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List of Foreign Envoys Visited Ancient India – Foreign Travelers

History of India & The World : Important Foreign Travellers / Envoys



List of Foreign Envoys Visited Ancient India – Foreign Travellers

List of Foreign Envoys Visited Ancient India: In the history of ancient India we can see many foreign envoys/foreign travellers. The envoy is an ambassador or a messenger of a respective country. In government entrance exams, generally we can see one or two questions from the history of India. Megasthenes was the first Foreign Envoy/traveller of India and ambassador of Selecus Nikator. Megasthenes visited the Chandragupta Maurya court in 3rd century BC. We have great foreign envoys like Fa-Hien, Hiuen-Tsang, I-tsing, Al-Masudi, Marco Polo and Dominigo Paes etc. These are the great travelers and foreign envoys visited India in their time respectively. Here we have listed the foreign envoys or travelers who visited ancient India. We hope this topic will help you in competitive exams.


Important Foreign Travellers or Envoys Who Visited India


Deimachos (Greek)

  • 300-273 BC
  • Came in India at the reign of Bindusara


Megasthenes (Greek)

  • 302- 298 BC
  • An Ambassador of Selecus I of Syria 
  • He came to court of Chandragupta Maurya
  • He wroteIndica in which he described social and administrative conditions under the Mauryas


Fa Hien/Faxian (Chinese)

  • 399 A.D.-412 A.D.
  • He was a Buddhist Monk.
  • He was the first Chinese pilgrim to visit India to collect Buddhist texts and relics
  • He visited India during Chandragupta II “Vikramaditya”
  • He also visited Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha 
  • He described his journey in his travelogue ‘Record of Buddhist kingdoms’



Hiuen Tsang (Chinese)

  • 629-645 A.D.
  • He visited India during the reign of Harshavardhana
  • He came through Tashkent and Swat Valley 
  • His book is Si-yu-kior the ‘Records of Western World’



I-Tsing (Chinese)

  • 671-695 AD
  • He visited India in connection with Buddhism. 

Al-Masudi (Arab)

  • 957 AD
  • An Arab traveller,
  • He has given an extensive account of India in his work ‘Muruj-ul-Zehab’

Al Beruni (Persian)

  • 1000-1025 A.D.
  • He came along with Mahmud of Ghazni
  • First Muslim scholar to study India
  • Known as Founder of Indology
  • He travelled all over India and wrote a book ‘Tahqiq-i-Hind’



Marco Polo (Italian)

  • 1254-1324 A.D.
  • A Venetian traveller, visited South Indian state Kakatiya under Rudrmadevi .
  • His work ‘The Book of Sir Marco Polo’ gives an account of the economic history of India
  • A was a well known European traveller who visited many eastern countries.



Ibn Battuta (Morrocan)

  • 1333 A.D.
  • Ibn Battuta was appointed a Qadi, or judge, by Muhammad bin Tughluq.



Shihabuddin Al-Umari (Arabian Traveller)

  • 1348 AD
  • He came from Damascus.
  • He has given a vivid account of India in his book, ‘Masalik albsar fi-mamalik al-amsar



Nicolo Conti (Italian)

  • 1420-1421 AD
  • He came during the rule of Devaraya I of Sangam dynasty of Vijayanagar empire.
  • He gave a comprehensive account of the Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar.



Abdul Razzak (Persian)

  • 1442-1445 AD
  • He was the ambassador of Shahrukh of Timurid Dynasty 
  • Came during the rule of Devaraya II of Sangam dynasty of Vijayanagar empire.
  • He stayed at the court of the Zamorin at Calicut
  • He has given a vivid account of the Vijaynagar Empire.


Afanasy Nikitin (Russian)

  • 1469-1472 AD
  • A Russian merchant who documented his Indian visit in a narrative, ‘The Journey beyond Three Seas’.
  • He had visited the Bahmani Sultanate.
  • He describes the condition of the Bahmani kingdom under Muhammad III (1463-82).


Durate Barbosa (Portuguese)

  • 1500-1516 AD
  • He has given a valuable narrative of the government and the people of the Vijaynagar Empire.



Domingo Paes (Portuguese)

  • 1520-1522 AD
  • He visited the court of Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529) of Tuluv Dynasty of Vijayanagar Empire.



Fernao Nunes (Portuguese)

  • 1535-1537
  • He was a chronicler and horse trader.
  • Came during the rule of Achutya Deva Raya (1529-1542) of Tuluv Dynasty of Vijayanagar empire.
  • He wrote the history of the empire from its earliest times of the closing years of Achyutdeva Raya’s reign.



Jan Huyghen Van Linschoten (Dutch)

  • 1583 AD
  • He travelled extensively along the East Indies’ regions under Portuguese influence and served as the Portuguese Viceroy’s secretary in Goabetween 1583 and 1588. 



William Hawkins (British)

  • 1609-1611 AD 
  • He was an English ambassador of King James I.
  • He visited the court of Jahangir.



Sir Thomas Roe (British)

  • 1615-1619 AD
  • He was the ambassador of King James I.
  • Arrived at Jahangir’s court.



Edward Terry (British)

  • 1616 AD
  • He was one of the first writers to describe vegetarianism (in India) to Early Modern England



Pietro Della Valle (Italian)

  • 1623-1624 AD
  • He visited the King Vekatappa Nayaka of Keladi in India.



Sir William Norris (British)

  • He was the Company’s ambassador to the Mughal Empire.
  • He  visited during Aurangzeb’s reign.



John Fryer (British)

  • 1672-1681 AD
  • He was an English traveller.
  • He has given a vivid account of Surat and Bombay.


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