One of the most famous Arab travellers to India, Alberuni visited India when Mahmud of Ghazni invaded Somnath, the famous shrine in Gujarat dedicated to Lord Shiva. Between 1001 and 1027 Mahmud made seventeen great raids on India. The main object his raids was to acquire the wealth of India. Naturally so, the temples and towns were his main targets because they were repositories of immense wealth. As a result of his campaigns, many temples were looted and desecrated. Enormous caravan of booty ad slaves were taken to Ghazni. Mathura and Kanyakubja, the great cites of India at that time, were plundered.
Also called Abu Raithan, Alberuni spent his years in India in the study of astronomy, medicine, chemistry, etc,. His book Tahkik-i-Hind (reality of Hindustan or Enquiry into India), a voluminous work divided into 80 chapters, is a mirror of the eleventh century India. The magnum opus gives a good graphic description of India as the great scholar saw the country. In fact, the book is “a magic island of quite impartial research in the midst of a world of clashing swords, burning towns and plundered temples.”
Alberuni writes about Indians. He says, “They are haughty, foolish, vain, self-conceited, stolid. They are by nature niggardly in communicating that which they known…According to their belief, no other created beings besides them have any knowledge of science whatsoever.”