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

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 2023

The Foreign Travellers Who Visited India comprise travellers from Arab, 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.

Table of content

  • 1. Foreign Travellers Who Visited India (more)
  • 2. List of Foreign Travellers Who Visited India (more)
  • 3. Arab Travellers To India (more)

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.)
  • Deimachos (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


Details of Foreign Travellers Who Visited India


3rd Century B.C.

Deimachos was Seleucid Empire’s Greek from the 3rd century BC. He worked as the ambassador to Bindusars’s court (he was the son of Chandragupta Maurya and the Mauryan Empire‘s second ruler).


302-298 B.C.

Megasthenes was Seleucus’s ambassador who visited the country when India was under Chandragupta Mauryan’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 (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 supremacy. He wrote “the Records of Western World”, also called Si-Yu-Ki. He was called to King Harshavardhan’s court after becoming a guest to the Kamarupa ruler, Bhaskar Varman.


671-695 AD

I-Tsing visited India during the reign of Harshavardhana. He was a traveller from China who came to India because he called for Buddhism. He wrote various biographies on the monks of India.

Al Masudi

957 AD

Al Masudi was a traveller who visited India from Arab in the middle of 10the 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 (the first Muslim 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 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 Moroccan in the 14th century during the reign of Mohammed Bin Tughlaq and wrote “RIHLA.”

Nicolo Conii

1420-1421 AD

Nicolo was a merchant from Italy who came to India while Devraya 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 Dev Raya II of the Vijaynagar empire.

Duarte Barbosa

1500-1516 AD

Duarte Barbosa was a Portuguese traveller who visited India in the early 16th century. His writings include the Vijayanagar 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.

Thomas Roe

1615-1619 AD

Thomas Roe also visited India during Jahangir’s reign. He was an English diplomat who visited India to request for protection of the factory set up by the English at Surat. He wrote a Journal of the Mission to the Mughal Empire had a great contribution to Indian History.

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 at-Tājir: The first Arab traveller to India was Sulaimān at-Tājir. He is one of the foreign travellers who visited India. He was a Muslim writer, traveller, and merchant from Siraf (presently known as Iran). He travelled to China and Bengal (India) in 850 A.D and penned down his voyages. He is considered an important part of Indian history for travelling to Tang China, Guangzhou in 851 A.D.

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

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