I am looking for the oldest descriptions by ‘outsiders’ of the lived reality of Early Buddhism - ideally pilgrims, visitors, invaders, etc.
I am aware of the three Chinese pilgrims Faxian (4th century), Xuanzang (7th), Yijing (7th).
And then we have early Greek reports through Megasthenes, not specifically in the Buddhist land, but still ancient India.
Are there other reports I am not aware of?
Polo’s travels through Asia between 1271 and 1295, and his experiences at the court of Kublai Khan.
[The Travels of Marco Polo](The Travels of Marco Polo https://g.co/kgs/39zkuL)
I wonder why there is no year mentioned in the date in old posts.
Though it’s perhaps rather later than the period that interests you, there’s an interesting account by Upāsaka Chos-dar of the travels of the Tibetan pilgrim Dharmasvāmin, beginning in 1234. There’s an English translation by George Roerich.