Trans Eurasia travel

Your virtual guide to Eurasia! Let's travel together!


Tajikabad is 50 km from Gharm, on a reasonable road that follows the right bank of the Vakhsh. Tojikobod is an altogether more satisfying town, and a better place to overnight, than Gharm. It is on the opposite side of the river from the main road. Here the views of the saw-toothed peaks are particularly fine. The town is the centre of a fertile agricultural area. There are two guesthouses, one belonging to MSDSP and a larger, more comfortable government guesthouse (both $).

Near the town are two interesting shrines. Neither of the shrines is particularly elaborate, and women are not permitted to enter. The Mazor-i Fathabad is about 1 km from the centre. It commemorates an 18th-century Sufi holy man, or Ishan, of the eighteenth century, famous for his good works. The shrine, which is surrounded by a graveyard, is not very impressive, but the views through trees to the high peaks are stunning. Women are not allowed beyond the gateway to the graveyard. There is a local curator.

The second shrine to Hazrat-i Bir Pustin (also commemorates a Sufi saint who gave away his worldly possessions) is by the river, about 200 m from the Hukumat office. (Going west, take the first right, and then right again). This saint also lived in the eighteenth century. He began to live the good life, after being told to do so by his father's spirit. His name means "One Coat" in Kyrgyz. He gave away all his worldly goods, keeping only one leather coat. According to legend, this coat would grow wool in the winter, and shed it in the summer. The mausoleum is a small structure with a simple grave inside. There are guardians who will open the building, but women cannot enter. It is customary for the guardians to ask you to join them in prayer when visiting these places, and a donation is expected in return. You are bound to be offered tea.

There are a number of beauty spots around the town. Seven km away up to the east of the town a small valley is Dara-i Nushor. It is exceptionally beautiful, particularly in the late spring, and is home to a substantial amount of wildlife. There is a guesthouse close to the village, where it is possible to stay, with permission from the Hukumat. The accommodation is basic, but there is electricity, and a pool with a fountain.

There is a local supply of good quality coal, which is mined at 4,000 m, but can only be mined and transported out in July and August, because this is the only time the road is open.

People will speak of the horrors of the civil war, when travel was very dangerous. Drivers were the unsung heroes, who put their lives at risk whenever they ventured on to the roads. Juma Namangani had a farm near the town. He and his followers travelled through the area, staying in choikhonas where people were sympathetic. The former manager of a collective farm told us how Namangani had demanded food for his followers, in spite of their being virtually none for the local people, a modern echo of the basmachi.