Some years ago I became quietly obsessed with the question as to whether an Anglo Saxon notable ever made it to India. The jury’s still out as whether Sighelm managed the journey, but everything I’ve read since has convinced me that it was more than possible with a whole commercial network crisscrossing the Indian Ocean from East Africa to Oman to India, to Sri Lanka, plus extensive trade networks via Alexandria and Gulf to Byzantium and the west.
And today, another pebble to add to evidence – today’s BBC magazine has an article about an Indian pilgrim refuge in Jerusalem that’s been operating since the crusades.
The fact that one man could do it 800 years ago suggests that others attempted the journey, and perhaps not only sufis but other people of other faiths on pilgrimage, travelling and buying space on ships with merchants.
So, did Sighelm get to India?
No idea, and I doubt we’ll ever know. Could he have ? Almost certainly.
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