It’s the 12th day of Team Auto Bild India’s Great Overland Adventure. They are crossing over to Kazakhstan – a land full of surprises and one that mesmerises with its unmatched scenic beauty.
On the morning of the 12th day, the first scenic spot the team visited on their way to Almaty, was Lake Balkhash, the 13th largest continental lake next to the town by the same name. This lake is as large – nearly 600 miles, as it is scenic and as scenic as it is interesting, with one half of it holds fresh water and the other saline salty water. The Crystal blue of the sky as it reflected on this clear calm surface was one of most peaceful sights the team had seen so far.
The next stop as they drove on to reach Almaty, was a road side cafe just 75 km from destination. After days of hot dos and sandwiches the scrumptious kebabs served hot off the charcoal fire, was just what the team needed before they took the wheel again to reach Almaty in high traffic time at end of day.
Almaty is a big beautiful town surrounded by mountains and snow peaks just on the outskirts. It was the earlier capital of Kazakhstan and the city is still bubbling with people. Our Team visited Kok tobe or Green Hill, a mountain just off the city that offered magnificent views of the Tien Shan mountain range and the city itself. The visitors were amused to find that Kok Tobe was home to not just the city’s most iconic landmark – the Almaty Tower but also a small zoo and an amusement park.
After a beautiful drive through scenic serpentine roads, it was now time to cross the border and enter Kyrgyz Republic. The immigration weary team wanted to reach the border town Bishkek without spending too much time with the border security. Hassles of immigration braved and they discovered the immense power of Bollywood. A friendly border security guard came to their rescue three hours later in exchange of a small favour, to deliver his wishes to his favorite hero, Mithun Chakraborty. Finally they were in the town of Bishkek.
Statue of Manas, considered the father of Kyrgyz Republic is the most prominent thing to see in Ala-too, the main town square in Bishkek. Some quick stats the team found, Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyz Republic, with a population of just five million. Manas, united 40 local tribes to form the core movement and this is represented adequately in the national flag with forty sun rays. Just outside the city, on their way out the team discovered a huge used car market, with makes and models from around the world with heavy discount for unusual models, estimated to be one of the largest of its kind in the world. It is now time to refresh history – The Silk route. A very important part of history of the region is lying East of this point.
Our team takes the part of route that rises and falls, moves in and out through mountain veins and takes them to Naryn, their destination for the night. With beautiful scenery but poor roads, the team was accompanied by various tribes on horseback for their entire journey and they were surprised to find Mithun Da, the Bollywood Star of yester years, is still a rage here in a remote corner of earth far from India. If nothing else, this discovery on this journey is worth the pains the team has undertaken while being on road for non stop fourteen days.
Watch this space for Part 4 of their journey as they plan to follow the footsteps of medieval entrepreneurs like Marco Polo and cross over to China.
(A Team at Auto Bild India set out on an adventurous trip driving cross continent in a Mercedes Benz GLA. Their aim – to travel from Germany to India by road. At Krimson Kraft, we are proud to have been associated with this journey as their official travel partners. This is third in a series of blogs that will capture highlights of this Great Overland Adventure, as it was called. You could read a detailed account of this adventurous journey on the links below.)