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Published: November 23rd 2019
06 Nov: Day 6&7 : Yesterday we drove from Bukhara to Nurata. After a visit to a pottery maker and a mosque we reached a resort in Nurata by the evening, just to realize that the resort was a 5 Km trek from the gate where the bus stopped. While some vehicles were being arranged, four of us decided to trek it down. It turned out to be an awesome stroll with extraordinary scenery ! With not a soul in sight, we were happy to make friends with a russian farmer on a donkey. It is amazing how humans can communicate without language if there are good vibes! As we parted, he offered us the bread he was carrying to feed his family which touched us no end! When you have so little to give and you give it all, you are a divine soul!
The Yurt camp was delightful and exciting till we settled in our tents and nearly froze to death! Temp. At 4°C , nothing could warm us and the bones threatened to crack! The morning was a relief ! As we trekked back to the bus, we made an adventure out of it! Eventually, we did
not see Nurata for what it is famous for - the spring, the fortress or the lake but it was an experience to remember! Foot tapping music, dance and a happy attitude can make any jungle- Mangal!
Why we should have planned mountains in this winter season, I cant justify except that it dates back to 4000 years as the pertroglyphs on stones tell us . Founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century ,it has many legends and pretty streams. In spring, it would have looked more lively but now it was an expanse of brown rocky land- but we did find it charming all the same!
Unless you are going there for Rock climbing, trekking or adventure tourism, you can give it a miss.
08 Nov: Day 8 @ Samarkhand- the name itself invokes images of caravans, camels, spices, silks, Genghis Khan, Timur, golden roads, larger than life monuments and emotions of romance, glory, cruelty, mystery - all creating a magical kaleidoscope! This was the city that had enticed me to come to Uzbekistan. It does not disappoint!
As we started the day at the Ulugbek observatory , it was an education in
how science was so advanced way back in the 14th century .
A peek into history and the dynasties that ruled this part of the world in the museum nearby and THEN ....... a unique architectural wonder of Samarkand, Shakhi Zinda ( the living king) complex of an ensemble of Tombs and mausoleums with all possible shades of blue along narrow cobbled streets , filled the day and our hearts!
Just as we thought we had experienced the ultimate beauty in Samarkhand - we were proved wrong ! In the evening, we just ventured out for a walk after dark to get a feel of the city, and strolled towards Registan. We were not prepared for the wonder that awaited us ! Illuminated Registan ( the Sand Palace) will probably be the most beautiful monument you will ever see ! DROP DEAD GORGEOUS ! Words or pictures can not justify what your eyes can see , so I will not even attempt a description.
Though it is on our agenda day after, so we shall visit it then during the day - but to see it at night, illuminated, ...... is a treat for the soul!
I ain't going anywhere tomorrow! The magical aura of Registan with the dazzling blue and shimmering mosaics has had me spellbound! I want to absorb the essence of Registan and carry it in my heart. Shahrizbz- is in the itinerary tomorrow but I can't believe anything could be as beautiful as what I saw today so that can wait!
History snippets ; Ulugh Beg was an astronomer and a mathematician. He was able to calculate the duration of the tropical year with an error of only 25 seconds. Not even Copernicus came as close!However, religious fanatics destroyed his observatory in 1449, only to be unearthed 500 years later.
The Shah-i-Zinda : Timur's cousin Kusam Abbas came to Samarkand to preach Islam. He was beheaded for his faith, but he didn't die, took his head and went into the deep well (Garden of Paradise), where he's still living now.
09 Nov: Today was a cheat day! Some of us bunked the itinerary planned and decided to spend a leisurely day strolling about window shopping and people watching. I am not used to being led around on holidays so, this was a breather from the guided tour! Loved every
minute of it and will remember Samarkhand as a cheerful city full of warm peaceful people who spread smiles ,as a spotlessly clean city with its citizens taking pride in it, as a city that is safe for women at any hour of the day or night, as a city that does not reek of wealth but people are content with what they have!
The palpable contrast to modern indian cities strikes your heart at every step!
The rest of the group went to Shakirsabz, Timur's birth place and filled us in with photographs and descriptions .
In the evening we feasted our eyes on Registon again, though we had seen it during the day but the charm of the monument is thousand fold during the night !
10 Nov: Day 10# Our first stop today- Gul-e-Amir , the tomb of the most formidable conqueror of Central Asia -Timurlame evoked mixed feelings! A man who ravaged Hindostan, carried slaves from here, whose tales of cruelty ring so loud that even after centuries , Kareena was trolled for naming her son Taimur, He is revered as one of the greatest rulers in Samarkhand!
Speaks volumes about
However the mosaic work in the tomb, the dazzling gold work on the ceiling radiate the power and vibes of this
Man who set out to conquer the world.
The next stop was Registan- now in day light it did not look the Arabian Night dream it looked at night but its sheer size and mosaic work were as overpowering ! Today, as we took a guided tour inside , it was more awe inspiring and it is difficult to fathom the kind of labour that would have gone into it ! What ctaftsmanship! Videos are a must see!
A few meters away, after passing the impressive bronze statue of President, Islam Karimov, is the Bibi Khanym ( Timur's beautiful second wife and advisor) Mosque. Though it pales in comparison to the other sites because large parts of it were destroyed over time, It used to be one of the largest mosques in the world.
Right next to it is the
Siyob Bazaar, an open air market of aesthetically arranged spice mounds, nuts, fruits, breads ,fruits and vegetables. So neat and clean that it is a treat to shop here! The sellers generously
hand out their produce to taste and didnt badger you to buy their products.
A late lunch and we boarded the train to Tashkent on a two hour journey. Since there is no scenery to be seen, I write this in the comfort of the plush bullet train.
Samarkhand will always have a place in my heart for its warm Hearted people reflected in their golden toothed grins, the turquoise blue onion shaped domes,
Shopping kiosks with colorful suzzanies, colorful crockery, intricate paintings, pottery, silks and Ikkat in the mosques and mausoleums, giving you a feeling of being on the silk route !
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