We reached at 11:30 PM and started the preparing barbeque. The bonfire and alcohol helped us tackle the cold temperature.
We could smell the un-burned gas at a particular spot near the crater. It is better to stay away from this spot as this gas is bit poisonous and may affect your health if exposed for a prolong duration.
We left at 5:00 AM in the morning from Door to Hell and started the return journey back to Ashgabat.
I would like to give some tips if you are travelling from India.
• The best and cheapest way to reach Turkmenistan is by Turkmenistan Airlines from New Delhi or via Dubai. The flights are weekly twice or thrice and keep changing frequently. There is no online booking facility for Turkmenistan Airlines. You need to go down to their office at the Airport to book the tickets or contact their office for booking over the telephone.
• Flights from Dubai are operated by Flydubai which are also available weekly twice or thrice.
• Visa is stamped on arrival. Visa application shall be done the tour company in Turkmenistan. The tour company shall provide you Letter of Invitation. Carry this letter of Invitation to the Visa office at the Airport and get the visa stamped on your passport.
• Visa charges are $ 119 excluding service charges of Tour Company.
The local food preferred is “plov”. That is meat with rice. You can easily find kebabs (shaslik), pide etc in restaurants. There are some restaurants that provide Biryani as well and I was quite surprise to see that.
Do try the Caesar salad which was one of the preferred salads during my stay.
Do and Don’t’:
• Taking photo of Government buildings is prohibited. They say that white buildings are Government buildings but to my surprise all building in Ashgabat are white buildings. The building hoisted with the national flags is government building. Avoid taking photos at the Airport.
• Never enter the car with a stranger. If you travel here thru a tours and travels make sure that no outsiders are allowed in the car.
• English speaking people are barely available. The tour and travel company employs translators which are your only source for communication with the locals.
• Relatively the crime rate is low here but it is always better to safe than sorry.
• People in Turkmenistan like Bollywood and Indians a lot. They have a huge respect for Indians.
• Sexual relationships with the locals shall put you in jail and fine of $5,000, if caught. Also there is chance of getting deported from the country.
• Lots of people will gather around you for taxi (if they seem you are lost) at the Airport. Politely reply them “Nyet. Spaciba” (No, thanks in Russian) and they will stop bothering you.
• The local network TM Cell will not support for International roaming except Airtel users are able to connect and access cellular network.
If anyone is planning to visit this place, do message me, I can help you with some people in Turkmenistan who can arrange this trip for you.
History of Darvaza Crater :
In 1971, when the Soviets were drilling for natural gas, they accidentally tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground underneath it collapsed and a huge crater was formed with approx. 70 mtrs. Diameter. The crater emitted poisonous gas and the Geologists proposed to burn it off. They expected that this fire will fuel up the gas within a matter of days; however the crater is still burning as on today.
Hence the locals termed this Darvaza crater as “Door to Hell”
Disclamer : The Author does not support and promote consumption of alcohol. Do not consider this post as an encouragement to consume alcohol.