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List of Foreign Travellers in Medieval India- Al Beruni, Ibn Batuta

India is known as the world’s spiritual leader. In ancient times, India’s educational system was superior to all other countries. Perhaps this is why so many international visitors come to India to learn about the Indian educational system. We have included information on foreign travelers who arrived in India during the Medieval Period on this page. The Indian Subcontinent is home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations. In ancient times, the Indian civilization drew many travelers and academics. We have compiled a List of Foreign Travellers in Medieval India, which would be extremely useful for candidates studying for various competitive tests.

Table of Contents

List of Foreign Travellers in Medieval India

1. Al Beruni from Persia (1024-1030 A.D.)

Al Beruni was an Islamic philosopher “appointed” by Mahmud of Ghazni to compose Kitab fi tahqiq ma li’l-hind, a vast commentary on Indian philosophy and culture. “His insights on Indian realities, institutions of knowledge, social conventions, religion… are possibly the most penetrating made by any traveler to India,” historians say today. This tourist, born in Uzbekistan, spent thirteen years in India studying its culture and literature.

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2. Ibn Batuta from Morocco (1333-1347 A.D.)

Incredibly, someone could have traveled that far in a period when there was no such thing as travel gear. Meet Ibn Battuta, a man with a desire for travel that was unrivaled in history and unrivaled by any human. It’s hard to think that Ibn Battuta traveled over 75,000 miles (121,000 kilometers), a distance unmatched by any other explorer until the Steam Age arrived 450 years later. He was the only medieval traveler reported to have visited the domains of all of his time’s Muslim rulers. In the West, he traveled to North Africa, Southern Europe, West Africa, and Eastern Europe; in the East, he traveled to the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and China, covering three times the distance of his near-contemporary Marco Polo.

3. Marco Polo from Italy (1288-1292 AD)

Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler, is possibly the most famous traveler. In 1288 and 1292, he is reported to have gone South India twice, seeing a tomb of St. Thomas “in a certain small-town” that he does not name. Many historians believe that these dates and travels are accurate and that the little hamlet he mentions is Mylapore.

4. Abdur Razzak from Persia (1443-1444 A.D.)

Abdul Razzak, a Persian explorer who visited Vijaynagar in 1440, is one of the first references of the Vijaynagar empire in India. His descriptions of the Hampi markets, their architecture, and their magnificence have left a large body of history for future historians to investigate. Abdur Razzak was the Shahrukh of the Timurid Dynasty’s diplomat.

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5. Nicolo Conti from Italy (1420-1421 A.D.)

Nicolo De Conti’ was a Venetian adventurer and writer who traveled to Ely on the west coast of India and then interior to Vijayanagar, the seat of the Deccan’s main Hindu state. Conti offers a detailed account of this city, which is one of the most intriguing parts of his story. He went to Maliapur near Madras, existing Chennai, from Vijayanagar and the Tungabudhra.

6. Afanasy Nikitin from Russia (1442-1443 AD)

Nikitin, a Russian trader, spent more than two years in India, visiting several places, getting to know the locals, and meticulously recording all he observed. The merchant’s notes were collected in the form of a “Journey,” which would be more akin to a traveler’s log. The nature and political organization of India, including its traditions, lifestyle, and customs, were properly represented in this text.

7. Thomas Roe from England (1615 A.D. – 1619 A.D)

Sir Thomas Roe was a diplomat from England. In 1615, he traveled to India under the reign of Jahangir. He traveled to Surat to seek security for an English enterprise. His “Journal of the Mission to the Mughal Empire” is a priceless addition to India’s history.

8. Domingo Paes from Portugal (1520-1522 A.D.)

Following the capture of Goa in 1510 and its ascension to the capital of the Portuguese Estado da India, numerous Portuguese traders and tourists visited Vijayanagara and published comprehensive accounts of Bisnaga’s splendor. The most significant is Domingos Paes’, which was composed between 1520 and 1522. Paes’ account, written during Krishnadeva’s reign and based mostly on close observation, explains in full the so-called feudal Malankara system of Vijayanagara’s military structure as well as the yearly royal Durga celebration.

9. Fernao Nunes from Portugal (1535-1537 A.D.)

Around 1536-37, a Portuguese horse-trader named Fernao Nuniz wrote his description of India. During the reign of Achyutaraya, he was at Vijaynagara’s capital, and he may have been there for Krishnadevaraya’s earlier fights. This visitor was extremely interested in Vijayanagara’s history, specifically the city’s founding, the following careers of three ruler dynasties, and the conflicts they waged against the Deccan sultans and Orissan Rayas. His descriptions also provide insight into the Mahanavami celebration, where he admires the lavish jewels worn by the courtly women and the hundreds of women serving the monarch.

