Delhi has a long history going back to prehistoric period. The location of the city attracted rulers and invaders from ancient times because of its strategic and commercial importance. The city of Delhi has thus seen the rise and fall of many kingdoms and flourishing of different cultures and traditions.
The present Gazetteer published in 1883-84, is a well preserved record of ecosocial, cultural, historical and anthropological data of Delhi at the end of the nineteenth century. It provides a fascinating glimpse into mosaic of life as lived in Delhi at that time.
It relies on a draft gazetteer put together between 1870 and 1874 by one Mr. F. Cunningham, Barrister at law, settlement reports as well as reports by various district officers. It produces as detailed a picture as can possibly be imagined of a district that had only two towns of more than ten thousands souls Delhi and Sonepat, housing together 1,86,000 people.
The importance of this gazetteer lies not only in its being the first such authentic record but also as a benchmark for the changes that followed. History, geography, flora and fauna, sociology, ethnography, legend … all coalesced to create indelible images of Delhi of that period.
The work, which has long been out of print, is being reissued for the use of historians, planners, conservators, scholars as well as general readers. A must read for all Delhi dwellers, lovers and visitors.