Foreign Travellers During Medieval India

Marco Polo

  • He was an Italian merchant who visited southern Indian during the reign of Rudrama Devi (Kakatiya and Pandyan Kingdom.
  • He talks about the economic conditions in the Pandyan kingdom.
  • He talks about Motupalli port during Kakatiya dynasty.

Ibn Batuta

  • A Moroccan traveller and visited India during the reign of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq.
  • Rehla, the book written by Ibn Batuta, describes the socio-economic condition of India during the rule of Mohammad Bin Tughlaq.
  • He particularly talks about the fertility of the soil.

Nicolo Conti

  • An Italian merchant from Venice who travelled and described Vijayanagar Empire.
  • He visited India during the reign of Deva Raya I of Vijayanagar.

Abdur Razzaq

  • Persian scholar and ambassador of Persia.
  • He visited India during the rule of Deva Raya II of Vijayanagar and court of Zamorin of Calicut.
  • He talks about the wealth and life in the Vijayanagar kingdom.


  • A Russian traveler and horse trader who visited the court of Mohammad Bahmani III and Vijayanagar Kingdom.
  • Authored a book named ‘Voyage Beyond Three Seas’ and describes about Deccan.
  • He talks about the class disparities in the Bahmani kingdom


  • He was a Portuguese traveller.
  • He visited during the reign of Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar kingdom.

Syed Ali Reis

  • He fleet admiral of Ottoman Navy in the Indian Ocean. He was able to unite several Muslim countries on the coast of Arabian Sea (Gujarat Sultanate) against Portuguese. He wrote the book ‘Mirat ul Memalik’ based on his travels.
  • He accidentally landed on Indian coast of Gujarat when his fleet was hit by a typhoon.
  • Gujarat then was undergoing civil war between a young, appointed sultan and his minister revolting against him. He also met Humayun who had just reclaimed his throne.

Domingo Paes

  • A Portuguese traveller who visited the court of Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar kingdom.


  • A Portuguese traveler who visited during reign of Achyutdevaraya of Vijayanagar.


  • A Persian scholar who accompanied Mahmud of Ghazni.
  • Authored ‘Tahqiq-i-hind.’
  • He was first Muslim scholar to study India and is considered as father of Indology.


  • Al-Masudi was An Arab traveller.
  • In his book Muruj-ul-Zehab he has explained about his journey.

Capitan Willam Hawkins

  • Captain William Hawkins led the first expedition of the English East India Company to India in 1609.
  • He visited India during reign of Jahangir.
  • He carried a personal letter from King James I of England.
  • He failed in getting Jahangir’s permission to start a factory.


  • He was a Dutch merchant who visited during the reign of Jahangir.
  • Pointed to widespread poverty in India and held state responsible for high taxation.

Thomas Roe

  • Was an English diplomat and 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

  • Was a French physician and traveler. He wrote ‘Travels in the Mughal Empire,’ dealing with Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan and Dara Shikoh.
  • He visited India during 1658 and 1671 and was personal doctor of Aurangzeb.
  • His book mentions about the life of peasantry, their poor conditions, towns, industries, life in the countryside and the urban culture and the major manufactures of India.


  • He was a French gem merchant, visited India during the reign of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.
  • Gives an elaborate account about diamond and diamond mines in India in his book ‘Six Voyages.’


  • He was an Italian traveller.
  • He visited during the reign of Shah Jahan.
  • He got service at the court of Dara Shikoh.

Peter Mundy

  • He visited Mughal Empire during Shah Jahan’s reign.

Jaen Thevenot

  • A French traveller who gives an account of cities like Ahmedabad, Cambay, Aurangabad and Golconda.
  • Has described cultivation of indigo and the extent of its cultivation in his book Remonstrantie.
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