10. Francois Bernier from France(1656 A.D. – 1668A.D.)

He was a physician and wanderer from France. From 1656 to 1668, he lived in India. During Shah Jahan’s reign, he traveled to India. He worked as a physician for Prince Dara Shikoh and eventually joined Aurangzeb’s court. The book mostly discusses Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb’s regulations.


The above list of Foreign Travellers in Medieval India is very important for many competitive examinations to be held in India. So aspirants need to remember it wisely. I hope that this writing has given you enough information. On the Oliveboard website, you may find more articles like this.


Marco Polo (1254-1324), an Italian traveler, is known as the Prince of Medieval Travellers. He was a tourist in Europe. In the book “The Book of Ser Marco Polo”, the Venetian, has written all of his journey experiences in India, as well as insights about India’s geography and economic history.

India is known as the world’s spiritual leader. In ancient times, India’s educational system was superior to that of all other countries. Perhaps this is why so many international visitors come to India to learn about the Indian educational system.

Oliveboard is a learning & practice platform for premier entrance exams. We have helped over 1 crore users since 2012 with their Bank, SSC, Railways, Insurance, Teaching and other competitive Exams preparation.

Which european traveller came to india during aurangzeb

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Arrange the following European travellers who visited India in a chronological order starting from the earliest

(B) Fray Sebastian Manrique

(C) Gemelli Careri

(D) Pietro della Valle

Choose the correct answer form the options given below:

  1. (B), (A), (D), (C)
  2. (D), (C), (B), (A)
  3. ​(A), (B), (C), (D)
  4. ​(D), (B), (A), (C)

Answer (Detailed Solution Below)

Detailed Solution

Key Points

  • He was an Italian traveller to Persia and India whose letters detailing his wanderings are valuable for their full descriptions.
  • He was born in 1586, Rome and died in 1652, Rome.
  • He reached Surat in northwestern India in 1623 and, for about a year, continued southward along the coast to Calicut (Kozhikode).
  • He recorded his travels in a series of letters published in three volumes: Turkey (1650), Persia (1658), and India (1663).

Manrique, Sebastien

  • He was a Portuguese missionary and traveller.
  • Fray Sebastien Manrique travelled around various countries of the East for about sixteen years from 1628 to 1643.
  • His travel accounts were first published from Rome in 1653 under the title Itinerate Rio Dila Missionary Del India Oriental in Spanish.
  • During the course of his travel to India, he came to Bengal and reached Dhaka in September 1640 to inspect the Portuguese Catholic Church.
  • He left India in 1641 and reached home in July 1643.

Abbe Barthelemy Carre

  • In 1672 a French expeditionary fleet reached a town called St.Thome on The East Coromandel Coast of India.
  • At about the same time Colbert send a priest, the Abbe Barthelemy Carre from France via the Middle East to India, with letters and orders to support the Viceroy and the director in their mission to expand the French empire
  • France had been a latecomer in the “race” to acquire new trading posts and territories abroad.
  • He travelled undercover through the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda, sometimes dressed as a Persian merchant to avoid detection by agents of the Golcondan government or by Dutch spies, for the Dutch in India had chosen to hinder any French plan.

Gemelli Careri

  • He was seventeen-century Italian adventurer and traveller.
  • He was born in a middle-class family in Italy and died in Naples.
  • He financed his own round the world trip with merchant ventures and bought valuable goods at each stage of the trip.
  • He started his trip from Egypt then the Middle East, Persia to India and then China.
  • He visited India during the time of Aurangzeb.

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Last updated on Nov 10, 2022

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Born: November 3, 1618 India . (Show more) Died: March 3, 1707 (aged 88) . (Show more) House / Dynasty: Mughal dynasty . (Show more) Notable Family Members: father Shah Jahān son Bahādur Shāh I . (Show more) Role In: Battle of Samugarh . (Show more)

Aurangzeb is known for being the emperor of India from 1658 to 1707. He was the last of the great Mughal emperors. Under him the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent, although his policies helped lead to its dissolution.

Aurangzeb’s parents were the emperor Shah Jahān and Mumtāz Maḥal. He was their third son.

Aurangzeb was a serious-minded youth and a devout Muslim.

Aurangzeb’s tomb is located in Khuldabad, India.

While most of the Muslim Mughal rulers were known for religious tolerance and coexistence, Aurangzeb discriminated against Hindus and destroyed many of their temples. Because he represents a period of persecution and chauvinism, many Hindu nationalists in India cite his injustices as justification for a cultural renewal that effectively discriminates against the country’s Muslim minority.

Read a brief summary of this topic

Aurangzeb, also spelled Aurangzib, Arabic Awrangzīb, kingly title ʿĀlamgīr, original name Muḥī al-Dīn Muḥammad, (born November 3, 1618, Dhod, Malwa [India]—died March 3, 1707), emperor of India from 1658 to 1707, the last of the great Mughal emperors. Under him the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent, although his policies helped lead to its dissolution.

