Azerbaijan – Part 8 – Qafqas Riverside Hotel, Qabala

In Baku, I had stayed in Qasqas hotel. The room was spacious with separate seating area. The view of sunset was amazing.

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In Qabala, I checked in at Qafqas Riverside Hotel. Arif RN Travel had mentioned that, I would be staying in this hotel, and I had searched for it’s reviews. Everybody had praised this place, and I do totally agree with them.

The hotel is a huge building. The reception and check in was done in just few minutes. I was allotted a room on fifth floor. The room was not as big as Baku, but had a separate specious balcony attached. And the view from balcony was just great.

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It was getting dark, so I ordered dinner on room service and I retired early. Next morning, I got up very early and could not wait for sunrise. The garden in front of the hotel, was too inviting.

I dressed up and went for a stroll there. There were loads of blooming roses, and each one of them was extra-ordinary. Like alpine roses, they were in basic colors of white, pink & yellow. I spent almost an hour there. (My next post would be exclusively for roses.)

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It was time for breakfast. Again the same Azeri fresh fruits, preserves, variety of creams and pomegranate juice. I just could’t get tired of it. The tomatoes were the tastiest, I ever had.

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Then I went to the rear side of the main building. The hotel has separate cottages there, each one with a separate garden and exclusive tea-house. It is like a dream town.

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Just next to the property there is cable car station for Tufandag. And then there is a river, where you can spend n number of hours.

Even in the front side there are some tea houses, where you can enjoy your kebabs and tea. I spend almost whole day there. During the day, I called my guide and we went for a joy ride in nearby village.

There are many archaeological sites nearby and many are still being excavated. There are other tourist attractions also, but I was more than happy to remain in the hotel.

As said above, in my next post, I will show you the beautiful roses there.

 

To be continued..

 

Azerbaijan – Part 7 – Qabala / Gabala

My next stop was Qabala / Gabala (both spellings are used). This is a very popular tourist destination and it is not without reason.

This town is about 225 kilometers from Baku and takes about 3 hours by road. It is popular holiday destination for Baku residents also.

We started at about 9 a.m. The day was sunny. Once we were out of city limits of Baku the topography reminded me of Dubai – Abu Dhabi road. The only difference was that, Azeri government has planted many trees in this area and after few years from now, the trees would have grown.

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We did climb some hills and we entered Qabala region. And it was like driving from Dubai to Switzerland by road. It is almost like Swiss Alps, with snow topped peaks and happy cows, to complete the picture. Roses were in full bloom, even on the roads. I will have a separate post, just for roses, I saw there.

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This region has mountains covered with fruits trees. (Mulberries, Apricots, Cherries etcetera). These fruit trees produce abundance of harvest and local people make lovely jams, fruit leathers, preserves with these fruits. They do collect honey and wild herbs. All these products are available alongside this road at very reasonable prices. By the time you decide, what to buy the handsome guy and his charming wife would have fed you with loads of samples. I did buy lots of these things, on my way back.

We reached Qabala around noon, but my guide decided to visit some places, before we check in the hotel. (And I must say that was a good decision, why ?, would tell you later.)

First we went to, Yeddi Gozel Waterfall. It is little off from the main road and the road leading to it is little bad. Still, the car can reach the spot, with slight difficulty though. On the way, I saw some very young pretty girls selling lovely Kiara made with fresh roses.

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The waterfall itself is in three stages and you can climb few hundred steps to reach the top. At each level, there is a restaurant and you can sip your tea with great view of the fall. The fall is not very wide but has some charm attached to it.

Near the base there was this guy selling Turkish ice cream and was too happy to pose for me. As always, his Turkish ice cream was great too. (But that man was nice enough as he did not play his usual funny tricks with me, with his ice cream.) I did buy some strawberries and plums there.

Then we went to Nokhur Gel Lake. It is a vast lake with lovely greenish blue waters. There are various food stalls around the lake and boating is possible. That is a very nice place to relax.

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Then we went to my hotel. Hotel Qafqas. This was the best hotel, I had ever stayed. It was so great place to be and walk around that, I cancelled my next day tours to bazar and other archaeological sites. I just wanted roam around Qafqas.

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I did take cable car to Tufandag, but that was just next to the Qafqas. The view from top is just amazing. It is possible to go hiking on many of the mountains there. During winter, it is also possible to ski. There is a river, which flows down the valley. Walking alongside, it’s banks is a memorable experience.

