Every voyage is inspired by a natural human longing of people to see and explore a new world. Travellers in ancient days used to get information about new places from merchant groups. What such visitors recorded later revealed to us details of our ancient history.
The Greek ambassador had travelled to Kerala in BC 302, during the times of Chandragupta Maurya and was the first to tell the world about such a place. The historian-diplomat had spent some nine years in India. The world knew about India from his reputed work 'Indica,' in which he records Kerala as 'Cherme.' Megasthenes also describes about India's two major rivers Sindhu and Ganga.
The Chinese wayfarer arrived in India on foot during the days of Chandragupta Vikramaditya, supposedly in AD 405-411. The first Buddhist pilgrim to visit India, Faxian has given valuable details about the Gupta dynasty, and the social and economic spheres. He wrote a lot, and 'Foguoji' is one of his famous books.
The Italian mercantile trader-explorer travelled around the world in the 13th century and arrived in India between 1292-94. He has written about the political and economic history of India, especially of the southern region in his book 'The Travels of Marco Polo.'
Iranian scholar Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al Biruni arrived in India along with conqueror Mahmud Ghazni who invaded India. He lived in India from AD 1024 to 1030, visited most parts of the country, and wrote about what he saw and felt in 'Taqeeq-e-Hind.'
The Portuguese voyager arrived in India in AD 1500 and stayed on for 16 years, most of the time in Kerala and in Vijayanagara dynasty. Barbosa studied Malayalam and has written about the caste culture that prevailed here as also about the social life. He wrote the 'Book of Duarte Barbosa.'
The Arab traveller came to India in AD 957. He had detailed about the India he saw in his book 'Murjal Sahab.' The book discusses India's political, economic and religious history.
The Chinese traveller visited India in 630 AD and stayed on for 15 years. He studied about the caste system of the days and wrote the book 'Si-Yu-Ki.'
Moroccan traveller Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta was in India from 1333 to 1342. His book 'The Travels' details about the much-mocked administrative reforms of Delhi Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq.
Iranian voyager Abdur Razzaq came to India in 1443. During his year-long stay he spent time in Kerala also. He is believed to have stayed at the palace of the Zamorin of Kozhikode. He has written about the ports of Kerala and also about the Vijayanagara kingdom.
Britain's King James I had sent Hawkins as ambassador to the Mughal palace of Emperor Jahangeer. He stayed in India from AS 1608 to 1611 and studied history of the days. His writings detail those days.