Travelling down from Damascus in 1875 with the Haj caravan, he stopped at El Hajr, one of the pilgrim stations, with the intention of awaiting the return of the caravan and in the meantime of exploring the rock-cut tombs of Medain Salih and El Ala.
Early in 1848 he again returned to Arabia, avoiding the long desert journey by landing at Muwela, thence striking inland to Tebuk on the pilgrim road, and re-entering Shammar territory at the oasis of Tema, he again visited Hail; and after spending a month there travelled northwards to Kerbela and Bagdad.
The pilgrim enters the Haram in the antique and scanty pilgrimage dress (ihram), consisting of two cloths wound round his person in a way prescribed by ritual.
They are hymns of the laity, describing with much beauty and depth of feeling the emotions of the pilgrim when his feet stood within the gates of Jerusalem, when he looked forth on the encircling hills, when he felt how good it was to be camping side by side with his brethren on the slopes of Zion (cxxxiii.), when a sense of Jehovah's forgiving grace and the certainty of the redemption of Israel triumphed over all the evils of the present and filled his soul with humble and patient hope.
Mus., concluded that the poet and the pilgrim were different persons.
The theology of the Indian Syrian Christians is of a Nestorian type, and Cosmas Indicopleustes (6th century) puts us on the right track when he says that the Christians whom he found in Ceylon and Malabar had come from Persia (probably as refugees from persecution, like the Huguenots in England and the Pilgrim Fathers in America).
But his community was certainly still in existence in the 4th century A.D., for it is especially mentioned by Fa Hien, the Chinese pilgrim (Legge's translation, p. 62).
In the restoration of the outlines of ancient and medieval geography in Asia Sven Hedin's discoveries of the actual remains of cities which have long been buried under the advancing waves of sand in the Takla Makan desert, cities which flourished in the comparatively recent period of Buddhist ascendancy in High Asia, is of the very highest interest, filling up a blank in the identification of sites mentioned by early geographers and illustrating more fully the course of old pilgrim routes.
According to this, a pilgrim returning from the Holy Land was cast by a storm on a desolate island where dwelt a hermit.
The pilgrim next entered on a circuit of the most famous sites of Buddhist and of ancient Indian history, such as Ajodhya, Prayaga (Allahabad), Kausambhi, Sravasti, Kapilavastu, the birth-place of Sakya, Kusinagara, his death-place, Pataliputra (Patna, the Palibothra of the Greeks), Gaya, Rajagriha and Nalanda, the most famous and learned monastery and college in India, adorned by the gifts of successive kings, of the splendour of which he gives a vivid description, and of which traces have recently been recovered.