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You must be wondering what is so special about that place, well, will post some photos from there, in my next post.

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To be continued.

Azerbaijan – Part 6 – Heydar Aliyev Center. Exhibits

After appreciating the beauty of this building, let us look at the various exhibits there.

On the ground floor, there are various vintage cars, sculptures and a beautifully designed café. There is an exhibit of carpet in the making too.

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The upper floors have collection of Dolls, traditional outfits, brass and copper utensils, paintings etc. There is no restriction on photography. There is an attendant on duty at each gallery.

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Unlike other museums, there are not too many things on display. Hence you can give enough time to each exhibit. The information is available in English also.

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I found the models of most of the outstanding buildings of Baku on display on first floor, most interesting. Various buildings, whose beauty can not be seen by our naked eyes, by visiting them personally, can be seen here, with bird’s eye view.

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I did not visit many of them, but these model, nonetheless made me do so. So, may be next time.

Here are some photos of those exhibits.

To be continued..

Azerbaijan – Part 5 – Heydar Aliyev Center.

Azerbaijan – Part 5 – Heydar Aliyev Center.

We do get stunned with natures unique creations many times, but there are certain manmade creations, which command the same kind of attention.

Many of manmade buildings tend to be rectangular. ( I am aware of few exceptions like the great pyramids, Sydney opera house, Eifel Tower etc ) But be in Taj Mahal or any palace, it fits in a square or rectangular. Few elements like towers, domes add a certain dimension, but still the basic shape is same.

The more modern buildings of say Dubai, Hong kong or Singapore, though well designed, still are in a rectangular shape. They may be almost touching the sky, but very few dare to deviate from basic shape.

The Heydar Aliyev Center of Baku breaks all the rules. It is designed by Zaha Ahid, an Iraqi British designer. Even though the structure is right in front of you, it is difficult to trust your own eyes, unless you actually enter it. (It has won many awards for it’s design.)

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And from inside it is equally stunning. Not only the building even the interiors, walls, ceilings and even floor is pure white. (And yes, it is kept spotlessly clean.)

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It is difficult to describe, what the shape actually is. It may look like a shell, or wave or anything else you may imagine. And unless you go inside, it is difficult to imagine it’s massive scale.

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Not only that, it also has a huge open space around it. Still with some efforts, I could get the entire structure in one frame. The shape of this engineering marvel from opposite side is entirely different. (I regret, I could got get a good shot from that side.)

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Inside, there is a huge auditorium, various floors dedicated to different types of arts. (I will post the photos of items on display, in my nest post.)

Somebody imagining such a design, making it practically possible, the authorities approving it and finally the engineers building it.. everything is so fascinating.

The auditorium was closed, as there was no show at that time. I am posting a link here, where you could see some more photographs of this center.

https://www.archdaily.com/448774/heydar-aliyev-center-zaha-hadid-architects

As said above, wait for more photographs of items on display, in my next post.

To be continued..

 

Azerbaijan – Part 3 – Ateshgah & Yanardag

Our next destination was Ateshgah. The word Atish meaning fire and word gah means home. More conveniently known as Fire Temple.

It is in a suburb of Baku, called Surakhani ( Land of Surakh, meaning holes in ground.) The journey is alongside a railway track and finally you have to cross the track to reach this place.

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It is an enclosed complex. In the center there is elevated temple, in which a fire is burning for centuries. Actually it used to be a natural fire, but due to over exploitation of natural gas, in that area by former Russia, the fire stopped burning in year 1969. A pipeline was laid underground from Baku which fuels the fire now.

As the name suggests, it used to be a temple, where Hindus, Sikh and Zoroastrian traders used to worship. They were on their way from northern India to Europe. The complex wall comprises of many small chambers, which must have been used by those traders for night stay.

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There are various items on display there, which resemble various items used by Hindus, even today.  Moreover there are inscriptions in Devnagri, Gurumukhi and Farasee scripts.

Our ex-minister for external affairs, Sushama Swaraj had visited this place, two years back.

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When we visited this place the ticket came with an almond stuck to it, with little sugar syrup. (Yup, so sweet of them, isn’t it ?)  It is very large area but kept spotlessly clean. There are no flower sellers etc, which are common in India, near any such holy place.

