Seydi Ali Reis: The Delightful Misadventures of a Turkish Admiral in India

Imagine crossing the Khyber Pass on your way to Afghanistan and encountering two rhinoceroses, “each the size of an elephant, with a horn on their nose about two inches long”. Or, under every palm tree, in today’s dry state of Gujarat, imagine finding a “drinking booth selling arrack called ‘tari’ “. It’s hard to imagine these scenarios but these are the recollections of a man who ‘accidentally landed in India under even stranger circumstances, in 1554 CE, and left a detailed travelogue of what he saw here.
Seydi Ali Reis (1498-1563 CE) was the Admiral of the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, who accidentally landed on the Indian coast in 1554 CE, when his fleet was hit by a typhoon.
He landed on the Gujarat coast, where the Gujarat Sultanate was in the middle of a civil war.

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