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Chasing Tall Tales and Mystics: Ibn Battuta in Sri Lanka by Ameena Hussein (Shortlisted for the Gratiaen Prize)

Chasing Tall Tales and Mystics: Ibn Battuta in Sri Lanka by Ameena Hussein (Shortlisted for the Gratiaen Prize)

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(Shortlisted for the Gratiaen Prize)

The fabled Moroccan scholar Ibn Battuta is reputed to have travelled further through the medieval world than any other explorer, including Marco Polo. When Ameena Hussein sees a grimy street sign in Puttalam bearing his name, it precipitates a quest of her own, tracking Ibn Battuta's possible trajectory in Lanka or Sarandib as he knew it.

From the pearl rich not-western coast, through Sri Pada known as the Mount of Lanka, down to Dewinuwara with its magnificent temple hosting dancing girls and Brahmin priests and onwards to Colombo - already a formidable maritime presence, she follows his trajectory to rejoin his starting point at Puttalam. Along the way, she seeks Ibn Battuta's memory in the minds of men, discovers a land brimming with myth and legend as colourful as the traveller himself.  

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