A Russian in Medieval India?
Afanasy Nikitin was a Russian merchant from Tver and one of the first Europeans to travel to and document his visit to India. He described his trip in a narrative known as The Journey Beyond Three Seas. In 1466, Nikitin left Tver on a commercial trip to India. He travelled down the Volga River, and although he was attacked and robbed by Astrakhan Tatars he succeeded in reaching Derbent, where he joined Vasili Papin, the envoy of Ivan Greatto the shah of Shirvan. At Derbent, Nikitin vainly endeavoured to get means of returning to Russia; failing in this, he went on to Bakuand later Persia proper by crossing the Caspian Sea. He lived in Persia for one year.
In spring 1469, Nikitin arrived at Ormus and then, crossing the Arabian Sea, and making several prolonged stays along the way, reached the sultanate of Bahmani, where he lived for three years, making his living by horse-dealing. During that time he visited the Hindu sanctuary of Perwattum, which he called "the Jerusalem of the Hindus". On his way back, Nikitin visited Muscat, Fartak, Somolia, Trabzon and in 1472 arrived at Feodosiya by crossing the Black Sea. On his way to Tver, Nikitin died not far from Smolensk in the autumn of that year.
During his trip, Nikitin studied the population of India, its social system, government, military (he witnessed war-games featuring war elephants), its economy, religion, lifestyles, and trade goods. The abundance and trustworthiness of Nikitin's factual material provide a valuable source of information about India, Hormuz, Cambay, Calicut, Dabhol, Ceylon, Pegu and China; on royal progresses and other functions, both ecclesiastical and civil, at Bahmani and on the wonders of the great fair at Perwattum