Kashgar is the place full of exotic atmosphere and unique taste so that it is provocative for people all over the world to pay a visit. I took the Chinese OX New Year Holiday to revisit Kashgar as a travel designer. The trip turns out to be more enjoyable for adding me new experiences and pleasant memory. I am sure after 2 times of lockdown due to covid-19, Xinjiang shows new looking to embrace tourists all over the world.
Day 1 11th Feb, 2021
Upon arriving in Kashgar city on the Eve of Chinese OX Year, I couldn't wait for visiting Id gar Mosque. I was surprised to find that many Uighur people were handing around at the Id gar Square when Chinese Han were having Family Eve Feast at table. Feel like they were so different from us Han.
Here Id gar Mosque was in front of me. Seen outside, the main body of it is goose yellow which looks warm and inviting. The gate is Uighur tower style with the height of 4.7 meters. Next to it are the two Islamic arc Minarets. I did enjoy watching them for a while, and closing my eyes to make a picture in my mind. Entering the gate, it shows me a large courtyard rich in Chinese traditional culture with plenty of trees are plants. I was introduced that left and right of the courtyard are chapels, lecture halls, and some private rooms.
Stepping on the side corridor of main chapel, I saw two rows of Islamic color of green pillars with seven meters high. The right top has exquisite wood carvings and colorful bath well patterns. They stand for peace and universe in Uighur culture. Indeed, they are very impressive. Id gar Mosque is the soul of the city and represents Uighur culture. It used not to be publicized, but now women are allowed to visit. I think it reacts to changes of time.
Day 2 12th Feb, 2021
On the second day without further touring Kashgar city, instead I decided to go Tashkurgan County for well-known the beautiful Pamirs.
Sitting in the car, I couldn't help looking out of the window along the Chinese-Paskistan Highway (or Karakoram Highway), feeling excited by the panorama of the Pamirs on the two sides of highway. First I saw the color gradient changes from ochre to red mountain in Aketao County 100 miles away from Kashgar city. Then followed by two mountains three mountains four mountains five mountains in various shapes and colors.
Mountains high sky far lakes beautiful them co-existing harmoniously. Mountains actually are referred to magnificent snow-covered Muztagh Peak, Gongge'er peak and Gongge'er Jiubie peak. Their silver color reflects in Karakul blue Lake, which make the lake alive and alluring. White-sand Lake is surrounded by light gray moving sand, but the sand tries extremely hard not to bury the lake. It is natural wonder.
Thanks to the lakes, they make the Pamirs soft.
At local time 17:30 around, I arrived in Tashkurgan County, homeland for Chinese Tajiks, 150kms away from Hongqilapu Port to Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. The county is tidy, quiet and charming as it used to be. I felt so good like first blind dating a right guy. He sit at a coffee table with a book waiting for me, which I've been long for so long.
In the early morning on next day, I got excited at visiting a local Tajik family. The family's house is just next to Aerjin Wetland with vast grass under light golden sunrise shining, creeks running through, and cows and sheep grazing at leisure forming a picturesque roll.
The family's yard is a palace to me living in a city tower. According to Tajik tradition, I was invited to sit on the bed with tempting Tajik snacks and nuts on a table. I felt a bit embarrassed for cross sitting, but it was fun. There are four people in the family. I supposed they are happy for living here. Hiking around Aerjin Wetland, breathing grass oxygen, and looking at snow-capped mountain to make life no disturbed.
Day 3 13th Feb, 2021
After the morning great trip of the Ruins of Stone City and Aerjin Wetland 1.5kms away the town , I felt so energetic and took the car back to Kashgar at noon, although I really did not want to leave. On the return way, I found the cloud hanging close on a snow-capped mountain following me for a while. That would be so nice if met someone companion on the traveling way to see mountains and lakes.
As planned, I would visit Apokh Hoja Tomb half hour away from Old Town of Kashgar by bus. It was such a coincidence that the day fells on Valentine's Day. The owner of the tomb was a beautiful Uighur princess who married Great Emperor Ganlong in 1760 around, and had a happy life. Thus the tomb complex was full of love atmosphere for one side, and Uighur culture on the other side.
In my eyes, the tomb is retro and gorgeous with four corners standing four huge brick circular columns. It is said that the ceramic tiles on the columns have a history of 300 years, and they make the tomb shining and fabulous. I like watching them. The main mausoleum is a tall building with oval vault and a Islamic crescent. Inside there are tombs.
In the afternoon, I went to Wukusake Village in Shufu County 19kms away from Kashgar city. I'd like to experience how local people to make Uighur folk musical instruments by their hands such as Dutar, Rewap, tambourine, etc. As I saw an Uighur middle-aged man use a chisel to carve the patterns on the head of a Dutar bit by bit, I immediately wanted to buy one. It doesn't matter I don't know how to play. It matters if the traditional handcraft would not be passed down.
My revisting Kashgar tour is going to end. Time flied so quickly that I did not think I could leave like this without one more time hanging around Old Town, well known for preserved-adored residential complex enriched Uighur culture. At anywhere in Old Town, you will never have the feeling of being alone. Either you see kids play around happily, or craftsman are making bronze wares and they are friendly of talking with tourists, as if here nothing has changed but everything is changing.
My revisting Kashgar tour is going to end. Time flied so quickly that I did not think I could leave like this without one more time hanging around Old Town, well known for preserved-adored residential complex enriched Uighur culture. At anywhere in Old Town, you will never have the feeling of being alone. Either you see kids play around happily, or craftsmen are making bronze wares and they are friendly of talking with tourists, as if here nothing has changed but everything is changing.
Day 5 15th Feb, 2021
As writing the blog, I think of the idea that "Read thousands of books. Travel thousands of miles" -- Confucius. I agree. Traveling is a way of learning and experiencing. So wish whoever read the blog would make the trip soon. Last I gotta to tell everyone is required to apply for traveling permission including localness. As the treasure of the ancient Silk Route, Kashgar is very worth to visit for its stunning scenery, charming culture, profound history and folklore. All passengers have to obtain the travel permit in prior. We will prepare the travel permit for you so that you will have a great Xinjiang Holiday. Welcome to Xinjiang, we are waiting for you in our hometown.