There are guides available. Enough information is displayed in English also. It felt so nice to hear recitals of Hindu vedic mantras at a place so far from home. The chambers are very small with a small entrance. Though you can still enter most of them, there is no ventilation. Even some underground structures are found there, which are being excavated. (I am surprised that this place had no mention at all, in our schools history or geography books.)

From the inscriptions, it is known that the place was constructed in late 17th century. The fire must have been burning there before that.

Later, when the trade route itself lost its importance, many Hindu traders deserted that place. But, again it is getting attention, it deserves. There are few shops there selling souvenirs and snacks.

Next we visited Yanardag. The word means burning mountain, and it is exactly what it is. This is not a historical place.  The burning quality of this mountain was discovered only in year 1950 by a shepherd. It has been burning since then.

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It is a base of a hill, where you can see continuous flames. The natural gas seeps thru the sandstone and fuels the fires. There are nice arrangements done around this place. There is a well-designed gallery like amphitheater.  This makes it an ideal place for concerts. The flames themselves are not dangerous and you can go quiet near to them, like you would do to a campfire. You can roast marshmallows (available there).

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There is a way to climb the hill and you can see the distant village from there. We had gone there during day time, but after dark it must be a fabulous site.

There are some streams in that area which also can be ignited. (I did not visit any.)

In next post, we will visit a manmade beauty in Baku.

To be continued.

Azerbaijan – Part 2 – Qobustan / Gobustan

At about 60 kilometers from Baku (this city is also referred as Baki, sometimes) there is Qobustan / Gobustan (spelled both ways) National Park.

After about an hour’s drive, we reached the place. From a distance you see a hill, with lots of rocks on it. It does not give any idea, what is in store for you. When you enter a very well created museum at the entrance, you realize, that you are travelling back in time to stone age.

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This museum explains in details, this site. This site had human settlements dating back to 5,000 to 20,000 years back in time. They have carved various figures on the rocks there. Many tools and other things have been found there and they are on display here. (Not the actual rocks, of course.)

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Unless you go thru the displays, it would be difficult to know, what to look for, on the rocks on the hill. The museum tries to explain the rock carvings with the help of projections, models, animated films etc. They have even recreated the huts which might have been in use during that period. Life size statues are also on display of the people of that era.

Then you can drive to the hill. There is ample parking there and well-constructed pathways are made so that you can see the rock carvings. It is likely that the geological activities must have moved or tilted the rocks over these years.

Still the carvings are quiet clear. (You may not be able to see these carvings, hence I have put circles around them, in the photo. These are not there on the rocks.) English speaking guides are available, for a small fee.

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More than 4,000 pictures of animals, humans, natural life experiences, hunting, and dancing were carved over a span of thousands of years. Most of the petroglyphs are on large cliffs, divided among multiple ancient residences, and in some cases they have been carved over older images. The first carvings depicted natural human and animal figures, often irregularly, but over time they began to more closely resemble the measurements and proportions of their subjects.

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It seems many animals like bulls, horses, deer, goats, and other animals lived in Gobustan. From the rock drawings and the archaeological findings, wolves, tigers, foxes, jackals and other wild animals have been found in this place in ancient times. Even bone of an elephant was found, recently.

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The human figures are rather symbolic and show them dancing in a group. It could have been a ritual dance before the hunt. Azerbaijan has rich culture of dance, even today.

The climate of this region must have been different in that era. Now it is dry and none of those animals are around.  The sea is far away from this place now, it could have been nearer then.

It must have been greener also earlier. Now you can still see some fig and pomegranate trees around. There is a large tent for tourists to rest and there are rooms for the drivers and guides to rest. (So thoughtful, isn’t it ?)

About half an hour’s drive from here there are some mud volcanos and boiling pools. The road is not so good, but your guide can manage. (It will not be possible to reach this spot, if it is raining. The road may get slippery.)

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More than half of the world’s mud volcanos are in Azerbaijan. Even on this site there are couple of them. Occasionally they do erupt and shoot out mud but most of the time, it is just mild simmer. It was quiet windy there but there was no smell of sulfur in the air.

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Azerbaijan is land of fire, In my next post, we will go to two such places, where fire is worshiped.

Azerbaijan – Part 1 – Baku City

I had made all the arrangements for my Trip. For some technical reason, my advance payment to the Travel Agent could not go thru. But Arif RN Travel assured me, that would not be an issue, I could pay on arrival.

