Romance of Delhi

Published : May 04, 2012 00:00 IST

The book is a work of straight history with an emphasis on highlighting the lesser-known monuments of the city.

RAKHSHANDA JALIL, a prolific writer on literature, culture and heritage, departs courageously from the beaten track on which some pretentious works on Delhi travelled recently. Her aim in this superbly illustrated work is to lift the cloak of invisibility that shrouds Delhi. It is a city that drips with history. Only painstaking and earnest explorers can unravel its mysteries.

She writes: The other Delhi, which I have called Invisible Delhi, waits to be discovered. It holds an embarrassment of riches in the form of countless little-known, seldom-visited, largely unheard-of tombs, nameless pavilions, mosques, madrasas, pleasure gardens, baolis, cemeteries, and much else.

We have tried to make this a more user-friendly book than the previous editions. We have provided a better map and replaced the illustrations with photographs. The latter has been done upon feedback from booksellers, distributors and readers. We hope that the photographs will make these lesser-known monuments easier to identify and therefore better accessible. Thanks to the collaboration with Prabhas Roy, a photographer of high talent, the aim is amply fulfilled.

The book is divided period-wise pre-Sultanate, Sultanate, Tughlak, Saiyid, Mughal (which demands the largest coverage) and the post-Mughal. A chronology and a bibliography assist the student as does an excellent, easy to follow, Map for Hidden Monuments of Delhi. Prabhas Roy's stunning photographs do the rest.

This is a work of straight history with an emphasis on highlighting the beautiful monuments which have received less attention than is their due. Lovers of Delhi, like this writer, will find it a work that will chart the routes which they can follow to discover a Delhi about which they know far less than they think they do.

Rakhshanda Jalil and Bikash Niyogi might well consider a work of similar quality on the dargahs of South Asia.

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