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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

FOREIGN TRAVELERS IN INDIA - HISTORY

FOREIGN TRAVELERS IN INDIA 


  • They have always been attracted to ample opportunities for our country provided and have been interested in its diverse culture, religions, and traditions. 
  • Most of these came to India wrote their own accounts that deal with its unique focus areas.
  • Some travelers wrote about the affairs of the court while some focused on contemporary style architecture and monuments or depicted the social and economic life.
  • Every such account presents a veracious picture of then Indian Civilisation.
  • In the ancient and medieval periods, many prominent travelers visited India and recorded their observations and declarations.
Brief description of some of the most important Travelers:
(1.) Megasthenes, Time period: 302 - 298 BC.
  • Born- 350 BC.
  • Greek Historian, Diplomat, Explorer, Ambassador of Greek Warrior Seleucus I Nikator.
  • Indian Dynasty- Maurya dynasty.
  • Ruler: Chandragupta Maurya = Founder of the Maurya dynasty.
  • He visited the Maurya capital Patliputra.
  • The book- Indica/Indika
Indica
  • Indica described the sub-continent as a quadrilateral shaped country, bounded by the ocean on the Southern & Eastern side.
  • It also gives us the details of soils, rivers, plants, animals, administration & the social and religious life of India.
  • The book also communicated that Indians worshiped Lord Krishna during that time and there existed seven castes in India.
  • He founded two major caste system - 1.) Endogamy, 2.) Hereditary occupation.
  • He was influenced by the Herodotus classification of Egyptian society.
(2.) Fa - Hien, Time Period: 405 - 411 AD.
  • Chinese Buddhist monk and translator.
  • First Chinese pilgrim to visit India.
  • He studied the Sanskrit language in Patliputra.
  • Indian dynasty - Gupta dynasty.
  • Ruler- Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya).
  • He visited Peshawar, Taxila, Mathura, Kannauj, Sravasti, Kapilvastu, Sarnath, and many other places.
  • Books - Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms.
  • His Religious & Social life of Indians at that time.
(3.) Hiuen Tsang, Time Period: 630 - 645 AD.
  • The Chinese traveler, Buddhist scholar-monk, and translator.
  • Known as - Xuanzang, Prince of Pilgrims.
  • Ruler - Harshavardhana (Pushyabhuti).
  • He spent five years at the Nalanda University and studied under Acharya Shilabhadra.
  • He visited Kashmir, Punjab, Kapilvastu, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Decca, Odisha, Bengal.
  • Book: Si-Yu-Ki = Buddhist Record of The Western World.
(4.) I -Tsing, Time Period: 671 - 695 AD.
  • Chinese traveler.
  • He visited India in connection with Buddhism.
  • Contributions - work on Biographies of eminent monks, which provides information about the social, religious & cultural life of the country.
(5.) Al - Masudi, Time Period: 956 AD.
  • Arab historian, geographer, author, and explorer.
  • Known as - Herodotus of the Arabs.
  • Book - Muruj-ul-Zehab.
  • He combined world history with scientific geography, social contemporary, and biography as is published in English named "The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems".
(6.) Al-Biruni (Abu Rehman Muhammad), Time Period: 1024 - 1030 AD.
  • Scholar well versed in Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Sanskrit.
  • He came to India along with Mahmud of Ghazni and traveled all over India.
  • Books - 1.) Kitab-ul-Hind, 2.) Tahqiq-i-Hind.
  • The books dealt with social, religious, and political conditions in India.
(7.) Marco Polo, Time Period: 1292 - 1294 AD.
  • Italian merchant, adventurer, writer.
  • He visited South India during the reign of the Pandyan ruler of Madurai, Madverman, Kulshekhara.
  • Books - 1.) The Travels of Marco Polo, 2.) The Book of Sir Marco Polo = this book is inspired, Christopher Columbus.
(8.) Ibn Batuta, Time Period: 1333 - 1347 AD.
  • Moroccan traveler.
  • Throughout his life, he traveled in Syria, Iraq, Persia, Yemen, Oman, and few trading ports on the coast of East Africa.
  • India visit- during the reign of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, who appointed him as "Qazi" or Judge of Delhi.
  • Book - Rihla (in Arabic)
  • The book is highly meticulous where deep observations about new cultures, people, beliefs, and values.
  • He also mentions - postal systems.
The route he took is shown diagrammatically below:

(9.) Nicole De Conti, Time Period: 1420 - 1421 AD.
  • Italian merchnat & traveler.
  • He traveled to the Vijayanagara kingdom.
  • Ruler - Devaraya I.
  • In Mylapore (Chennai), he founded the tomb of St. Thomas.
  • He confirmed the gold and spice trade amongst India, Sumatra, China.
  • He referred to the Telugu language as "Italian of the East".
  • Book - Cristofordo da Bollate.
(10.) Abdur RazzaqTime Period: 1443 - 1444 AD.
  • Persian, Timurid chronicler, scholar.
  • He traveled to the Vijayanagara kingdom.
  • Ruler - Devaraya II.
  • Book: Malta-us-Sadain was Majma-ul-Bahrain.

(11.) Domingo PaesTime Period: 1520 - 1522 AD.
  • Portuguese merchant, writer, explorer.
  • Indian dynasty- Tuluva dynasty (Vijayanagara empire)
  • Ruler - Krishnadeva Raya.
  • Book - Chronica dos reis de Bisnaga.
He reported the following features about the empire:
  • Advanced irrigation technology - that allowed the present to high yielding crops.
  • wide variety of cultures where shown in crops & vegetation.
  • the busy market of precious stones.
  • the city was prospering and its size was comparable to Rome, which abundant vegetation, aqueducts, and artificial lakes.
(12.) William HawkinsTime Period: 1608 - 1611 AD.
  • The representative of English East India Company and ambassador of the British King James-I.
  • Traveled to Agra in the court of Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
  • He came to negotiate for the establishment of a factory at Surat.
  • Favor by Jahangir enabled him to overcome all difficulties and this permission was the first distinct recognition of English commerce in the East.
(13.) Sir Thomas RoeTime Period: 1615 - 1619 AD.
  • English diplomats, members of the House of Commons, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
  • He stayed at the court of Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
  • The main objective of his mission was to get the protection of the factory of British East India Company at Surat.
  • Book - 1.) The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to the Court of the Great Mogul, 2.) Journal of the Mission to the Mughal Empire.
(14.) Jean-Baptise TavernierTime Period: 1638 - 1643 AD.
  • French gem (diamond) merchant, traveler.
  • He came to ti India and traveled as far as Agra and from there to the Kingdom of Golconda.
  • He also visited the court of Shahjahan.
  • In his book, he has discussed diamond and the diamond mines of India.
(15.) Francois Bernier, Time Period: 1656 - 1717 AD.
  • Frenchman, doctor, political philosopher, historian.
  • Indian Dynasty - Timurid dynasty.
  • Ruler - Dara Sikhoh
  • He stayed here for 12 years in the Mughal Empire.
  • He compared Mughal India with contemporary Europe.
  • He wrote in his book about the prevalent social and economic life.
  • He described Mughal cities as 'Camp Towns' because towns owned their existence on the imperial camps.


               



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