My Emirates flight to Dubai was parked away from the airport. After seemingly unending bus journey, we were taken to some terminal. My sixth sense told me that I have landed at wrong terminal. I moved to the right people and soon another bus was arranged for me, to take me to the right terminal, from where I could get my connecting flight.

There was a long wait, I opted for shower. (It was not so good experience. For 10 USD, they did not even provide towel.) The terminal was almost empty and I could relax for a while. My Azerbaijan flight was on time.

The flight itself was very pleasant. We flew over kish island and Iran. When we approached Caspian Sea, I could see the numerous oil rigs and I knew I have reached Azerbaijan.

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The domestic & international airports of Baku, are very well designed. (I will come back with more about these Airports later.) After getting out from the plane, I was ready with print out of my visa, travel arrangements etc. And, guess what, to my surprise nothing was required except my passport. The immigration, did not even take two minutes.

The baggage arrived quickly. My guide, Ismail was waiting for me outside. The first impression of Baku was great. Beautifully designed buildings, stadia, roads lined with trees, what else you could ask ? Only thing, the traffic was not caring for the rules, but that was fine with me, as my guide was brought up in that city.

 

We drove almost full length of the town. My hotel, QAFQAS was on a hill. When I checked in, I almost fell in love with it. The room was huge. It was too tempting to just go to the bed, but my guide told me, that he would come back at 9.00 p.m. to pick me up.

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This was another surprise for me.  I have never been out in a new country, at that hour before. When we reached Baku Funicular almost half of the town was on road. They were all with kids and families. Not only, during Ramadan, it is every day affair in Baku.

Baku Funicular is a small rail like construction which takes you to Neftchilar to Martyrs Alley. At that hour the train was not working but we could use the steps, which were very beautifully lit. There is a vast open space there, from which you can see the flame towers is full glory. Flame towers are dominant part of Baku skyline and can be seen from anywhere. These are three towers in the shape of flame comprising of offices and hotel. All three towers are lit up with LED lights and display many themes like, flames, showers, water fall. You can never get tired of watching them.

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From the gallery there you get a bird’s eye view of the Baku Boulevard. a 3.5 kilometre-promenade on the shores of  the Caspian Sea with an amusement park, bars and cafés along with a cacti garden, Mini-Venice, and the Baku Eye. At far end you can also see the Crystal Hall. If you climb little uphill, there is Martyrs Alley. There is a large minaret wit continuously burning flame, on the ground. In the ally itself, each and every Shahid (yes, that is the word) rests with due respect and honor. Not only, every shahid’s name is mentioned, even there portrait is also preserved.

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Then we went to beach. Coming from beautiful island nation, Seychelles, the actual beach was of no interest to me, but I was surprised to note the families which were out there to enjoy. Unfortunately the Carpet Museum was closed but other open gardens were open. There was a huge chessboard where people were actually playing it.

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We returned to the hotel, almost at midnight. Next morning was a very pleasant. My guide was to pick me up at 10.00 p.m. I had my breakfast at the hotel. Even for a vegetarian like me, there was huge choice of breads, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit preserves and the tastiest pomegranate juice.

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After breakfast, I went out for a stroll. I could see vide roads, and gardens at every corner. There were so many fruiting trees and flowers around that I have decided to post them in separate posts here.

My guide came to pick me up as promised, we started our journey  to our next attraction. The roads almost resembled those of Dubai.  We were on our way to Qobustan. More about it, in my next post.

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To be continued.

Azerbaijan – Introduction

This time for my short vacation, I had chosen Azerbaijan. After visiting Uzbekistan, few months earlier, I was looking for similar experience, and I narrowed down my search to Baku. Though there are good blogs on Baku (Capital of Azerbaijan) there wasn’t any detailed blog. (At least, I did not find any.)

Hence, I decided to take help of a tour agent. Arif RN Travel, is an agency, highly recommended by Tripadvisor. When I wrote to them, they wrote back giving me complete tour program. Almost everything was covered in that, the price quoted was also very reasonable. And, I am very happy to say that, it was the best choice. All the arrangements were superb. I wish I could spend more time there.

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Here is some basic information about Azerbaijan.

