Delhi: Phoenix City

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Penguin Books Limited, May 24, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 164 pages
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C.S.H. Jhabvala, a renowned architect, is also a remarkably gifted artist. His unrivalled knowledge of Delhi’s history is evident in this book, as is his eye for the city’s quirky corners, its chaos and colour. For his Delhi is a city not just of palaces, mosques and tombs, but also of obscure streets and squares, of overgrown gardens, crumbling bungalows and urban villages. Successive dynasties, rulers and epochs have created their own Delhis, and though much has been demolished, uprooted or hemmed in by new constructions in the process, the remains of all these different Delhis still survive. In his wanderings around Delhi, the author has stumbled upon them, and recorded his discoveries in informative and entertaining words, as well as wonderfully evocative pencil sketches. Together, these constitute an invaluable record of the many “ineradicable” Delhi that co-exist with the modern metropolis -- from the remains of ancient Hindu temples used to construct the 12th-century monuments of the Sultanate, to the buildings, villages and neighbourhoods created by the Tughlaqs, the Lodis, the Mughals and the British Raj. This is a book that will not only delight those who love Delhi’s historic monuments, it will also awaken in many others a desire to explore and rediscover the city’s lesser-known treasures

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