Thursday, 21 February 2019

Glimpses of Uzbekistan - exploring Samarkand

Glimpses of Uzbekistan - exploring Samarkand
Samarkand, often affectionately referred as "Rome of the East" is not only an UNESCO World Heritage site of Uzbekistan, but one of the oldest cities in the world which has gallantly preserved centuries-old history of human civilization since 742 BC. Like a phoenix, this ancient city of Samarkand has suffered repeated knockouts, and after each fall it has rebuilt itself from the ashes, appearing more majestic and appealing than before! We took a guided day trip to Samarkand from Tashkent on the fourth day of our itinerary, and I feel blessed to have taken such a right decision. If you read my post on 7 days of ideal Uzbekistan itinerary, you'll get to know that exploring Samarkand is not feasible unless you halt overnight there. But, at least we got a glimpse of the beautiful historical city, which was chronologically capital of various empires, starting from Sogdia in 4th century BC, to the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic in 20th century AD. More importantly, Samarkand remodeled our perspective on Uzbekistan which our subconscious mind had archived after exploring Tashkent in first two days.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Glimpses of Uzbekistan - exploring Tashkent

Glimpses of Uzbekistan - exploring Tashkent
Tashkent is the capital of beautiful Uzbekistan, an apparently modern metropolitan, yet one of the oldest cities located on the great Silk Road, holding its immense significance as the political, economic, cultural and scientific center of the rapidly developing nation. Unlike bustling capitals of most other Asian countries which are often too overwhelming for first-timers , Tashkent offers a much more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere to outsiders. Islam Karimov Tashkent International Airport, the port of entry for most foreign tourists, is itself compact enough to be explored on a pair of flip-flops. Remember, do not click photos of the airfield as it is prohibited. As you clear your immigration and step out of the airport, there won't be any herd of pushy taxi drivers to bewilder you.

When I and my friend failed to trace the tour guide who was supposed to wait outside the arrival area with a placard, we were kind of frustrated and clueless. Evening was fast filling the sky. Winter chill was making its presence felt. Communicating with locals seemed a bit difficult. To top it all, we had no local SIM. It was a cab driver who came to our rescue. In the beginning, we misjudged his friendliness as some swindling motive. But, we were very wrong! It was our first encounter with the unexpected Uzbek hospitality. Before you take a drive into the city of Tashkent, I recommend you to go through the ideal 7 days Uzbekistan itinerary I had blogged earlier, and also valid reasons for you to backpack Uzbekistan.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

7 reasons for Indian backpackers to visit Uzbekistan

7 reasons for Indian backpackers to visit Uzbekistan
Last year, I had given you 7 valid reasons for every backpacker to visit Sri Lanka, the pearl of Indian Ocean. Today I'll tell you why every Indian backpacker must visit Uzbekistan. Frankly, there can be too many good reasons for travelers, especially Indians, to plan a trip to this part of Central Asia, but I'll highlight only top seven of them to save your time. Did you check out my highly recommended 7 days Uzbekistan itinerary? Being a first time visitor, I am not tired of praising the unmatched richness of Uzbekistan as a culturally gifted tourist destination. The tourism platter of this country shall astound you with its bizarre mountain slopes, ridges, marvelous blooming gardens, picturesque valleys and beautifully preserved myriad architectural wonders with centuries-old history associated to them. Hospitality is the part of the soul of the Uzbek people. Despite the undeniable language barrier, I received guidance from locals and officials every time I needed it. Influenced by the cultures of ancient Iranians, Arabs, Turkic nomadic tribes, Chinese, Mongols and Russians, each region of Uzbekistan has its own unique distinctive culture. However cinematic it might sound, Uzbek cuisine comprises amazing variety of dishes which definitely blends a piece of the soul of the cook along with aromatic oriental spices to add unparalleled piquancy to Uzbek gastronomic tale. I've carefully sorted out 7 reasons for Indian backpackers to visit this central Asian nation.