Monthly Archives: February 2012

Uzbekistan: First Impressions from Tashkent

Looking out of the aircraft window as we approached Tashkent, I didn’t see fields of green or desert dunes but buildings and houses as far as the eye could see. Clearly, from up here, Tashkent was a sprawling big city. The airport was however, comparatively small and unimpressive.

Outside, the weather was perfect: bright sunshine and a crisp 9 degrees centigrade. Ali, Nisha’s driver on her previous trip, was there to welcome us. He said he had organized the good weather, especially for us. Our drive to the Grand Orzu Hotel was minutes long. Tashkent’s main roads are 6 lanes wide, with pavements as broad as MG Road. Despite the generous motorways, there wasn’t much traffic. It was strangely quiet. Coming from India, any place is quiet, I suppose. But one forgets that Uzbekistan is a country of just 26 million people who don’t honk on the road. For an …

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Mumbai, you are Incredible!

You came, you saw, you bought and I thank you. I feel elated. There is nothing quite like ‘making it’ in your home town. The gentleman who owns the gallery that hosted us said to me quite emotionally “you have made my gallery look so beautiful” and lots of customers were very appreciative of the exhibition and the carpet collection. We will certainly be back.

Putting the show on was the easy bit. Octroi was not. Only Ethiopia and some cities in the state of Maharashtra still charge Octroi (a local tax collected on various articles brought into a district for consumption). The documentation in our case was tedious as we had to pull out not just invoices but customs duty for every individual item. However they seemed happy with the paperwork and accepted our demand draft for the deposit (although the shipper refused to take the demand draft from …

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Uzbekistan Beckons

Shılpıq, Karakalpakstan

Nisha and I are off to Uzbekistan on the 27th. Can’t believe it’s actually happening! Four months ago, I didn’t even know where Uzbekistan was and now, it’s like I have travelled there a million times on the virtual silk roads of our times. And that’s even before I’ve physically got there!

We’ll be crisscrossing the country in search of craft that flourished in the 13th century when, besides trade, artists and artisans met and interacted along the silk routes. It is believed that ceramists from China were summoned by the great conqueror Amir Timur to teach the potters of Fergana the secret behind their brilliant blue porcelain. The nomads that traversed the Central Asian steppes frequented the silk roads to trade their suzanis, kilms, jajims (tribal blankets) and carpets. Miniature painters from China would inspire royal painters of Central Asian dynasties to document the life and times of their …

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Treasures of the Silk Route – Exhibition at Artisans’, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai

Handicrafts from the Silk Route

Arastan will be exhibiting its “Treasures of the Silk Route” in Mumbai from 16-18 February.

ARTISANS‘ 52 – 56 Dr V B Gandhi Marg (Behind Rhythm House) Kala Ghoda Mumbai

16,17,18 February; 11am-7pm

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    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

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