This complete 12-day tour will introduce you to the Zoroastrian and Buddhist cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has long been a diverse region, with many religions coexisting side by side. Some historians even think that Zoroastrianism originated in the oases of Khorezm, but no matter its origins, this religion has long been a spiritual center. Buddhism also played a vital role in the development no the Termez region, not far away. From the 1st through the 7th centuries AD, Termez was at the center of Buddhism in Central Asia, with a bustling monastery. This tour will take you to all of the major sights in Uzbekistan, including Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand, plus some less-popular destinations, such as Nukus and Termez. The Zoroastrianism and Buddhism Tour is a great introduction to the spiritual history of Uzbek
Uzbekistan Buddhism Tour descriptions
1 person – no discount 2 persons – 10% discount 3 persons – 20% discount 4 persons and up – 30% discount
All transfers 1-2 pax by sedan type car; 3-7 pax by minivan type car; 8-13 pax by 30 seat bus, 14 pax and more by 40-50 seat bus; Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included; Sightseeing tour program in each city with local guides (except for city tour in Nukus and trip to fortresses of Ancient Khorezm); Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary; Full board (lunches and dinners); Economy class tickets for flights Tashkent-Termez, Nukus-Tashkent; Visa support letter for Uzbekistan visa.
Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour; Hotel charges for additional services; Consular fees for Uzbekistan tourist visa; Tips are not included, but would be appreciated; Travel insurance.
In the seventh century A.D., a Buddhist monk, Xuanzang, visited Central Asia on his way from China to India. Later, he reported that Buddhism appeared to be thriving in the region, with hundreds of temples and thousands of monks. One place in particular stood out in Xuanzang’s recollections — the ancient city of Termez, located on the banks of the Amu Darya River.
Just across the border from Afghanistan, the town of Termez has the sites of two major stupas, dated between the 1st and 3rd century AD — Kara-Tepe and Fayaz-Tepe. The ruins show that both were major monastic centres.
The Fayaz Tepa site consists of a rectangular building complex with a stupa, a dome-shaped shrine containing sacred Buddhist relics. The walls of the sanctuary and parts of the central court bear the remains of mural paintings.
Several other Buddhist monuments have been discovered in the surroundings of ancient Termez. Kara Tepa, a complex of Buddhist monastic and ritual structures, and the 16-meter high Zurmala tower, the largest Buddhist stupa remaining in the region, are among the most attractive. Kara-Tepe has vast and extensive ruins and must have housed a large number of monks. This is the same period of time when the great Indian Pandit Kumarayana would have traveled on the Silk Route, from Kashmir past here to Urumqi (now in China), where he married Princess Jiva of Kucha. Their son Kumarajiva went on to become the greatest name in Buddhism in China. Travelling through Uzbekistan reminds one of the great romances of the exchange of philosophic and aesthetic ideas in the ancient times.
The excavations of such sites has lent valuable insight into the culture of the region’s former Buddhist community with the discovery of sculptures, paintings, and building inscriptions. Many of these historic relics have been gathered at the Surkhandar’ya Regional Museum of Termez, and the Museum of the History of the Peoples of Uzbekistan in Tashkent. Excavation work at the sanctuary of Fayaz Tepa has turned up one of the most celebrated pieces of early Central Asian art: a limestone sculpture showing the Buddha in meditation with disciples.
Arrive in Tashkent. You will be met by our driver and transferred to the hotel. Check in to the hotel at noon. Guided tour in Tashkent: visit History Museum to explore vast collection of artifacts related to Zoroastrian and Buddhist period in Uzbekistan. Continue to archaeological site of Ming Urik, visit Old City part of Tashkent with Chorsu Bazaar, Independence Square, Amir Timur Square in the center of Tashkent. Overnight at the hotel. Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours
Continue guided tour in Termez. Drive north-east to see Kampyr-Tepe – Greco-Bactrian Kingdom fortress (35 km, 1 h.). Then visit Jarkurgan Minaret (30 km, 50 min.). Drive back to Termez, on the way enjoy views of Surkhan oasis and Friendship Bridge, which connects Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Visit Archaeology Museum to explore exhibits discovered on the territory of Termez and its surroundings. Overnight at the hotel. Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 4: Termez – Samarkand
In the morning depart Termez for Samarkand (375 km, 5h. 26 min.). Arrive in Samarkand late in the afternoon. Check-in to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Samarkand
Visit Gur-Emir Mausoleum, famous Registan Square, and Bibi Khanum Mosque. Continue to Afrasiab Museum & archaeological site – a hilly area of 212 hectares surrounded by a moat. Archaeologists presently conduct excavations on the site. The Afrasiab Museum displays the model of ancient city and fortress walls, pottery, weaponry, coinage, altars and most of all the mural painting of the 7th century. Overnight at the hotel. Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 6: Samarkand – Bukhara
In the morning depart to Bukhara (280 km, 4 h.). Stop on the way at Caravanserai Rabat-i-Malik dating back to 11th century. Arrive in Bukhara late in the afternoon, drive to Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa – the summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir. Then head to the Mausoleum of Bakhouddin Naqshbandi. Overnight at the hotel. Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours
In the morning depart Bukhara and drive to Khiva (480 km, 7-8 h.*). The Great Silk Road once routed through Bukhara and Khiva ran through the Kyzylkum Desert, as the present road does nowadays**. Stop en-route to enjoy views of Amudarya river and the desert. Arrive in Khiva late in the afternoon, check in to the hotel. Time for rest and overnight at the hotel. *Since there is only one cafe on the way, you might want to consider preparing a packed lunch before this trip. **Some parts of the road are not in the best condition.
This day you’ll have the journey to the Ancient Khorezm. Visit the fortress of Toprak-Kala – residence of ancient Khorezm rulers, and Gyaur-Kala – meaning infidel fortress, Koykirilgan-Kala. Then continue to one of the largest fortresses of Ancient Khorezm – Ayaz-Kala, II century AD, relevant to the period of Kushan Empire prosperity. Ayaz-Kala was neither a city nor a settlement, it was a fortress complex where nearly 19 centuries ago boundary groups of Kushan dynasty settled down.
Day 11: Ayaz-Kala – Nukus – Tashkent
After breakfast drive to Nukus via Shylpyk-Kala – hill of silence or Zoroastrian dakhma. Arrive in Nukus. Transfer to the the Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum*. The museum hosts the world's second largest collection of Russian avant-garde art and exposition of Karakalpak applied arts items. Have a short drive around center of Nukus: see statue of Karakalpak poet Berdakh, Nukus City Hall, and Drama Theatre. In the evening transfer to the airport for flight to Tashkent (1255 km, 2 h. 45 min.). Arrive in Tashkent. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel. Meals: breakfast *Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum is closed on Mondays.
Day 12: Tashkent – departure
Check out from the hotel till noon. Transfer to the airport. End of the tour.
No Credit Cards required. Book With Flexibility. If your plans change, you can easily change the date or cancel the tour.