Tag Archives: tashkent

Exhausted (after orange lemons at Chorsu Bazaar and exquisite miniatures at Abulkasim Medressa)

Miniature Paintings

It’s 11.15pm and we’re exhausted. We did so much today that photocaptions are all we can get our minds around. So, here goes:

Caravan is Tashkent’s quintessential theme restaurant eclectically put together to look like an Uzbek village home… the sprawling charpoy, water wheel, cane platters, dried chillies, worn kilims and old suzanis… The attached crafts store is to die for. Particularly loved the silk and felt appliqué stoles… Hard yogurt balls (kurut) are Uzbek equivalents of mumphali (peanuts). They come in all shapes, salted, spiced and what not. Great with beer we’re told. At the Chorsu Bazaar fresh fruit market. Just could not get over the beautiful shape of these lemons. They give a divine flavour to their teas which we are consuming by the potful. Have to take a couple home. After visiting the Indian Embassy, Ikat shops at Chorsu Bazaar, the travel agent and the beautiful home …

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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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We Didn’t Just Shop, We Also Ate…

Non, Non, Non

The food in Uzbekistan is absolutely divine. Here are some of our favourites (with links to The Art of Uzbek Cuisine if you’d like to try some at home!):

Non: Every region had its own special bread – from the raised rim sesame seed topped version in Fergana to the layered pastry version of Samarkand Kefir: a thick drinking yogurt often served with breakfast which we happily dosed with stewed apricots or strawberry jam Suzma: The delicious yogurt dip with fresh herbs helped us polish off a lot of bread when we were too impatient to wait for our main course Samsa: Their samosas made with a variety of fillings. We’re still lusting after the pumpkin samsas at Fergana and promise to not be shy and eat the whole plate the next time we’re there. The mince lamb tandoor version in Bukhara was well worth second and third helpings! Chuchvara: …

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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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Day 1: Valentine’s Day in Tashkent!

Amir Timur Statue

Zahid, our guide for the trip met us bright and early in the morning. He got the first whiff of what the next two weeks had in store for him i.e. two hyperactive women who believe that a day has more than 24 hours and hence want to do more than is humanly possible! We gave him a rather ambitious plan for what we wanted to do on Day 1.

As we stepped out, Tashkent on first glance was odd and sanitized. Old box-like Soviet style buildings, mixed up with new structures pretending to be grand give the city a rather confused identity. New buildings are coming up around the city in record time especially in the Amir Timur square area. The new International Affairs Center that came up in (hold your breath) just four months! Only 3,000 people worked on it – if only we could ship this efficiency …

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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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    You can still browse some of the products we used to have via the category links above, although none of these are available for purchase.

    Relive our travels and stories by browsing our articles and archives from the menus below.

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