The Indian Rope Trick

The traveler Ibn Battuta visited north India in the early 1330s  to seek the employment of the sultan Mohammad Ibn Tughluq.  At some point during his residence in the city of Delhi, he had occasion to observe the practices of the Indian holy men, whom he called jugis (i.e., yogis).

Continue reading

The Sultan’s Two Goblets

The medieval Arab traveler Ibn Battuta passed through Persia during his many years of wanderings.  One of the regions he visited there was Lorestan, which is today a province in western Iran, situated in the Zagros mountains.  Lorestan was at that time ruled by Muzaffar Al-Din Afrasiyab, a member of the Hazaraspid dynasty, which was a line of Kurdish Sunni composition.  The sultans who ruled this country carried the title atabek, a hereditary Turkic and Persian title of nobility.

Continue reading

The Three Types Of Travel Writing, And Their Uses

travel1

Travel writing is a popular genre.  We live in an age of travel, where it is easy to plan a sojourn to the most remote of locations.  Most people today hardly give a thought to the fact that their routine international destinations of travel were, until very recently, accessible only by ship or overland travel.  Even as late as the 1860s, the source of the Nile River in Africa was unknown.

Continue reading