Accounts from foreign travellers play an important role in determining Indian history especially during medieval and ancient India. Their account has been able to throw light on various aspects such as administration and common practices, during their visit.
Various accounts by foreign travellers
Fa Hein visited during the reign of Chandragupta-2, which was the zenith of Gupta empire in India. His accounts tell about Gupta economic prosperity where he says people were paying less tax. He also says that he didn’t face any law and order problems.
He visited India during the reign of Harshavardhana. He chronicled his experiences in the book ‘Si-u-kyi’, where he mentions his visit to Buddhists pilgrim sites. He also visited universities in ancient India especially the Nalanda University and explains the education system prevalent in India.
Al Baruni was the first islamic chronicler in India and visited India along with Mahmud Ghazni. He studied Indian way of life by learning Sanskrit. He was able to understand vedas and other sacred texts. He explains the religious condition during his visit especially in city of Varanasi. His accounts are mentioned in the book ‘Kitab al Hind’.
Ibn-e- Batuta visited during the Tuglaq dynasty in Sultanate period. He explains the life during Mahmud Bin Tughlaq especially law and order in the kingdom. He even functioned as the chief Qazi during his stay in Delhi. He also travelled across India and was able to mention the life in the deep south especially the Pallavas. He mentions his experiences in the book ‘Rihala’.
He visited the Vijayanagara kingdom during reign of Devaraya 2 of Sangama dynasty. He describes the richness of the kingdom and also revenue system of the kingdom. His description about trade in Vijayanagara has been at the centre of appreciation. He also describes the architecture and glory of the city of Hampi.
Thus, the description of travellers play an important role in identifying the political, economical and social conditions of ancient India. This also helps historians to chronicle Indian history in a better organized way.