Aged sixteen, Alexander Burnes (1805-41) took up a post in the Bombay army, and speedily learned both Hindustani and Persian. His skills led him to political work, and he himself proposed a covert expedition to Bukhara, to survey the country, but also to observe the expansionist activities of the Russians in central Asia. In 1832, he set off, with an army doctor, and two Indians as surveyor and secretary. They travelled in local dress and adopted whatever personas a situation required. Having reached Bukhara, they continued overland to the Caspian Sea, and then to Tehran, returning to Bombay by sea in 1833. This three-volume account of his adventures, published in 1834, was an instant bestseller. Volume 1 describes the journey to Bukhara, through Afghanistan into barely explored territory. Burnes continued his diplomatic activities in Afghanistan, but was murdered there by a mob in 1841.
Preface; 1. Lahore; 2. Across the Punjab to the Indus; 3. Peshawur; 4. Journey to Cabool; 5. Cabool; 6. Journey over the Hindoo Koosh, or Snowy Mountains; 7. Serious difficulties; 8. Balkh, and journey to Bokhara; 9. Bokhara; 10. Bokhara (cont.); 11. Detention in the kingdom of Bokhara.