Hall of a Thousand Columns
Tim Mackintosh-Smith's Travels with a Tangerine introduced the modern world to Ibn Battutah, 'Prince of Travellers'. Now they take to the road together once more for the next leg of Ibn Battutah's travels -- the great subcontinent of 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. To many contemporaries his tales were received as Munchausian fantasies -- and it was India that stretched his readers' credulity beyond the limit. Tim Mackintosh-Smith traces in situ the dizzy ladders and terrifying snakes of Ibn Battutah's Indian career -- as judge and hermit, courtier and prisoner, ambassador and castaway. Over the course of his journey he also finds a dead Muslim posing as a Hindu deity, Jesus popping up in the pulpit of a mosque, and the rotten tooth of a mad sultan being revered as a saint. Ibn Battutah left India 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.What Mackintosh-Smith returns with proves the sceptics wrong: India is the jewel in the Prince of Travellers' turban.