Early life

Aurangzeb was the third son of the emperor Shah Jahān and Mumtaz Mahal (for whom the Taj Mahal was built). He grew up as a serious-minded and devout youth, wedded to the Muslim orthodoxy of the day and free from the royal Mughal traits of sensuality and drunkenness. He showed signs of military and administrative ability early; these qualities, combined with a taste for power, brought him into rivalry with his eldest brother, the brilliant and volatile Dārā Shikōh, who was designated by their father as his successor to the throne. From 1636 Aurangzeb held a number of important appointments, in all of which he distinguished himself. He commanded troops against the Uzbeks and the Persians with distinction (1646–47) and, as viceroy of the Deccan provinces in two terms (1636–44, 1654–58), reduced the two Muslim Deccan kingdoms to near-subjection.

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When Shah Jahān fell seriously ill in 1657, the tension between the two brothers made a war of succession seem inevitable. By the time of Shah Jahān’s unexpected recovery, matters had gone too far for either son to retreat. In the struggle for power (1657–59), Aurangzeb showed tactical and strategic military skill, great powers of dissimulation, and ruthless determination. Decisively defeating Dārā at Samugarh in May 1658, he confined his father in his own palace at Agra. In consolidating his power, Aurangzeb caused one brother’s death and had two other brothers, a son, and a nephew executed.

Emperor of India

Aurangzeb’s reign falls into two almost equal parts. In the first, which lasted until about 1680, he was a capable Muslim monarch of a mixed Hindu-Muslim empire and as such was generally disliked for his ruthlessness but feared and respected for his vigour and skill. During this period he was much occupied with safeguarding the northwest from Persians and Central Asian Turks and less so with the Maratha chief Shivaji, who twice plundered the great port of Surat (1664, 1670). Aurangzeb applied his great-grandfather Akbar’s recipe for conquest: defeat one’s enemies, reconcile them, and place them in imperial service. Thus, Shivaji was defeated, called to Agra for reconciliation (1666), and given an imperial rank. The plan broke down, however; Shivaji fled to the Deccan and died, in 1680, as the ruler of an independent Maratha kingdom.

After about 1680, Aurangzeb’s reign underwent a change of both attitude and policy. The pious ruler of an Islamic state replaced the seasoned statesman of a mixed kingdom; Hindus became subordinates, not colleagues, and the Marathas, like the southern Muslim kingdoms, were marked for annexation rather than containment. The first overt sign of change was the reimposition of the jizya, or poll tax, on non-Muslims in 1679 (a tax that had been abolished by Akbar). This in turn was followed by a Rajput revolt in 1680–81, supported by Aurangzeb’s third son, Akbar. Hindus still served the empire, but no longer with enthusiasm. The Deccan kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda were conquered in 1686–87, but the insecurity that followed precipitated a long-incipient economic crisis, which in turn was deepened by warfare with the Marathas. Shivaji’s son Sambhaji was captured and executed in 1689 and his kingdom broken up. The Marathas, however, then adopted guerrilla tactics, spreading all over southern India amid a sympathetic population. The rest of Aurangzeb’s life was spent in laborious and fruitless sieges of forts in the Maratha hill country.

Aurangzeb’s absence in the south prevented him from maintaining his former firm hold on the north. The administration weakened, and the process was hastened by pressure on the land by Mughal grantees who were paid by assignments on the land revenue. Agrarian discontent often took the form of religious movements, as in the case of the Satnamis and the Sikhs in the Punjab. In 1675 Aurangzeb arrested and executed the Sikh Guru (spiritual leader) Tegh Bahadur, who had refused to embrace Islam; the succeeding Guru, Gobind Singh, was in open rebellion for the rest of Aurangzeb’s reign. Other agrarian revolts, such as those of the Jats, were largely secular.

In general, Aurangzeb ruled as a militant orthodox Sunni Muslim; he put through increasingly puritanical ordinances that were vigorously enforced by muḥtasibs, or censors of morals. The Muslim confession of faith, for instance, was removed from all coins lest it be defiled by unbelievers, and courtiers were forbidden to salute in the Hindu fashion. In addition, Hindu idols, temples, and shrines were often destroyed.

Lahore, Pakistan: Badshahi (Imperial) Mosque

Aurangzeb maintained the empire for nearly half a century and in fact extended it in the south as far as Tanjore (now Thanjavur) and Trichinopoly (now Tiruchchirappalli). Behind this imposing facade, however, were serious weaknesses. The Maratha campaign continually drained the imperial resources. The militancy of the Sikhs and the Jats boded ill for the empire in the north. The new Islamic policy alienated Hindu sentiment and undermined Rajput support. The financial pressure on the land strained the whole administrative framework. When Aurangzeb died after a reign of nearly 49 years, he left an empire not yet moribund but confronted with a number of menacing problems. The failure of the Mughals to cope with them after the reign of his son Bahādur Shāh I led to the collapse of the empire in the mid-18th century.




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