Afghanistan-- unexplored beauty

Tripoto
14th Jul 2016
Photo of Afghanistan-- unexplored beauty by Shiva Kumar Bashetti

when you plan any tour or adventure i am sure that afghanistan never strikes your mind.

in recent times its natural beauty is shadowed by other news.The obvious question as a traveller is of course: is it safe? No! Can it be travelled? Yes, but only if you come very well prepared, know the risks and are prepared to accept them. If you are dead set on visiting this country be aware that this is not a “normal” country. When I say be prepared, I mean you should know and check and re-check the current security situation. Visit Afghanistan forums, security platforms and, if possible, talk to people who have been there recently or are there currently. Listen to the advice given and be prepared to give up on your plans if it turns out they are unfeasible. Be flexible. The situation in the country is fluid; safe areas turn dangerous, dangerous areas can become more secure.

But if you go, or if the situation changes for the better you will be well rewarded. Below are some of the highlights of Afghanistan.

Where to start? This is a war-zone, be aware of that! As mentioned earlier, do your research on the country and the current situation before even contemplating going there. I can’t stress this enough!

Unless you are totally certain that the road is safe, fly! Take internal flights to get to where you want to go. Roadside bombings are a real risk, as are kidnappings, firefights and landmines.

There are no safe places anywhere in Afghanistan, only “safer” places. As a general rule, the north is slightly more secure than the south. Again this means nothing as insurgents can and do strike at will even in the north, and sometimes it can seem that the north is more dangerous than the south. The safest part of the country is probably the Wakhan Corridor, which can be reached via Tajikistan, but even there, get the latest information on the security situation before going!

Grow a beard, wear traditional clothing, and blend in as much as possible. Not everybody does it, but it probably will make you feel safer and it does reduce the risk. Standing out makes you an easy target. If somebody intent on doing harm has to look twice to recognize you as a foreigner you have already halved your chances of it happening.

The main languages spoken in Afghanistan are Dari and Pathan, and everybody will love you if you speak a few words of either.

Lastly, be wary, but don’t be too wary. Not all Afghans are terrorists; in fact Afghans are probably the friendliest folk in the region. Talk to them and get to know them, you won’t be disappointed!

Photo of Afghanistan by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Afghanistan by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Afghanistan by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Afghanistan by Shiva Kumar Bashetti

Once a stopping point along the Silk Road between China and the Middle East, researchers think Bamiyan was the site of monasteries housing as many as 5,000 monks during its peak as a Buddhist center in the 6th and 7th centuries.

Artisans in the region were influenced by the Greek civilization that was established hundreds of years earlier in northern Afghanistan by Alexander the Great. Researchers think the cross-pollination of European and Asian influences led Bamiyan to be the place where some of the first statues were created that show the face of Buddha. Previously, Buddha had been represented by artists as a footprint or an umbrella.

Another significant discovery this year at Bamiyan was made by Japanese researchers who found that many murals in the caves near the standing Buddhas contained oil-based paint. With the paintings dated to about 650 A.D., the discovery reversed common perceptions about the origins of oil paintings -- which previously were thought to have emerged in Europe hundreds of years later.

Photo of Afghanistan-- unexplored beauty by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Afghanistan-- unexplored beauty by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
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