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Retracing a 15th century journey

Vladimir Radyuhin

Indian Team to follow the footsteps of Russian trader Afanasy Nikitin


  • Nikitin was the first recorded European to set foot on Indian soil over 25 years before Vasco da Gama
  • Expedition will travel in three Scorpio SUVs and a TV crew will shoot a documentary on the journey

    MOSCOW: An Indian expedition is about to set off on a two-month, seven-country journey from Russia to India retracing the 15th-century voyage by Russian trader Afanasy Nikitin, the first European to reach India.

    14-member team

    The 14-member team of the Indian Adventurers and Explorers Society will start from Nikitin's hometown of Tver, 170 km northwest from Moscow, on Monday.

    They will travel by car and ship along the route he took over 500 years ago through Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran and on to Mumbai, the Indian Embassy in Moscow said. Afanasy Nikitin travelled to India in 1469 along what is known today as the North-South transport corridor India, Russia and Iran are jointly developing under a 2000 agreement to reduce transit time and cost.

    He returned to Russia via Africa in 1475, but died before he could reach Tver.

    First European

    Nikitin became the first recorded European to set foot on Indian soil, over 25 years before Vasco da Gama.

    The account of Nikitin's travel, Voyage Over the Three Seas, is a major historical source about India and the history of the Bahmani kingdom.

    A monument to the Russian traveller was set up in Revdanda near Mumbai in 2002.

    The expedition, will travel in three Scorpio SUVs, is led by Mr. Phalguni Matilal, retired Financial Adviser, Ministry of Railways, and includes photographer Ashok Dilwali, dancer Sharmistha Mukherjee, historican Hari Vasudevan.

    A television crew that will shoot a documentary on the journey.

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