History of Ancient India - Major Foreign Travellers, Writers and Their Introduction:

Here you have been given general knowledge information related to some prominent writers and travelers who came to India in Indian history. If we talk about the ancient history of India, then we get their information mainly from four sources, these religious texts are historical texts, archaeological evidence and details of foreign travelers. Here we will talk about those foreign travelers who provided us important and invaluable information about the history of ancient India.

Whether India was attacked by Greeks or Muslims or other castes, many foreign travelers have set their feet on this land. Most of these travelers came to India with the invading army. We get invaluable information about Indian history from the details of these foreign travelers.

List of major foreign travelers visiting India:

  • Iranian traveler Abdul Razzaq: This Iranian traveler came to India during the rule of Devaraya II, the ruler of Vijayanagara.
  • Alberuni: This India came with Mahmud Ghaznavi. Alberuni wrote a book called 'Tahq-e-Hind' or 'Kitabul Hind'. This book describes the history, society, customs, and politics of Hindus.
  • Arabic traveler Alamsudi: This Arabic traveler came to India during the reign of
  • Pratihara ruler Mahipala I. A book named 'Mahjul Jabah' was written by him.
  • Chinese traveler Itsing: This Chinese traveler traveled to India in the 7th century. It has described Nalanda University and Vikramshila University.
  • Herodotus: Herodotus is also called 'the father of history'. He described Indo-Persian relations in his first Historica of the 5th century BC.
  • Ibn Battuta: This African traveler came to India during Muhammad Tughlaq. Rahela has been composed by Ibn Battuta, which gives information about the rule of Firoz Tughlaq.
  • Captain Hawkings: It remained in India from 1608 AD to 1613 AD. It came to India during the time of Jahangir and tried to get facilities for the East India Company. He was well versed in the Persian language. Through this, information about the decoration of Jahangir's court and the life of Jahangir is obtained.
  • Jean-Baptiste Tavernier: It came to India during the reign of Shah Jahan. It is through this that information about the famous diamond 'Kohinoor' of India has been given.
  • Dionysius: The ambassador of the Egyptian king Ptolemy Philadelphus came to India during the reign of Emperor Ashoka the Great.
  • Ptolemy: The author of the book 'Geography of India', Ptolemy traveled to India in the second century.
  • Dimachus: It came in the court of Bindusara. Dimachus was the ambassador of the Syrian king Antiochus. The details made by it are related to the Maurya Empire.
  • Dionysius: This was the Greek ambassador who came to the court of Emperor Ashoka. It was sent as a messenger by the Egyptian king Ptolemy Philidelphus.
  • William Hawkins: William Hawkins came to India in 1608 AD during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. His travel account gives information about Jahangir's court system, the festival of Nauroz celebrated in the court, the emperor's tuladan, Jahangir's personal life.
  • Venetian traveler Nicola Manucci: This was the Venetian traveler who came to the court of Aurangzeb. A book named 'Storio de Mogor' was written by him, which describes the Mughal Empire.
  • European traveler Peter Mandi: This was a traveler from Europe who came to India during the reign of Jahangir.
  • Pliny: It came to India in the first century. The book 'Natural History' has been written by Pliny. This book gives information about Indian animals, trees, minerals etc.
  • Chinese traveler Fahien: This was a Chinese traveler who came to India during the reign of Chandragupta II in the Gupta Empire in 405 AD and remained in India till 411 AD. Its original purpose was to obtain information about Indian Buddhist texts. It has described the people of Madhya Pradesh as happy and prosperous in its description.
  • Peter Mandi: Peter Mandi came to India in 1628 during the reign of Shah Jahan. He stayed in India for about 8 years. From his travelogue, information about the political events of Shah Jahan, the arrangement of the Mughal court, personal life of the Mughal emperors etc. is available. He has also mentioned the social and religious customs of the Indians.
  • French traveler Trevornier: French traveler John Baptiste Trevornier came to India in 1604 AD. His travel account gives information about the social and economic condition of India.
  • Manucci: Manucci was from Italy. He came to India in 1653 AD. He lived in India for a long time. His travelogue is famous as 'Storia-de-Mogor'. Translated by William.
  • French Doctor Bernier: This was a French doctor who came to India in 1556 AD. It describes the reign of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Its journey is described in 'Travels in the Mughal Empire' which was published in 1670 AD.
  • Barabosa: It came to India in 1560 AD when the ruler of Vijayanagara was Krishnadevaraya.
  • French soldier Belanger de Laspine: This was a French soldier who reached India in 1672 AD with a sea fleet. It contributed significantly to the establishment of the city of Pondicherry.
  • Venetian traveler Marco Polo: It came to India at the end of 13th century. It was a traveler from Venice who came to the court of the Pandya king.
  • Greek ruler Megasthenes: This was the ambassador of Seleucus Nicator, a Greek ruler who lived in 302 BC. Came to the court of Chandragupta Maurya. He lived in the court of Chandragupta Maurya for 6 years and wrote a book called 'Indica'. This book gives information about the culture, society and Indian history of the Maurya era.
  • Chinese traveler Sanyugan: It was a Chinese traveler who came to India in 518 AD. It collected copies related to Buddhism in its travels.
  • Taranatha: This was a Tibetan writer. He composed the texts 'Kangyur' and 'Tangyur'. They get information about Indian history.
  • Sir Thomas Roe: It came in the court of Jahangir in 1616 AD. By this an attempt was made to get a trading facility for the East India Company from Jahangir.
  • Hamilton: This was a surgeon who came to India during the reign of Farrukhsiyar as a member of the delegation of the East India Company.
  • Chinese traveler Huen Tsang: This was also a Chinese traveler who came to India during the reign of Harshavardhana. He lived in India from 630 AD to 643 AD and studied at Nalanda University for 6 years. The travelogue of Huensang is also known as Si-ru-ki. In its description, the society, religion and politics of Harshavardhana's period are mentioned.

List of prominent foreign travelers who visited India in 16th-17th century:

Passenger name Year of arrival in india
Father Anthony Monserrat 1578 AD
Rolf frinch 1588 - 1599 AD
William Hawkins 1608 - 1613 AD
William Finch 1608 AD
Nicholas Downton 1614 AD
Thomas Roe 1616 AD
Pietra Della Vale 1622 AD
Francis Vernier 1658 AD

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Foreign Traveler FAQs:

The first foreigner to visit India was Megasthenes, who was the ambassador of Seleucus Nicator and later wrote a book Indica about his travels.

India was discovered by Portuguese seafarer, explorer Vasco da Gama on 20 May 1498 AD. He reached the port of Calicut in the present Indian state of Kerala via the sea route with four sailors with him.

Ibn Battuta came to India during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. He was a Muslim traveler who came to India from Morocco.

Chinese Buddhist pilgrims Fa-Xien, Itsing and Xuan Tsang visited India. They all came to see places related to Buddha's life and famous monasteries, so they first got acquainted with places related to Buddha's life.

Anand Math is a Bengali novel written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1882. This work had a profound impact on the Indian freedom struggle and the revolutionaries of freedom.

  Last update :  Sat 1 Oct 2022
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