  • Where is Azerbaijan ? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azerbaijan It is a country on the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is on the banks on Caspian sea, and very rich in Petroleum. As my subsequent posts will reveal, it is mixture of Dubai and Switzerland, and much more economical than both these destinations.
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  • Visa Requirements (for Indians) . Visa is available on line, for a small fee. Only a photograph and passport scan is needed. The visa gets approved within few hours.
  • How to get there (by Air). Azerbaijan Airlines has twice daily flights to Dubai. Even flydubai flies there. ( If you read the reviews nobody talked good about the later and hardly anybody has complained about the former, so the choice is yours.) The flight from Dubai, takes less than 3 hours.
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  • Where to stay ? Lots of choices available. Arif Travel arranged my stays in 5 star properties and they were quiet reasonably priced. The hotels themselves were excellent. In fact, the one, I stayed in Qabala, was the best ever hotel, in my life.
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  • How to move around ? – My tour agent had arranged a private car for me. But I found ample taxies, buses, metro etc. The hotel you chose, may make these arrangements for you.DSCN8123
  • What language they speak ? Azerbaijani is the official language, and is spoken by most of them. (Surprisingly, you may find many Hindi words in that language.) But nothing to worry, most people in Hotel Industry, Shops, Supermarkets speak decent English. Most of the information is displayed in English also.
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  • Is it costly ? I didn’t find so. Most of the things I bought were reasonable priced. A large falafel sandwich in 5 star hotel (room service) costs me 3 USD. This country has abundant food production, rich in petroleum and other natural resources, so you may find, it is actually cheaper than Europe or even Dubai.
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  • How are the people ? They are extremely fit. They have to do compulsory military training for two years. They have the athletic look and body. The very few people, I interacted with, were found helpful.
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  • What to eat ? The choice is almost limitless, with abundance of fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The local cuisine is interesting. They serve red tea in specially designed cup and it is to be taken with variety of jams. The most remarkable jam was made with fresh walnut. The whole fruit is used (with shell) and it was the most delicious jam, I have ever eaten.
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  • What to shop ? Apart from the branded goods, you can buy camel wool scarves, carpets, metal utensils, glasses, dry fruits, fruit preserves, fruit leather.. you are spoiled with choices.
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  • Any Security Issues – None.

 

And yes there are many wonderful places to visit. In this series I am going to post many photos. This area is reach in flora and fauna too. So keep reading.

Uzbekistan – Samarkand (Part 3 of 3)

Our next stop was a Samarkand Bukhara Joint Venture Silk carpet factory. By the time we went there, it was lunch time, still the lady in charge, explained us the entire procedure.

The girls were busy weaving the carpets, knot by knot. A carpet with intricate design can easily take 3 to 6 months to complete. The carpets on display were treat for the eyes.

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I was more impressed by the tapestries created by those girls. They were nothing short of paintings or I would even say digital photographs. Those things were reasonably priced too. (But still beyond my budget.)

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I purchased some scarves and jackets there.

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Our next stop was Shakhi Zinda Necropolis. Shakhi Zinda means “The living king’. (Yes, the same meaning of Zinda, as in Hindi). It is complex comprising of eleven mausoleums arranged on both sides of a narrow street. You climb 40 steps to reach this complex. These mausoleums were built around year 1379 to 1449.

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The first one is imaginary grave of Kusam ibn Abbas, Prophet Muhammad’s Cousin. He came to Samarkand in year 640 and spend 13 years. He was killed by Zoroastrians while he was praying. Till today, it is believed that he is present there, hence the name.

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This place is truly divine. On both sides of the narrow streets there are beautifully decorated entrances to the mausoleums. But the problem is, that the street is so narrow, that you can not take photo of any of them, from a distance. Nevertheless, these are my trials to capture the beauty.

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It was my last day in Samarkand. I wanted to see the lit up beauties of Registan Complex. Hence we went their again. This time, there was hardly anybody on the complex and I could click them, the way I wanted.

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Next day we caught a fast train to Tashkent. The station and the train, both were impressive. (The speed going up to 216 km per hour ). My last day in Tashkent was reserved only for shopping.

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I purchased flower and vegetable seeds, dry fruits, spices. I even found a Baboshka (A Russian wooden doll)

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I also walked the market street opposite Chorsu Bazar. (I was impressed by baby cradle with drainage arrangements.) My guide Shokhrukh had been giving me company, for all these days. I requested him to go home to spend time with his family. I walked the streets of Tashkent all alone.

