Hiuen Tsang

Hiuen Tsang was a Chinese traveller who visited India during the period of Harshavardhana. He has been described therefore as the “Prince of Pilgrims.” The Chinese traveller has given valuable accounts on the political, religious, economic, social conditions of Ancient times.

He was a Buddhist monk and longed for knowing more of Buddhism. But without a visit to India, he knew his desire for learning would remain unfulfilled. When he was about 30, he left China for an adventurous journey towards India.  He travelled through rough, rocky and rugged mountainous region to reach India. In India, he wanted to visit all the sacred places connected with the life of Buddha, as well as to learn of Buddhism. During his travel he covered many more places and observed keenly the social, religious, political, cultural and economic conditions of the country.

Hiuen Tsang visited Kashmir and Punjab. He proceeded to Kapilavastu, Bodh-Gaya, Sarnath, and Kusinagara. He also travelled through the Deccan, Orissa and Bengal. He went almost too every part of India. He spent around five years in the University of Nalanda and studied there. He was impressed by the passion of the Indian people for learning. According to Hiuen Tsang, at the time of his visit, Pataliputra had lost its former glory. Kanauj and Prayag became important cities.

Harsha honored him in the Kanauj religious Assembly, and also invited him to attend the Prayaga Assembly. After attending those two magnificent functions, Hiuen Tsang prepared to leave for China after having spent long fourteen years of his life on the soil of India.