Travel

How Uzbekistan transformed the way I travel | Travel Musings

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”  ― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

As a kid, I was a fan of author Mark Twain and also geography subject. I would read both with equal enthusiasm; while Mark Twain’s accounts of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in the far back region of Mississippi would evoke a sense of adventure & also empathy for my fellow kids in less fortunate circumstances, reading about all the fascinating regions & countries in my geography textbooks would fire my imagination as well as wanderlust. I so longed to visit the majestic ruins of Petra in Jordan, the brilliant cities of Samarkand & Bukhara on the great silk road, the seemingly unreal cold Gobi Desert in Mongolia and ofcourse the  charming Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur in south India, among many destinations.

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

A day trip to Greater Chimgan Mountains and Charvak Lake in Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan Travel Diaries

On my Uzbekistan trip, one of the most pleasant day trips was to the Greater Chimgan mountains and Charvak Lake. The Greater Chimgan mountains of the Chatkal Mountain range is located in the territory of the Ugam-Chatkal National Park, of Tashkent province of Uzbekistan. It is around 100 kms from Tashkent city and take around an hour drive from the city.

[caption id="attachment_5643" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Charvak Lake, Uzbekistan[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

City guide of Tashkent in Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan Travel Diaries

Tashkent is not only the capital city of Uzbekistan, it is also the gateway to the Silk Road tourist trail of the country. For Indians, it has a special connect as one of the most popular Prime Ministers of the country Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri died here suddenly when on a diplomatic tour. I visited the city briefly while flying in and out on my Uzbekistan travels and explored as much as I could. Sharing my – City Guide to Tashkent Uzbekistan.

[caption id="attachment_5635" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Khast Imam Mosque complex Tashkent, Uzbekistan[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Bukhara in Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan Travel Diaries #4

Bukhara! For centuries it had glimmered remote in the Western consciousness: the most secretive and fanatical of the great caravan-cities, shored up in its desert fastness against time and change.  ~ Colin Thubron in  The Lost Heart of Asia

Bukhara and Samarkand are the most famed cities of ‘The Great Silk Road’. During my school years, there was a phase when I wanted to visit the exotic lands on the silk route, after reading the much maligned NCERT history text books(to this day, it’s the imagination triggered by NCERT history/geography textbooks that’s been fuelling my travels so I don’t know why they are called boring).  The towns of Bukhara and Samarkand were on top of my list; I was so fascinated by the narrations of their grandeur and beauty. Years later, I happened to watch a documentary by an Indian Film-maker where he had travelled on the main cities of Silk Road and that increased my wish to visit these cities.

Finally, last year I fulfilled my wish when I went on an all women curated trip to Uzbekistan, visiting the cities of Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. Come along with me as I take you through a journey into Bukhara with me here.

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Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Visiting Khiva in Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan Travel Diaries #3

The first major destination of my Uzbekistan travel itinerary was Khiva, one of the first UNESCO World heritage sites in Uzbekistan and it left me completely captivated with its rugged untamed beauty. I had come to Uzbekistan, in lure of The Great Silk Road cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, but it was Khiva where I left a piece of my heart back. Sharing my incredible visit to Khiva in this story.

Landing at Ugrench Airport (flying in from Tashkent), we were greeted by sunny skies and a chilling windy temperature of Minus 2 degrees Celsius.  We made a dash for the Airport Arrival terminal getting down from the aircraft. My tummy was a bit under the weather (most probably with all the drinking and dancing I did last night) and I wondered how I would survive the drive to Khiva, which was around 1 hour and more importantly, how would I last the rest 7 days of sightseeing, if this was the condition on Day 2. With these thoughts, I settled in the car with other fellow travelers and it wasn’t until I noticed the golden yellow fortification/fort walls on one side that I realized we had reached Khiva.

[caption id="attachment_4921" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Itchan Kala fortified Walls[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Uzbekistan in Central Asia | A journey into the Great Silk Road

“Uzbekistan! Why you want to take a holiday of all places there?” The husband asked when I told him of my wish to take a curated trip to Uzbekistan. I was about to tell him at length about all the reasons, but to save time & effort, I said I just want to!! Of course, as always, he had no problems as long as safety factors were taken care of.

Uzbekistan had been on my mind for a long time; for many reasons. I got interested in the Great Silk Road or Route running through Central Asia into Europe, by reading history textbooks in schooldays, the stunning cities of Bukhara and Samarkand (which were the major cities along the famed road) fascinated me, as much as the thought of this great trading route in ancient times which people took on camels & horses to trade and conquer other civilizations. Then when I read about Russian revolution and formation of USSR, I was utterly mystified by the descriptions of Central Asian countries/regions ‘merging’ into the Soviet Union. I wondered how these regions with such a diverse and different culture survived or thrived in the Union, how the people actually felt and lived in Communist rule in these regions.

So it was with great excitement that I finalized my curated trip to Uzbekistan, which was scheduled before Diwali. I was travelling with an all women group Company ‘One Life to Travel’ for first time, which added to my anxiety (and a separate post shall be written on the experience).

Uzbekistan surprised, stunned and made me fall in love with it – it’s stunning heritage, its warm people, rich culture and absolutely rocking night life; it has been one of my most enriching travels and I am glad I took this journey sooner than later (as was my original plan).

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Sushmita Sarkar

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