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Tajikistan Ismaili Heritage Tour - 10 days

This trip is tailored for those who want to learn about Ismaili culture in Tajikistan. Since most of the Ismailis in Tajikistan live in the Pamir region, the trip will mostly cover the Pamir
region or Badakhshan.
Few words about Pamirs:
The Pamirs, from which several of Asia's highest mountain ranges radiate, including the Karakoram, Himalayas, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan, was known to early Persian geographers as Bam-i Dunya, or 'roof of the world'. They are the most interesting tourist destination in Tajikistan, but also the most physically (and mentally) challenging. Having said this, however, the rewards far outweigh the risks and inconveniences. The un-spoilt scenery is spectacular, Pamiri hospitality is legendary, the local people are unlike any other people on earth and they are more than generous in sharing their love of music and dancing, religious and secular, even with the most casual of visitors. As a virtually undiscovered tourist destination, the Pamirs offer a freshness no longer found in other locations that share similar natural advantages.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • In Dushanbe: Ismaili center, Gurminj museum of Musical instruments, Museum of national antiquities
  • Tajik Afghan border, views of Afghan villages across the border
  • Visiting Porshnev village to pay tribute to Nasir Khosraw fountain and Tasbih factory
  • Enjoying a day in a tiny yet very beautiful and calm city of Khorog, visiting the Jamaatkhana and meeting with Khalifa
  • Seeing one of the most successful development programmes ever implemented -(AKDN) Aga-Khan
  • Development Network projects site, Pamir energy, MSDSP - Mountain Societies Development Support Program
  • Enjoying the spectacular mountain scenery

TOUR FACTS

Approximate total distance - 1500 km

Max altitude - 3200 m

Duration - 10 nights / 10 days

Meal Plan - All included

Transportation - Comfortable 4x4 Land Cruisers or 4WD Vans

Accommodation: 8 nights hotels / 1 night homestay

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1 | Dushanbe
Welcome to Tajikistan!
On arrival at Dushanbe Airport, you will be met by our guide and transferred to the Dushanbe Serena Hotel for rest after the flight until afternoon. In the afternoon we will gather to have lunch and orientation. The rest of the day we will spend on exploring Dushanbe city. We will visit its central square with many monuments and fountains, the museum of national antiquities, where the famous Budha is sleeping, the old and new national tea houses, and closer to evening we
will visit the Dushanbe Ismaili center, have a short tour and make our prayers there. In the evening we will have dinner in the company of Aga Khan Development Network representative, who will tell us about the many projects of AKDN in Tajikistan. Due to arrival times of your flights, accommodation for the previous night is included in the tour cost. Overnight in Dushanbe Serena Hotel. BLD

Day 2 | Dushanbe - Kalai Khumb
After breakfast, we will set off east towards Pamirs. Our route will lay south first to Shurobod region, where we will join the Panj river (Oxus), which serves as the natural border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. We will have our traditional lunch in Kulob city, just before Shurobod. We will follow then Panj river up to Kalai Khumb town where we will stop for overnight. En route we will stop in Yoged village (one of the first Ismaili villages) for a cup of tea with local family. Overnight in Karon Palace. BLD, Approximate driving distance - 360 km

Day 3 | Kalai-Khumb- Khorog
Continue east to Khorog. After breakfast, we will visit the AKF/MSDSP irrigation project in Kalai Khumb and view the Ismaili villages across the river in Afghanistan. The road today continues along the Panj river passing Vanj and Rushan regions, we will ultimately get to Khorog, the capital of Pamirs. We will be able to observe more villages in Afghanistan today and see how people live there. While approaching Khorog we will stop by a Porshnev village to pay tribute to Nasir Khisraw fountain and visit the Tasbih factory. Overnight in Lal Inn. BLD
Approximate driving distance - 260 km

Day 5 Khorog:
Today we will explore Khorog, this will let us have some rest before and after the long drive to Dushanbe, also to acclimatize for the altitude. In the morning, we will visit the Khorog Botanical Gardens to see Khorog from above and later the University of Central Asia to learn about the courses, curriculums and the unique architecture of the university, you will have a chance to meet students learning English language and help them practice it. After the university, we will have lunch at Dashti Bolo in a local Khalifa’s house where you will learn more about the daily life of Pamiri people. After the lunch, we will drive to Porshnev village to visit Nasir Khisrav museum, where a freshwater spring also exists. Local people believe this spring is holy and attribute it to Nasir Khisrav. After the museum, we will come back to our hotel and have a rest until dinner at Serena Khorog Hotel.

Day 6 Khorog - Yamg:
We will resume driving further to the famous Wakhan valley today where we will be able to stop off along the way and have a look at the 2000-year-old fortresses that once guarded this branch of the Silk Road, called Yamchun fort and Kah-kaha. The fortresses built quite high up to dominate the surrounding valley. We will also visit a shrine decorated with Ibex and horns and bones. Closer to the evening after visiting Yamchun fortress, we will go to the famous Bibi Fatima hot spring and bath. Tonight we stay in a traditional Pamiri home in Yamg village.

Day 7 Yamg - Khorog:
After breakfast at the guesthouse we will visit the Mubarak-i Wakhani museum, also known as Mubarak Kadam Wakhani (1839-1903), was an Ismaili mystic poet, musician, astronomer, and Ismaili religious scholar. Near the museum, there is a stone pillar with a hole in it which was used to calculate a solar calendar. Further, we will drive back to Khorog stopping at Namadgut to visit the museum and Kahkaha fortress. Before leaving Ishkashim we will make another stop to see the Didar Place, where the Ismaili communities of Afghanistan Ishkashim and Tajikistan met with Aga Khan in 1998. Today we will have a late lunch at Chorbogh restaurant. Free time after lunch. We should get enough rest today after the lunch to be able to drive to Kulob tomorrow.

Day 8 Khorog - Kulob:
We will depart early in the morning. Today we will drive to Kulob passing Kalai Khumb. As usual, we will be stopping every 2 hours for a stretch up and rest. Having a light lunch in Khekhik we will continue to Patkunob resort, where we will make a stop for some rest and meals. The waters of the river and waterfall will give us some more energy to make it further to Kulob. We will arrive at Kulob late in the evening, take shower at the hotel and rest.

Day 9 Kulob - Dushanbe:
On our last day, we will drive back to Dushanbe in just 4 hours. We will stop by Hulbuk fortress to learn about the Hulbuk town and Khatlon region of Tajikistan which is located some 30 km from Kulob and continue driving to Dushanbe afterward. We will arrive Dushanbe afternoon, check in to the hotel and go for lunch. After the lunch, we will drive back to the Hotel for rest. Those who would like to do some extra activities like more shopping or visiting friends can do after we will arrive at the hotel. In the evening we will have a farewell dinner.

Day 10 Departure
Transfer to the airport early at 3 am. Goodbye Tajikistan!

Number of days: 10
Start Date: Aug 17, 2019
End Date: Aug 26, 2019
Included services:
Guide
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Accommodation (Hotel/Guesthouse)
Accommodation (Homestay)
Entrance tickets (e.g. museums, parks etc.)
Beverages (non-alcoholic)
Car (with driver)
Fuel, Petrol
Bus/Train tickets
Domestic flight tickets
Not included: Basically everything is included, except the expenses of personal character
What to bring: Sunglasses, Camera, hiking shoes, Sunscreen and face lotion with SPF
Transport: SUV 4x4
Start in (City): Dushanbe
End in (City): Dushanbe
Languages:
English
German
French
Spanish
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Russian
Other