William Dalrymple’s love for India is not unknown. He has penned six books, of which five have embraced Indian life as their storyline and have been award winning. India has sewn itself into his life since long now with him spending a lot of time in New Delhi India apart from London and Edinburgh.
However, since last couple of years Jaunapur (a small village on the outskirts of Delhi) has been home to the the author and his family. Delhi has been the backdrop for many of Dalrymple’s books including The Last Mughal, a prizewinning account of the Indian uprising of 1857, and the fall of the Mughal dynasty. The book has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide.
This is the writer’s third stint in India. He and his wife, Olivia, had a flat in central Delhi in the late 1980s, which they left in 1994 – the year his second book, City of Djinns was published.
William Dalrymple first visited Old Delhi, to work for Mother Teresa in his gap year before going to Cambridge, where he read history.
While living an Edwardian lifestyle in India on a three acre luxury farmhouse with a cook, an ayah, two houseboys, six gardeners, couple of guards and menagerie of animals, Dalrymple is working on a book about pilgrimages and popular religion, and researching on mythological lores like this one- goddess Kali gets on her elephant and goes to visit her sister the Virgin Mary (lore from Kerala).
“I have no urge to leave. It’s just a more exciting life,” says Dalrymple.
His wife, Olivia, has also found India very inspiring. She is a successful artist, painting beautifully detailed miniatures and depictions of local life. Their three children are studying in the British School in Delhi.