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And first time in my life, I overslept. Shokhrukh woke me up for my return flight. We rushed to the airport. When I approached the counters I came to know, that my Mumbai flight was cancelled. But the staff on duty was quick to make alternative arrangements for us. They put me on Delhi flight instead and made arrangements for my onward travel to Mumbai. The flight was held up for us. (Hence, we were rushed to the plane. I missed the last minute duty free shopping.) And let me tell you, I had the heaviest and the tastiest flight breakfast on this flight, comprising of 16 items, nothing less.

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Till today, I am holding the memories of my wonderful holiday in Uzbekistan. They are as sweet as this lovely, Halwa.

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Concluded.

Uzbekistan – Samarkand (Part 2 of 3)

The area of Registan ensemble is very large and many international cultural events are held there. From there we can walk towards Bibi Khanyam mosque. The road towards this mosque has many shops on both the sides. We had ice cream in one of those shops.

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There is an Art gallery on the way. The building is actually modern, but seems very much from history.

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From a distance you start noticing the ribbed dome of Bibi-khanyam mosque. Amir wanted to build the largest mosque for his wife (Bibi) from the enormous wealth he brought from India. The construction took 5 years to complete and it was completed in year 1404.

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The rumor has that while Amir was away on another mission, during the construction period. Bibi and the engineer of this massive project, had fallen in love. When Amir came to know about this, both of them were killed.

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The construction was too big for the technology of that era and soon started collapsing within few months of the construction. The site has some photographs showing the very bad condition it was found to be. However, what we see now is the carefully recreated version. The walls and domes are beautifully decorated now.

 

Just outside of this mosque, there is a large bazar. Fruits, vegetables and dry fruits are sold there, among other things.

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From that place, distant snow clad mountains could be seen.

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We returned to Hotel Orient Star.

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The next day we visited Mausoleum of Imam al-Bukhari. (This is about 25 kms from Samarkand). This complex has great religious significance and is considered as mini-Haj (with other places in Uzbekistan).

Abu Abdullah Muhammed inb Ismail al-Bukhari was great Theologian and hadith collector. His work “Al-Jomiy al-Saheeh” is considered a Holy Book, only next to the Holy Quran.

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He was born in 810 and had visited many Islamic countries. However his mausoleum was neglected during the Soviet era. It was only is 1954, when Indonesian President visited U.S.S.R., and wanted to visit this place, it was “discovered” again.

At present, It is marvelous complex. The actual marble mausoleum is piece of art.

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The 786 square meters prayer hall is very peaceful and soothing. Here we met a very kind mullah, who actually made me sit next to him and prayed for me.

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This complex also has specially printed, crafted copies of the Holy Quran, which were presented by various countries. It also has kisva presented by The King of Saudi Arabia.

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Another incident happened there. When I came from the hall, and wore my shoes, a young lady tapped on my shoulder and said something. I did not understand, what she said, so I checked with my guide. He told, me that, she had said, my trouser were soiled. ( I had sat on the steps). What a kind gesture. ! I could not even thank her. This is how people of Uzbekistan are.  Hopelessly friendly and caring. Frankly, I myself would not have bothered to do this for anybody, even after I had noticed it.

 

Then we visited the Observatory of Ulugbek.  Ulugbek was more of an astronomer than a ruler. He had a huge observatory constructed on a hill. As written by Babur, it was a three storied building (estimated dimensions 46 meters diameter and 30 meters height). It also had a giant goniometer vertical circle of radius, estimated to be 40.212 meters. They were able to document the positions of more than 1000 stars and their calculation of Solar year is almost equal to that calculated today, with modern instruments.

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Unfortunately, after the death of Ulugbek, this complex was destroyed. Much later, only in year 1908 archaeologist Vyatkin found first document regarding the location of this observatory. What remained was only the underground portion of goniometer.

Nevertheless, there is a very well maintained museum at that place now. They have not built the observatory but it’s model is kept in the museum and so are, some of the instruments.

We then visited a unique place where silk paper, (yes, paper not cloth) is made. This process is carried out using ancient technique which has not changed over centuries.

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The leaves of mulberry tree are used to feed the silk worms and the inner bark of this tree, are used to make this “Silk Paper”. The sticks are scrapped to remove the outer bark. The inner silky bark is boiled for several hours and then pounded using ancient technique. The pulp is washed and dyed using natural colours. Then it is pressed and dried. The resultant paper is hand polished, using stones or sea shells. The resultant paper is very strong and durable. It can not only be used for printing but also can be made into money purses, jacket etc.

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It can withstand modern printing also and surprisingly it is more soothing for the eyes.

To be continued.