In the first decade of his career in India, Stein worked as a philologist. He collected Sanskrit manuscripts, and edited and translated the 12th century Kashmiri chronicle, the Rajatarangini. For the elucidation of the chronicle’s topographical details, his vacations were devoted to antiquarian research in Kashmir. Later, in the company of Andrews, he continued these short archaeological expeditions to neighbouring Kashmir, where he learnt the rudiments of photography from Andrews. This work prepared him for the long archaeological expeditions in Chinese Central Asia.
In 1899 he was appointed Principal to the Calcutta Madrasah, but held
this post only for one year. His plans for exploration in Chinese
Turkestan were now matured, and he had the necessary official support.