victory park

we chanced on victory park
because it was just across our
air bnb in aaly tokombaev street.
since we reached while it was still light
we decided to walk around and what a find

victory park had lots of flowers and memorials
but since it was written in kyrgyz or russian language
its was difficult for us to understand but we didn’t need to
know the script to know we had arrived at a beautiful place.

the centerpiece is apparently dedicated to the blockade of Leningrad
but i loved how young people were playing cards at the bottom of it.

there are a few interesting statues
and well manicured garden with roses

i especially liked how the place transforms
to a local hangout as the sun sets and dusk settles

we too ate some horse meat wrap
and became part of evening encounters

 

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osh bazar

last afternoon in bishkek we headed to osh bazar
because we needed to buy souvenirs before leaving
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and as soon as we saw this kyrgyz bread
i knew we had arrived because whenever
i would google ‘osh bazar’ images of this bread
flood my screen but as we moved around we found
horse sausages and some really good cheap dried fruits too

the souvenir stalls were interesting
they seem to use a lot of coarse wool
which feels itchy just by looking at it..

the dresses had lots of ruffles and frills
apparently to be worn during special occasions

for the men, you have the kalpak
which is a traditional kyrgyz hat and
men wear as a sign of their masculinity

of course there are other random things one can buy
from old Russian military uniforms to floppy beach hats

i wish i had more time to explore osh bazar
but what i saw and experienced was far from
what people had been saying about tourists being
randomly asked for IDs and cops demanding money etc.
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(so if you are in bishkek, do not leave without visiting osh bazar:)

 

yurt camping

yurtone thing i wanted to do in kyrgyzstan
was to spend a night in the traditional yurt

so we headed to issyk kul and
finding a yurt was our top priority

lucky for us we met aaieta -a gentle lady
who gave us food and let us camp in her yurt

yurts are the traditional tents of central asian nomads
and the kyrgyz flag even has a depiction of the yurt roof

the next morning, i was lucky to catch sunrise in yurt camp
all these tents were pitched facing the sealike issyk kul lake

and luckier for me i got in the water and
did not miss this chance to swim in issyk kul
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for breakfast, aaieta first served us chai
as she cleaned her plastic tables and chairs

the best part however was when she brought out
the issyk kul fish she had fried as we savoured its taste
and enjoyed the watermelon we got on the way to issyk kul

since it was a weekend
many locals with their families
had also made way to issyk kul beach
and we were privileged to have this experience
(because we were the only tourists there otherwise)

i only wish we could stay longer and
maybe write poems about issyk kul too
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Rukh Ordo at Cholpon-Ata

Rukh Ordo is a cultural center
located in the north shore of Issyk Kul lake.

It houses structures of different world religions

There are also various artwork, statues and monuments

This cultural center was constructed in honor of Chingiz Aitmativ
-a Kyrgyz writer, ambassador and a literary figure for Kyrgyz people.

Chingiz is a hero in many ways
and this place is dedicated to him

The place also included various other paintings and artwork

and there was an exhibition on Kyrgyz women’s attire

somebody told us that you can learn Kyrgyz history in this place
and one could spend hours in this center that tells the story of Kyrgyz people

besides all the history, the place also exudes serenity
so one can sit, reflect and enjoy the peaceful environment too.

 

treasures on the silk road

Kyrgyzstan is part of the silk road and
we got a chance to traverse on it

the roads were surrounded by mountains
of different shades changing colors along the way

but i was more impressed
by all that we saw on the road

the first stop was by this burana tower replica
(’twas nice because we didn’t get to go to the main site)
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altho probably made for the fancy burana hotel
with their private beach and an interesting sculpture park

but some distance down the road
there were plums, peaches, melons
and these kyrgyz ladies who were selling
watermelons that seemed larger than life…

for some reason i always imagined
these striped watermelons being sold
by a lady with a red head scarf and wallah…
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i found her 🙂
we bought a melon, watermelon
and had a hearty laugh about how
we couldn’t find the right time to eat them

another treasure was this lady who served us
the juiciest sweet corn i have had in all my life

i wish i could’ve taken more pictures of the road
but we started late and our destination was quite far
so we couldn’t stop wherever we wanted just for the picture

if going was sunny, it was a little rainy on the way back
but our pitstops kept getting better and multifarious

first were these apricots, apples and seabuck thorn
sold at a price that i wish i could carry it all…

then we saw some dried fishes and fermented dairy
(didn’t buy either coz we were leaving the next day)

one of the best and last stops was at the kattama joint
-paratha kinda bread that is eaten with cream
if you want there are boiled eggs to go along


we were blessed to have traveled through
the same road that the caravans took
bringing back these treasures
from the silk road…

 

 

 

ala too square

located in the heart of bishkek city
ala too square is the one place you need to know
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if you need to meet up with friends and have no phone nor wifi
just agree to meet in front of manas statue at ala-too…alatoo5apparently, there used to be a lenin statute
which has since been removed and replaced
by the mighty manas – hero of the Kyrgyz people

nearby is the Kyrgyz flagpole where
soldiers change guard during evenings

there are a few fancy atractions
like the kids double decker bus,
a horse chariot and a toy train

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it seems to be a popular hangout for city kids
riding their bikes, roller skating and having a blast

opposite the manas statute were these
colourful dancing fountains that
visitors from out of capital city
seemed to enjoy and relish

as a visitor in the city i liked this square a lot
there was a sense of freedom and openness
for new beginnings under the kyrgyz sky.

 

 

ala archa national park

if you want to hike the central asian mountains and
you only have one day -ala archa hike is your destination.

the landscape is beautiful and the mountain range is breathtaking…

the park’s altitude ranges from 1500 to 4895 metres.

one can opt for higher altitude glacier walk
or the river trail (which the locals usually take)
and our group opted for the ak-sai waterfall trail.

the waterfall was located at an altitude of 2860 metres
while it was rather steep at some points, it was very refreshing

though we had a huge team and not everyone could make it to the waterfall
we all got to experience the sunny, beautiful walk in tian shan mountain range

when we got to our base
we chanced on this natural pool
the water was obviously from the glacier
crystal clear, cold and quite inviting actually…
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as we made way back to our bus
i saw this abandoned house and thought
what stories it would have gathered in its lifetime
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