Tag Archives: grand orzu

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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Day 5 – Snow in Tashkent!

Nisha outside the Grand Orzu in Tashkent

In the call of duty Nisha has not only traveled to faraway lands but she’s also braved heat, dust, snow, frozen extremities, alien food – all in the search for exquisite crafts.

On our way back from Fergana to Tashkent, Nisha decided to visit a medressa in Kokand known to host workshops of the old masters. We stepped out of our car only to get lashed by icy winds. The bleak grey skies did not dampen her enthusiasm. Bundled up from head to toe, she checked every workshop and quizzed the masters.

When we first traveled through the Tian Shan mountains, it was a bright clear day with glorious views of the ranges. On our way back from Fergana, the pass was all fogged out and the mountains were brilliant white! We came back to a snowy white Tashkent – this was no powderpuff stuff but serious snow. Even the …

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Eventful flight to Tashkent, Uzbekistan

We boarded an Uzbek airways plane on the night of 13th Feb. The flight was packed with folks taking sacks (yes sacks, not bags or suitcases) full of stuff from India. Nisha and I wondered through the entire flight what could they be possibly carrying – and were not very discreet in trying to solving this mystery. We peered over and into their bags. I spotted many packs of Kurkure and bright orange ladoos. (Our travel agent told us later that people carry medicines by the sackful from India.)

We stuck out as two odd girls on a flight full of Uzbeks and a large Indian contingent of distributors out on their “incentive” holiday to Tashkent. Clearly everyone was wondering whether we were on the right flight. It was an old plane with seat belts so old school that it took us a while to figure out how they worked …

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  • Welcome to Arastan

    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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