Tashkent was firstly mentioned in “Avesta”, The primary collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism and in the ancient Chinese manuscripts. Judging from the accounts, the name “Tashkent” first appeared in the Turkic sources of the 9th – 12th centuries, this place proved to be a happy choice, because the city managed to survive despite all trials – wars, sieges and invasions. In the ancient chronicles the city was known under such names as Yuni, Chach, Shash and now Tashkent. Well this was what I read about it. I had no prior knowledge of its existence until the business trip came along. I was very anxious to see what the city would look like.
On my way to Tashkent, my flight had a transit of 5 hours at Delhi. So, I took the opportunity to explore Delhi during the waiting period. I met with a friend of mine who happens to live in Delhi, he took me around the city on his bike which he named 52-52 (Bawan-Bawan). During my last trip to Delhi I had promised Baba Harman Muni to hand him a copy of the photograph I clicked and so I thought to go over there and give them to him. Upon reaching the place Harman muni usually rested, he was nowhere to be found. I came to learn that he had travelled to his hometown. I handed the picture to his friend whom he is usually with and left disappointed. On the bright side though, I got to visit India Gate for the first time and it was astounding!!! It has been on my travel list for a while and I’ve always wanted to visit.
I returned to the airport exhausted from my little adventure and couldn’t wait to reach my destination, Tashkent. Next day around 5.30 we reached Tashkent, arriving in Tashkent was not what I have exactly expected at that time it was freezing and I wasn’t well prepared for the freezing weather. We were commuted to our Hotel named Ramada Tashkent, which is situated right in the heart of the city, a mere 8 KM from the airport. It is also close to the most sport of interests. Soon after taking a shot nap, I got freshened and I left for the city tour.
Let the journey begin!!!
The first place I visited was the Tashkent tower. The T.V tower, a 375 meter three- legged monster, stands to the north of the city but can be seen from all over the town. The tower’s meteorological station provides the agricultural sector with information about the changes in weather. At 110M there’s a revolving restaurant that serves a distinctly mediocre set Russian meal.
Near to the tower there was a memorial named Shahidlar Xotirasi Square occupying 17 hectors of land, opened on may, 2000 in the memory of the victims of repressions decorated with the wood carving with a light blue dome. There after I visited ‘Crying Mother’ monument which is Fronted by an eternal flame, it was constructed in 1999 to honour the 400,000 Uzbek soldiers who died in WWII, the niches along its corridors house their names.
The Independence Square as many other places in Tashkent has its own history. In the Soviet time the square was re-named for Lenin Square. A monument to Lenin was erected in the center of it. And construction of fountains and development of the square itself began at this period. Upon declaration of independence in 1991 Lenin Square was re-named to Independence Square in1992.
Later prior to sunset I went to Saligokh street locally known as ‘Broadway street’, situated in the very centre of the city connecting two major squares of the city. I was astonished to see such a busy street, flooded with shopping centres, fashion shops, handicrafts shops, restaurants and cafes, seeing this I couldn’t resist myself and looked forward to getting a painting as a souvenir of this place.
My feet were sore by the time I reached back to hotel, early that evening there was an award ceremony (The main purpose of the trip) organised by Max Bupa. we were given a warm welcome by the event management team entering the venue. The opening ceremony included the native dance of Uzbekistan, followed by distributing the awards and a speech by the CEO. The event ended with a grand dinner which included the native food of Uzbekistan. During the event, I met few people from Delhi, who were also invited as guests for the event, soon after the event we decided to enjoy the night-life of Tashkent and went for clubbing, we were also accompanied by a local DJ named Majid and her fiancé.
The following morning, we headed out to Chimgan mountains. As we reached there I was captivated by the scenery. The only colour that could be seen was white as all over the mountain was covered with snow. I rejoiced like never, seeing this I couldn’t resist myself and headed towards the mountain to play in the snow. I tried to make snow butterfly but could not succeed, but the pleasure and the instinct was remarkable. The mountain had many snow sports, I preferred to ride on snow mobile over skiing as it doesn’t require to self-balance oneself. Following a short introduction, I was accompanied by two guides on a 30-minute circuit. Later I went for ride in cable cars, it did indeed provide worthwhile views and was also quite chilly.
One of the most interesting experiences I had in Tashkent was visiting the charvak lake, which is in the northern part of the city. Even though during my visit the was frozen but, I had a dynamic and unforgettable time there. Viewing the lake sitting on the bench made me remember the words of Russian philosopher Dostoyevs – “I’m sitting here all the time thinking I’m going to die soon”.
Later in the afternoon I wandered around chorsu bazzar . It is Tashkent’s most famous farmers market, topped by a giant green and blue coloured dome, is a delightful slice of city life spilling into the streets off Old Town’s southern edge. There were acres of spices arranged in brightly coloured mountains, car-sized sacks of grain and sheds entirely dedicated to candy, dairy products and bread. The market was tempting and the enticement forced me buy few cosmetic from the market.
Late In the evening we had our last dinner in Tashkent with the CEO of Max Bupa, Although it was a business trip I grabbed every single opportunity to explore this beautiful city.