All the best armchair travellers are sceptics. Those of the fourteenth century were no exception: for them, there were lies, damned lies, and Ibn Battutah's India. Born in 1304, Ibn Battutah left his native Tangier as a young scholar of law. He returned nearly thirty years later having visited most of the known world between Morocco and China, the Prince of Travellers for some, a blatant Munchausen for most. It was India that stretched his readers' credulity beyond the limit. In his highly acclaimed Travels with a Tangerine, Tim Mackintosh-Smith tailed the Moroccan around the old Islamic world. Now he traces in situ the dizzy ladders and terrifying snakes of Ibn Battutah's Indian career as a judge and a hermit, courtier and prisoner, ambassador and castaway. From the plains of Hindustan to the plateaux of the Deccan and the lost ports of Malabar, sleuth-work, scholarship and luck lead him through the incredible memories of a man who died ten lifetimes ago. On the way, he reveals an India far off the beaten path of Taj and Raj, where a dead Muslim poses as a Hindu deity, Jesus pops up in the pulpit of a Mosque, and the rotten tooth of a mad sultan is revered as a saint.Ibn Battutah left India on a snake, stripped to his underpants by pirates; but he took away a treasure of tales as rich as any in the history of travel.
Back home they said the treasure was a fake. Mackintosh-Smith proves the sceptics wrong. India is a jewel in the Prince of Travellers' turban. Here it is, glittering, grotesque but genuine, a fitting ornament for his 700th birthday.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 521 g
Dimensions: 26 x 151 x 232 mm
Edition: Airside/Export ed