The Ottoman ambassador in India

Sirvanli, Ahmet Hamdi Efendi. Hindistan ve Svat ve Afganistan seyahatnamesi.

Istanbul, Mahmut Bey Matbaasi, [1883 CE =] 1300 H.

8vo. 293, (1) pp. Ottoman Turkish in Arabic type. With 17 reproductions of pen-and-ink drawings, 15 of which full-page, a headpiece, as well as a folding map of India and a folding table of type specimens. Contemporary red half cloth with giltstamped spine and printed title to upper cover, table of contents to lower cover.


First edition.

An informative account of diplomatic travel describing a journey by the Ottoman ambassador, Sirvanli, to India, illustrated by lithographic reproductions of pen-and-ink drawings. Rich in detail, they show Hindu temples, ports and city views, while the folding table of script specimens shows the alphabets of Sanskrit, Brahmi and Devangari and their pronunciations in Latin and Arabic alphabets. The travelogue begins with the journey from Istanbul to India by ferry, and goes on to describe Indian cities including Bombay, Poona, Jaipur, Calcutta, Delhi, Lahore, Ceylon, and Madras, as well as Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Kabul, and gives an account of Mecca, which the diplomat visited on his way home. Reflecting on the cities' names and origins as well as on peoples' customs and traditions, the book also mentions a meeting with Sayyid Ahmed Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, one of the first institutions of higher education in British India.

Extremities lightly bumped, paper evenly browned throughout. Merely 7 copies in libraries worldwide, only one in Turkey (KOC University Library).


Özege 7654. Karatay I, 268. TBTK 1438. History of geographical literature during the Ottoman period I, 270. OCLC 030091889.