PSC Class 84: Foreign Travelers in Ancient India

1. Megasthenes is the first foreign traveler in India. Megasthenes reached India as an ambassador of Greek ruler, Seleucus I. He arrived at the court of Chandra Gupta Maurya (BC 321 - 297). ‘Indica’ is the work of Megasthenes. Megasthenes mentions the Chandra Gupta’s society in Indica. It says that the society of Maurya is divided into seven sections. They were Philosophers, Farmers, Soldiers, Horse Riders, Handcrafters, Judges and Ministers.

2. Fa hien (AD 399 - 411) is the first Chinese traveler to reach India. Fa hien reached India in the period of Chandragupta II.

3. Huang Tsang, who was called as ‘Prince of Travelers’ reached India in AD 630 – 645. Harshavardhana is the major ruler of this period. It is believed that Huang Tsang influenced Harsha to Buddha religion.

4. Huang Tsang also visited the palaces of Chalukya King, Pulikesin II and pallava king, Narasimha Varma.

5. Huang Tsang is the foreign traveler, who became the acharya of Nalanda University, which is the ancient education center of India.

6. ‘Xiyu ji’ is the travel manual of Huang Tsang. Huang Tsang mentioned the people of India with words ‘Truthful even though Anger’.

7. I-tsing is the Chinese traveler, who visited India during the period, AD 671 – 695.

8. The Arab traveler, who visited India during the Muhammad Ghazni’s attack of India is Alberuni. ‘Tariq-E-Hind’ is the work of him.

9. Marco Polo is the Venetian traveler, who visited India in 1292 after his return from China. ‘The Travels’ is the work of him.

10. Ibn Battuta (1333 - 1347) is the Moroccan traveler who visited India during the period of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. The journey manual ‘Rebla’ is the work of him.

11. The Italian traveler, who visited Vijayanagara Empire in 1420 – 1421 is Nicolo Conti.

12. The Portuguese traveler, who visited the Vijayanagara king, Krishnadevaraya’s court in 1520 – 1522 is Domingo Paes.

13. Abdul Razzaq is the Persian traveler who visited the palace of Zamorins of Kozhikode in 1443 – 1444. It was him, who mentioned Kozhikode as ‘most safe harbor’.

14. Friar Jordanas (1323) is the first foreign traveler who mentioned the Marumakkatayam System of Kerala.

15. Ma Huan is the Chinese traveler who visited Kerala in 1409.

16. Ralph Fitch is considered as the ‘Englishmen who showed the way’. William Hawkins visited the court of Jahangir in 1609 as an ambassador of British king.

17. The French traveler, who visited the Mughal Empire for six times during the periods of Shah Jahan and Aurangazeb is Jean Baptiste Tawarni.

18. Harold Macmillan is the first british prime minister to visit India.

19. Dwight Eisenhower is the first American president to visit India.

20. Pope Paul VI is the first pope to visit India. Pope John Paul II visited India for two times.

21. Jiang Zemin is the first Chinese president to visit India.