Written in the 1820s, Sair-ul-Manazil, as far as we know, is the first attempt to systematically list the monuments of the city of Delhi. Apart from public buildings like mosques, temples, shrines, and tombs, it lists wells, gardens, houses, shops, and stray graves. This was in itself a formidable task, and one that might easily have resulted in a very dry and tedious document. The author, however, considerably enlivens it by a description of the various localities of the city, of the people who lived and worked there in his time, social activities and fairs, and historical anecdotes connected with places and people. The original was written in Persian by a person variously known as Sangin and Sangin Beg, and the volume is translated from an Urdu translation by the late Nausheen Jaffery, with an introduction by Swapna Liddle. It also includes maps and sketches which will both illustrate the narrative and bring a visual life to it.
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