Dushanbe – Spring of Central Asia (2014)

Dushanbe – Spring of Central Asia (2014)

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I accepted the invitation to speak in a conference in Dushanbe with alacrity.  I thought I could use the visit to drive on the Pamir Highway, something I missed on two earlier visits to Kyrgyz Republic. I wanted to travel from Murghab to Osh or vice versa. First you fly in a rickety tiny aircraft – the scariest I have seen on youtube – to reach Murghab and then go through the spectacular Pamir Highway all the way to Osh. But you need special permits to do this since part of the route touches the Wakahan Corridor in Afghanistan and is not safe. Despite much cajoling and persuasion , the Indian embassy in Dushanbe just would not get me the permit.

Dushanbe itself is a dull town with pretentious new architecture. The local markets for dry fruits is a joyous profusion at throw away prices. If you drive 10 km out of the town, you come across stunning mountain ranges- Fann, Zervashan etc. We drove along gurgling rivers and picnicked on the banks of Vaksh. Tajikistan is almost all mountain country, has several rivers coursing through it;  it can supply water and electricity to all neighbouring countries including India. Next to Brazil, Tajikistan has the world’s second largest water resources and hence, a potential superpower in the next couple of decades when the rest of the world runs out of water.

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