Barnaby Rogerson

The Joy of Sects

The Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah

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The Hall of a Thousand Columns is the second in a planned sequence of books in which Tim Mackintosh-Smith traces the footsteps of Ibn Battutah, the fourteenth-century Moroccan-born answer to Marco Polo. At one level it follows a conventional literary trail, as its author travels the length and breadth of India trying to unearth any surviving evidence of Battutah’s peregrinations, be it jails, gilded halls, tooth-tombs, living descendants, or miraculously aged hermits; and the pithy observations of his chosen travelling companions, a flatulent saint-loving local driver and the artist Martin Yeoman, provide a rich texture of multiple perception.

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