List of Foreign Travellers Who Visited India – Ancient, Chinese, Arab Travellers to India PDF

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Foreign Travellers Who Visited India comprise travellers from Arabia, China, Italy, England, etc. These ancient travellers appreciated the culture and beauty of India from different time frames and penned it down in the form of travelogues, books, documents, and poetry. Thus, these foreign travellers form an essential part of Indian history. The foreign travellers who visited India had also penned numerous books on India which has become an eminent part of its history.

A complete list of travellers and foreigners visiting India is given below. The first foreigner to visit India was Megasthenes, who was the ambassador of Seleucus Nikator and later wrote a book, Indica, about his visit. Check the list of foreign travellers who visited India, what attracted them, and the time of their visit.

Foreign Travellers Who Visited India

India has been a centre of attraction and fascination for tourists worldwide since ancient times because of its customs, faiths, rich culture, and other national offerings. Most foreign travellers who visited India wrote about the country from their perspective and understanding. Some wrote about the monuments and architecture, while others penned down India’s economic and social life. Some of the ancient travellers to India were as follows-

  • Ptolemy (130 A.D.)
  • Deimachus (320-273 BC)
  • Fa-Hien (Chinese) in 405-411 AD when Gupta Empire was ruling India.
  • Hiuen Tsang (Chinese) in 630-645 AD during the rule of Harshavardhana
  • I-Tsing (Chinese)
  • Al-Masudi (Arab)
  • Al-Biruni (Khwarazm)

List of Foreign Travellers Who Visited India

The Indian subcontinent has experienced voyages from travellers worldwide from time immemorial. Here is the list of the important foreign travellers who visited India, along with the details of their visit and major contributions.

Ancient Travellers to India Timeline Details of Foreign Travellers Who Visited India
Deimachus 3rd Century B.C. Deimachus was the Greek ambassador to Bindusara’s court who was the son of Chandragupta Maurya and the Mauryan Empire‘s second ruler.
Megasthenes 302-298 B.C. Megasthenes was Seleucus’s ambassador who visited the country when India was under Chandragupta Maurya’s supremacy. On his visit to India, he wrote a book called INDICA based on India. He introduced Chandragupta Mauryan as ‘SANDROCOTTUS.’
Fa Hein 405-411 A.D. He was a Buddhist monk from China who came to India during Chandragupta II’s (Vikramaditya) reign. On his tour to India, he visited Lumbini, i.e., Buddha’s birthplace. His travelogue was called “Records of Buddhist Kingdom.”
Hiuen Tsang 630-645 AD Hiuen Tsang was another Buddhist monk from China who came to India during Harsha Vardhana’s reign. He wrote “The Records of Western World”, also called Si-Yu-Ki. He was called to King Harshavardhana’s court after becoming a guest of the Kamarupa ruler, Bhaskaravarman.
I-Tsing 671-695 AD I-Tsing visited India during the reign of Harshavardhana. He was a traveller from China who came to India because of Buddhism. He wrote various biographies on the monks of India.
Al Masudi 957 AD Al Masudi was a traveller who visited India from Arabia in the middle of the 10th century A.D. He described his views on India in his book, Muruj-ul-Zehab.
Al Beruni (Abu Rehman Mahamud) 1024-1030 AD Along with Mahmud of Ghazni, Al Beruni visited India. He was a Persian scholar who came to India. He explained India in his book ‘Tahqiqi-e-Hind’. For his contribution, he has also been titled the father of Indology.
Macro Polo 1292-1294 AD Macro Polo came during the reign of Rudramma Devi of the Kakatiyas. He was a European scholar who entered India from the South. He wrote “The Book of Sir Marco Polo,” which gives an invaluable account of Indian economic history.
Ibn Batuta 1333-1347 AD He travelled to India from Morocco in the 14th century during the reign of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq and wrote “RIHLA.”
Nicolo Conti 1420-1421 AD Nicolo Conti was a merchant from Italy who came to India while Devaraya I of the Sangam dynasty of the Vijayanagar Empire was ruling.
Abdul Razak 1443-1444 AD He was a Persian scholar. He was also an ambassador of Persia. He visited during the reign of Deva Raya II of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Duarte Barbosa 1500-1516 AD Duarte Barbosa was a Portuguese traveller who visited India in the early 16th century. His writings include details about the Vijayanagara Empire’s people and government.
William Hawkins 1608-1611 AD William Hawkins visited India during Jahangir’s reign. He was the ambassador of James I of England to the Mughal Court.
Thomas Roe 1615-1619 AD Thomas Roe also visited India during Jahangir’s reign. He was an English diplomat who visited India to request protection of the factory set up by the English at Surat. Roe’s account of his stay in India ‘Journal of the Mission to the Mogul Empire’ is a valuable document shedding light on the history of the early 17th century in India.
Francois Bernier 1656-1717 AD Francois was a physician and scholar from France. His patron was Daneshmand Khan, a noble at Aurangzeb’s court.

Arab Travellers To India

Sulaimān al-Tājir: The first Arab traveller to India was Sulaimān al-Tājir. He was a Muslim writer, traveller, and merchant from Siraf (in Iran). He travelled to China and Bengal (India) in 850 A.D and penned down his voyages.

Al-Masudi: Al-Masudi visited India in 957 A.D. He was a historian and traveller from the Arab region and is called the Herodotus of the Arabs. He was the first traveller from the Arab world who mixed the idea of scientific geography and history. He explained his journey to India in his book Muruj-ul-Zehab.

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