Ramji Das’ Zikr-e Umurat-e Am Zila-e Dehli, an account of Delhi and its surroundings, is as unique as the city in which it was written, just before the momentous events of 1857 which completely changed this space. Delhi and Its Environs Before 1857: The Account of Ramji Das, Sarishtadar provides a rare description of the city—the alam mein intikhab—where even Lord Indra chose to alight, and this work commands a distinctive place amongst the Persian and Urdu works recorded between the mid-eighteenth and early twentieth centuries. Can history be written through structures? Yes! thought Ramji Das, the newly retired deputy sarishtadar, a great admirer of Saiyid Ahmad Khan and his work, who engaged in a dialogue with the past through the material edifices of Delhi and its neighbourhood. In other words, Ramji Das could not just adhere to the prevalent nineteenth-century ecumene by carrying out a survey of structures, but went beyond this to discuss popular cultures, the administrative divisions and the revenue jurisdiction of Delhi. His account included a knowledgeable scrutiny of water bodies and dams that also defined the undulating topography of the city’s geographical regions, the fiscal tight-fistedness of the department of the Collectorate headed by English officials and made a note of some unregistered places of interest. In this annotated translation of the text, Shama Mitra Chenoy brings forth a work about the way Delhi once was.