The Man who Walked Half of the Earth

ravelling is an activity that is filled with enthusiasm and lot of passion, the charm in traveling is amazing and so that was for Ibn Battuta. The one of the greatest traveler of old times Ibn Battuta visited more than 40 countries on earth and make exciting adventurous journeys from Morocco to China.

Ibn Battuta was born in the coastal Moroccan town of Tangier on 1304 into a rich family. Ibn Battuta was educated in Islamic law and he had the desire to visit distant lands. He started out on his first journey in the form of holy pilgrimage to Mecca. He left his home town at the young age of 21 to set out on a journey of a life time which covers the span of three decades. Let’s embark on a journey to know about this amazing traveler of old time.

The Urge to Travel:  After studying he wanted to gain education and like a pious Muslim wanted to complete a pilgrimage to Mecca. Islamic teachings emphasize on traveling and getting knowledge on the earth. The religious reason became the focal reason for him to start a journey. During his lifetime, he completed three pilgrimages or hajj to Mecca. He traveled to lands in medieval time when there were great difficulties and threats.

The Route to Mecca: Ibn Battuta left his home on June 4, 1325, CE for a pilgrimage to Mecca. In route to Mecca, he explores the land of the Middle East and North Africa. He trod along the North African Coast along Mediterraneanand reached his first major city at Alexandria. Ibn Battuta praised Alexandria for its beauty and humble people.

In Alexandria, he spent few days as a guest of notable Sufi cleric Burhanuddin. Burhanuddin senses the passion in Ibn Battuta for travel and anticipated that he will meet his three companions in India and China.

He also met another Sufi living a quiet life named Sheikh Murshidi who foretold him that he will be a great traveler.

He reached the Red Sea and find out that he cannot pass due to local war. He chooses another route and passes through Damascus and Palestine to reach Mecca. He spent a little time in Mecca and headed northeast to a foreign land.

The Visit to Mesopotamia and Persia: After completing his Hajj he traveled through Iraq and Iran and visited Mausoleum of fourth Caliph of Islam Ali.

The Second Pilgrimage and East Africa:  He returned to Mecca for the second hajj and stayed there for 2 years and headed to East Africa. Through Yemen, he reached Somalia and Tanzania. He visited Kilwa modern day Tanzania and admired the city infrastructure.

The Job in India: Ibn Battuta completed his third pilgrimage and headed for India. In route to India, he crossed Turkey and Central Asia to reach India. He was astonished at times through cultural shock. He served as a judge in India under Muhammad bin Tughluq. He spent 8 years in India.

The Far East: He visited China as Ambassador of Sultan. In route to China, he visited South East Asia and spent a brief time in Maldives. He survived sea storm in India before leaving for China.

The Return to Home: After traveling three decades he went back to Tangier and upon the encouragement of local Sultan he wrote his travelogues in the form of a book.

The extraordinary journey of Ibn Battuta displays the amazing picture of medieval times. Imagine a man who walked through 40 countries and spent exciting time in far-flung lands. Ibn Battuta is surely the greatest traveler of old times.

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