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Types of Literary Sources

  • The literary sources of medieval history are divided into four types: chronicles , autobiographies , biographies and travelogues .


  • Chronicles are the records of the rule of the kings and life at the court. Most kings had court chroniclers who wrote in detail about what happened during their reign. Most of these writings are in Persian and Turkish.

  • Some examples of Persian and Turkish chronicles are:
    • Tarikh-i-Firozshahi by Zia-ud-din Barani, which describes the history of sultans of Delhi till the reign of Firoz Shah Tughluq.
    • Tarikh-i-Ferishta by Ferishta, which is a record of the history of the Delhi Sultans from the time of the Turks till the seventeenth century.
    • Khazainul-futuh and Tughluqnama by Amir Khusrau, which deal with the reign of Khaljis and the Tughluqs.

  • Some examples of Sanskrit chronicles are:
    • Rajatarangini by Kalhana, which is a history of the kings of Kashmir.
    • Prithviraj-raso by Chandbardai, which describes the life and adventures of the Chauhan ruler, Prithviraj Chauhan.

Autobiographies and Biographies

  • Autobiographies are the writings of the rulers about their own life and experiences. Biographies are the writings of other people about the life and achievements of the rulers.

  • Some examples of autobiographies are:
    • Futuhat-i-Firoz Shahi by Firoz Shah Tughluq, which tells us about his conquests, reforms and public works.
    • Baburnama by Babur, which tells us about his childhood, battles, travels and observations.
    • Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri by emperor Jahangir, which tells us about his administration, art, religion and personal life.

  • Some examples of biographies are:
    • Humayunnama by Gulbadan Begum, which gives us a lot of information about the reign of the Mughal emperor Humayun.
    • Akbarnama by Abul Fazl, which describes the events of emperor Akbar’s reign.
    • Padshahnama by Abdul Hamid Lahori, which describes the events of emperor Shah Jahan’s reign.


  • Travelogues are the writings of the foreign travellers who visited India during the medieval period. Their travelogues give us a lot of information about the places they visited and the people they met.

  • Some examples of travelogues are:
    • Rihla by Ibn Battuta, who was a Moroccan traveller who travelled across India in the 14th century. He wrote about the geography, culture, society and politics of India under the Delhi Sultanate.
    • Safarnama by Abdur Razzaq, who was sent by the ruler of Persia to the kingdom of Vijayanagar. He wrote about the architecture, art, trade and administration of Vijayanagar.
    • Travels in India by Bernier, who was a French traveller who stayed in India for twelve years. He wrote about the Mughal empire under Aurangzeb and its decline.

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Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 13 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.