracy" as the author put it. Dalrymple showed me just how wrong I was in this intimate depiction of Delhi, past and present.

One of the first things the reader learns in this book is that there is more than one Delhi. The two main Delhis are Mughal Old Delhi and Punjabi New Delhi, each keeping largely to itself, each "absolutely certain of its superiority over the other." Old Delhi has been inhabited for thousands of years, its Urdu-speaking elite (both Hindu and Muslim) having lived in the city for many centuries, the city an ancient one of sophistication and culture, though also a city in severe decline, with many of its once magnificent palaces, gardens, tombs, and mosques, once examples of the "silky refinement" of Mughal architecture now crumbling into ruin, decaying into "something approaching seediness." Many of its citizens are among the last to practice trades dating back to Mughal times, and a large number of them live in exile in Pakistan. In contrast, New Delhi is a growing, booming, bustling city of hard-working nouveau-riche entrepreneurs, largely comprised of people whose roots only go back to the catastrophic days of Partition in 1947, when hundreds of thousands of Punjabi Sikh and Hindu refugees poured into the city.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A really wonderful book about the city of Delhi. Dalrymple and his wife go to spend a year living in Delhi (how did they afford this?), and he uses this arrangement as a way of chronicling the present day status of the city and delving deep into its history. He's done a very nice job of moving back and forth between present and past, managing to keep all his meetings and interviews with various experts quite interesting. The only part which lost my interest was an extended look into Sufi mysticism, but I just skimmed it and moved along. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in India, and especially to anyone planning a trip to Delhi.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By fdoamerica on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
A Djinn is a spirit, not visible to the naked eye, and to see one in Delhi, India you have to cleans yourself from the natural world by fasting and prayer . In the ancient city of Delhi there are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of Djinns who serve to testify of both Delhi's glorious and hideous past. Delhi is one of the oldest cities in the world and for the past 3000 years has reincarnated itself. To uncover its culture and civilization takes the care and commitment of an archaeologist, or a journalist. William Dalrymple is an award winning journalist. In 1994 he was awarded the Cook Travel Award. In City of Djinns, William Dalrymple paints a vibrant portrait of Delhi past and present with colorful words. His journalistic research and unique writing skills call forth the spirits of both times past and present, illuminating for the reader the incredible history of this city.
His humorous and provocative description of how he spent a year in Delhi, with his artistic wife Olivia, while he researched the city's history brings contemporary Delhi alive. True to life characters, like his authoritative spendthrift landlady, Mrs. Puri, or his slightly maniacal taxi drive Balvinder Singh, give his settings an unusual liveliness. Add India pigeon lovers, mystical healers, an enterprising group of transvestites (eunuchs), the baffling Indian bureaucracy, weddings, parties, funerals and religious holidays and "voila" you have an entertaining and informative travel/history book.
If you are going to, or ever have been to Delhi, India you owe it to yourself to read City of Djinns. Recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
This item: City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
Price: $13.32
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: long kameez, a. dalrymple, pill box hat