Important Foreign Travellers to India

Foreign Travellers Period of Stay Description
Megasthenes 302 B.C. – 298 B.C.
  • He was the ambassador of Seleucus.
  • He visited India during the supremacy of Chandragupta Maurya.
  • Chandragupta was known to the Greeks as Sandrocottus.
  • He was also the author of the book ‘Indica’.
Deimachos 320-273 BC
  • Greek Ambassador
  • Come as ambassador to Bindusāra or Amitraghāta, the son and successor of Chandragupta Maurya.
  • He was sent by Antiochus I (the son of Seleucus Nikator).


130 A.D.


  • From Greece
  • Geographer
  • Wrote “the geography of India”-which describes ancient Indian geography.
Fa-Hien 405 A.D. – 411 A.D.
  • He was a Chinese Buddhist monk.
  • He visited India during the reign of Vikramaditya (Chandragupta II).
  • He is known for his visit to Lumbini.
  • His voyage is described in his travelogue “Record of Buddhist Kingdoms”.
  • ‘Foguoji’ is one of his famous books.
Huien Tsang 630 A.D. – 645 A.D.
  • He was a Chinese traveller.
  • He visited India during the supremacy of Harsha Vardhana.
  • Si-yu-ki or ‘The Records of the Western World’ was written by him.
I-TSING 671-695 AD
  • He was a Chinese traveller.
  • Visited India in connection with Buddhism.
  • His work includes biographies of many important monks.
Al-Masudi 957 A.D.
  • Al-Masudi was An Arab traveller.
  • In his book Muruj-al-Zahab, he has explained his journey.
Alberuni/Abu al-Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni 1024 A.D. – 1030 A.D.
  • He was a Persian scholar.
  • He accompanied Mahmud of Ghazni and wrote a book titled ‘Tahqiq-i-hind’.
  • He is considered the father of Indology.
Marco Polo 1292 A.D. – 1294 A.D.
  • He was a European traveller.
  • He visited Southern India during the reign of Rudramma Devi of the Kakatiyas.
Ibn Battuta 1333 A.D. – 1347 A.D.
  • He was a Moroccan traveller.
  • He visited India during the rule of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq.
  • Rihla is a book written by Ibn Batuta.
Shihabuddin al-Umari 1348 A.D.
  • Came from Damascus
  • He gives a vivid account of India in his book “ Masalik albsar fi-mamalik al-amsar”
Nicolo Conti 1420 A.D.– 1421 A.D.
  • He was an Italian merchant.
  • He visited India during the reign of Deva Raya I of Vijayanagar.
Abdur Razzaq 1443-1444 A.D.
  • Persian traveller, Ambassador of Shahrukh of Timurid dynasty.
  • Came during the rule of Devraya II of the Vijaynagar Empire.
  • Stayed  in India at the palace of the Zamorin of Kozhikode, Calicut
  • His book entitled ‘Matla-us-Sadain wa Majma-ul-Bahrain’ described the life and events in Calicut under the Zamorin and also of the Ancient City of Vijayanagara at Hampi.
Athanasius Nikitin  1470- 1474 A.D.
  • Russian merchant
  • Visited South India
  • Describes the condition of the Bahmani kingdom under Muhammad III (1463-82).
  • His narrative “The journey beyond 3 seas”
Duarte Barbosa 


AD 1500
  • Portuguese voyager
  • Stayed in India for 16 years, most of the time in Kerala and in the Vijayanagara dynasty.
  • Barbosa studied Malayalam and has written about the caste culture that prevailed here as well as about social life.
  • He wrote the ‘Book of Duarte Barbosa.’
John Hughen Von Linschotten 1583 A.D.
  • Dutch traveller
  • Given a valuable account of the social and economic life of South India.
Domingo Paes 


1520-1522 A.D.
  • Portuguese traveller.
  • Visited the court of Krishnadeva Raya of the Tuluv dynasty of the Vijayanagar empire.
Captain William Hawkins 1608 A.D. – 1611 A.D.
  • Captain William Hawkins led the first expedition of the English East India Company to India in 1609.
  • He visited India during the reign of Jahangir.
  • He carried a personal letter from King James I of England.
  • He did not succeed in getting Jahangir’s permission to start a factory.
Fernao Nuniz 1535-1537 A.D.
  • Portuguese merchant
  • Came during the rule of Achyutdeva Raya of the Tuluva dynasty of Vijayanagar Empire
  • Wrote a history of the empire from its earliest times of the closing years of Achyutdeva Raya’s reign
Thomas Roe 1615 A.D. – 1619 A.D.
  • Sir Thomas Roe was an English diplomat.
  • He visited India during the reign of Jahangir in 1615.
  • He came to seek protection for an English factory at Surat.
  • His “Journal of the Mission to the Mughal Empire” is a treasured contribution to the history of India.
Francois Bernier 1656 A.D. – 1668A.D.
  • He was a French physician and traveller.
  • He was in India from 1656-1668
  • He visited India during the reign of Shah Jahan.
  • He was physician to Prince Dara Shikoh and later was attached to the court of Aurangzeb
  • ‘Travels in the Mughal Empire’ was written by Francois Bernier.
  • The book mainly talks about the rules of Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb.

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