For a blend of history and good food, go Uzbekistan

In a little over two-and-a-half hours from New Delhi by air lies the capital of a country that was once connected to India by the Silk Road. In the city to deliver a keynote address at the CII Travel East Conference on Tourism, Farhod Arziev, the ambassador for Uzbekistan, told t2 why the “jewel of Central Asia” is a must visit.

  • Published 14.12.17
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 Farhod Arziev. Picture: B. Halder

In a little over two-and-a-half hours from New Delhi by air lies the capital of a country that was once connected to India by the Silk Road. In the city to deliver a keynote address at the CII Travel East Conference on Tourism, Farhod Arziev, the ambassador for Uzbekistan, told t2 why the “jewel of Central Asia” is a must visit.

“Both our countries are very similar in history and culture. We share the same values. We, in Uzbekistan, honour the code of hospitality just like India does. It’s just that people don’t know much about it.... People in Uzbekistan like Indian films and music. Raj Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan and Hema Malini are all famous names there!” said Arziev.

With common favourites such as pilaf (pulao), samsa (samosa), qovun (melons), halwa and nan, the gastronomy of the two countries is also very similar. “Some of the staples that we consume, especially the pilaf, are very similar to that in India. Our pilaf varies according to the province in which it is made. It generally involves a lot of rice and meat,” he added, sipping green tea, another favourite of the region.

The capital city of Tashkent with its mix of old-world charm and modernism offers plenty for the tourist to do.

“Our tourism opportunities have been kept vast, keeping in mind the yonger generations that we want to sensitise about our two countries’ shared heritage,” Arziev added.

The Uzbek pilaf is a staple and is similar to our pulao.

FACT BOX

Country: The Republic of Uzbekistan
Capital: Tashkent
Currency: Uzbek Soum (UZS)
(Re 1=125.88 UZS approximately)
Language: Uzbek, though Russian and English are widely spoken
Time: GMT + 05.00 (30 minutes behind IST)
Climate: Sharp difference between the regions, with many sunny days. In January, the temperature can dip to
-15°C.
Best time to visit: Anytime
How to get there: Daily flights from New Delhi to Tashkent that take 2.45 hours.

CHECK OUT

Tashkent: Alisher Navoi National Park, Aqua Park, Independence Square, Lal Bahadur Shastri Street (which has a monument dedicated to our former Prime Minister who passed away in Tashkent) and the local bazaars.

Samarkand: Has historic forts and structures like Registan, Bibi Khanum Mosque and Gur Emir Mausoleum.

Bukhara: Known for its Islamic architecture with its minarets, caravan-sarais and domes.

Chimgan: Located 100km from Tashkent, the mountain resorts here are popular for the winter sports they offer like snowboarding, skiing and heli-skiing. Lake Charvaq and the Fergana Valley are popular summer attractions.

Text: Anannya Sarkar

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