Huen Tsang

Huen Tsang or Xuanzang was a Chinese Buddhist Traveler who belongs to early Tang period of China. He was born in Henan province. He was basically interested in the improving the incomplete & misinterpreted information provided by the earlier Chinese monks, particularly Fa Hien.

The title his work is “Journey to the West” (Si-Yu-Ki). Huen Tsang followed the Central Asian Route and visited from Kashmir in North to Saurastra and Vallabhi in west, Kamarupa in East and Malakotta in South. He stayed in various monasteries and came in touch with the scholars of that time. His association with Harshavardhana and Bhaskarvarmana of Kamarupa adds special value to his work.

His observations are related to not only the life of the Kings and nobles but also the ordinary people. He writes about the way of life, doing agriculture, food habits, dress senses, jewellery, and types of taxes. Degraded position of the Chandals, elaborate description of the Nalanda monastery etc. He was attacked by robbers on the way, something which we don’t find in the narrations of Fa Hien who travelled in the Gupta Period. It shows that the administrative machinery deteriorated.