The envoy is an ambassador of a respective country. India is a land of beautiful culture and tradition. This draws many foreigners from different countries to our land. A great number of foreign travellers have visited India and appreciated the beauty of our country in different ways- poetry, books, travelogue. Megasthenes, ambassador of Seleucus Nikator was the first foreign traveller to India. India has witnessed the visit of great foreign envoys like Al-Masudi, Fa-Hien, Hiuen-Tsang, Marco Polo and Abdul Razak, etc. Read on to get the list of important foreign travellers in Indian history for the IAS Exam.
Aspirants reading about foreign travellers in Indian History can also read other important History articles:
Important Foreign Travellers to India
|Period of Stay
||1443 A.D. – 1444 A.D.
- He was a Persian scholar.
- He was also an ambassador of Persia.
- He visited India during the rule of Deva Raya II of Vijayanagar.
|Alberuni/Abu Rehan Mahamud
||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.
- Al-Masudi was An Arab traveller.
- In his book Muruj-ul-Zehab he has explained about his journey.
|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.
||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”.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||1292 A.D. – 1294 A.D.
- He was a European traveller.
- He visited Southern India during the reign of Rudramma Devi of the Kakatiyas.
||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’.
||1420 A.D. – 1421 A.D.
- He was an Italian merchant.
- He visited India during the reign of Deva Raya I of Vijayanagar.
||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.
Questions from the account of foreign travellers have been asked in UPSC exam. Aspirants can get the previous years’ History Questions in UPSC Mains GS 1, for reference.