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.

(more…)

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

Vegetarian Travellers’ Food Guide to Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan for Vegetarian Travellers

Whenever I get query about my all women group trip to Uzbekistan, the most frequent question is about availability of vegetarian food options for travellers there. This is not surprising as Uzbekistan is a Central Asian country and one which is majority Islamic. Therefore, vegetarian travellers wonder about Vegetarian food options when planning on a trip to Uzbekistan. I have attempted to write this ‘Vegetarian Travellers’ Guide to Uzbekistan’ in a FAQ type format, so that all the different types of queries regarding what to eat when in Uzbekistan for vegetarian travellers, are answered.

https://instagram.com/p/BYgIyE5nvEd/ (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Samarkand in Uzbekistan | Travel Diaries Uzbekistan in Central Asia #

For the lust of knowing what should not be known, we take the Golden Road to Samarkand ~ James Elroy Flecker

Samarkand, in Uzbekistan is the jewel of the Great Silk Road legacy and its most famous city. Believe to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia (and probably the world), along with Bukhara.  On my curated trip to Uzbekistan with One Life to Travel, the visit to Samarkand was kept in the last part of the itinerary, with the promise that the best has been kept for last. So when I landed in Samarkand after a long drive from Bukhara, my expectations were sky high. Samarkand dazzled me with all its finery and glamour. It is indeed the most mesmerizing city of the Great Silk Road.

We travelled to Samarkand from Bukhara by road and amidst conversations with my fellow travelers, stunning views of the Uzbeki  countryside landscape, my mind kept going back to the parting words of our local guide in Bukhara – “Bukhara and Samarkand can be compared to two women; Bukhara is like a simple beautiful village woman who is earthy in her beauty but does not have any jewels or pretty dresses to show off. Samarkand is the dazzling beautiful woman with jewels one her and many pretty dresses. While both are beautiful, they are in essence very different. So the beauty actually lies in the eyes of the beholder, which one is the greater beauty – Samarkand or Bukhara”

Samarkand is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia and was the labor of love of emperor Timur (famously known as Timurlane), who made it his capital. Today, Samarkand is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site (listing in 2001) as Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures.

[caption id="attachment_5334" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Ulugh Begh Observatory[/caption] (more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Travel Experience with All Women Group Tour in Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan Travel Diaries

While preparing for my holiday in Uzbekistan, I was most anxious about the fact that it would be my first time with an all women group.  As far as travel goes, up until that point, I had done all sorts of travel – road trips, luxury travel, family vacation, solo trips, unplanned trips, work trips in remote areas, etc. However, keeping in mind safety & economy, I had come to understand that some travel destinations are best done with a group (I guess age and having a kid for whom you are responsible as one-half primary caregiver does that to you). Now, Uzbekistan had been long on my list (read why here).  I saw a couple of curated group tours for women to the country and was also working out a solo trip. Finally, I went on curated all women trip to Uzbekistan with 'One Life to Travel'. The travel experience for me broke some myths about travelling in groups and gave me a good idea on what all to keep in mind while booking a holiday & travelling with Women Group Tour (or any package tour for that matter). Sharing my tips on travelling with all women group tours and personal experience travelling with ‘One Life to Travel’.

[caption id="attachment_5094" align="aligncenter" width="225"] At Poi Kalan Complex in Bukhara with fellow women travellers[/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.

(more…)

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

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Uzbekistan | Uzbekistan for Indian Travellers

When I decided on travelling to Uzbekistan for my solo trip of the year, I had my own reasons which included ticking this country off my travel bucket list finally (Yes, Uzbekistan had been on my travel bucket list since childhood). However, after spending 8 fabulous days in this fantastic country, I realised that Uzbekistan had so much to offer for Indian travellers and it makes for one of the best destinations from India within the South/Central Asian region/sub-continent. As an Indian traveller/travel lover, if you haven’t thought of travelling to Uzbekistan, you should and here are top 10 reasons to visit Uzbekistan for Indian travellers:-

(more…)

Sushmita Sarkar
Travel

Golden Smiles of Uzbeki People | Uzbekistan Travel Diaries #2

The first thing I noticed on my Uzbekistan Trip, standing in Immigration Line of Tashkent International Airport was the gold teeth of some of the Uzbeki local populace. That got me intrigued and I asked my Tour Leader Jayanti about it. She said that this was very common practice for people of Uzbekistan and sometimes whole sets of teeth are in gold! That got me really curious and apart from all the stunning monuments & breathtaking natural beauty I photographed, one of my obsessions became clicking the ‘golden smiles of Uzbeki People’.

Sharing some of the beautiful, warm and ‘golden’ smiles of people of Uzbekistan, they were most gracious to be clicked by me.

(more…)

Sushmita Sarkar

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Instagram
Facebook
RSS