Silk Road 5: More Kashgar; Xinjiang, China

By Ali Karim
This post is part of a series called Silk Road China May 2016
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The Id Kha mosque was built in 1442 and has been repaired/renovated and fixed up many times over the years (see plaque). The mosque can hold 10,000 worshippers at a time. The mosque building itself is small (several hundred worshippers); but the grounds of the mosque are huge, and there were mats that get rolled out to allow thousands to pray at the mosque on its nice courtyard areas, with shady trees. It used to have Madrassas, but now they do not as the Chinese Govt does not allow this anymore. Outside, at the entrance to the mosque, is also a huge open area where people can pray (overflow). A very peaceful and nice place to visit.

silk-road-5-image01Id Kha mosque and huge square in front of it


silk-road-5-image03Interior entrance to actual mosque for the mosque grounds

silk-road-5-image04Mosque prayer hall entrance

silk-road-5-image05Inside prayer hall; very simple and spartan

silk-road-5-image06Very simple mosque inside


silk-road-5-image08Lots of space outside prayer hall for thousands of followers

silk-road-5-image09Grounds of the mosque

Uyghur family outside mosque

silk-road-5-image10Internal courtyards that hold many more faithful

silk-road-5-image11Huge entrance doors of the Id Kha mosque

After the mosque, I had to get my obligatory haircut; all of $1.50 for a clean cut.  They close crop the hair in Uyghur land, so I should not need to go to a barber for some 6 weeks :). Not bad for $1.50 without bargaining

Info Get an Obligatory clean Haircut for $1.50

Then, we visited the Akbah Khoja Tomb Mausoleum. This was a famously infamous person. He had a large muslim following (wise man, so famous), but he ran afoul of the local Uyghur king, and so was banished. He fled to neighboring Tibet, and convinced the king there that he could help him conquer Uyghur land, with the help of his loyal followers there. So the Tibetans conquered the Uyghur kingdom and Akbah Khoja came back (now infamous for Uyghur kingdom). The mausoleum is where he and his multiple family members are buried. Outside this area, is a huge cemetery with hundreds of people buried there to be near this man. There are also madrassas and a mosque on these grounds.  This is also reputed to be the resting place of the “fragrant concubine” who was actually the Uyghur wife of a Chinese dynasty king (marriage arranged for keeping good relations with the Uyghurs)

silk-road-5-image12Entrance to Akbah Khoja Tomb Mausoleum

silk-road-5-image13Mausoleum, with 72 members of his family buried inside

silk-road-5-image14Huge graveyard outside the Mausoleum where his followers wanted to be buried

We also visited the Grand Bazaar where we got our Uyghur hat souvenirs and bought dried fruits and nuts for our journeys ahead. Plenty of dried/roasted apricot seeds here, and not at all bitter.


silk-road-5-image16Food stalls outside the Grand Bazaar

silk-road-5-image17Motorcycles are the primary mode of transportation; and there are all electric motorcycles.

Hard Bread; to dunk in chai, straight from the tandoor

silk-road-5-image18Grand Bazaar; Outside and Inside

Next, we headed for lunch at a Pakistani restaurant; hopefully to meet some Tajik’s (Ismailis). The restaurant serves Tajik and Pakistani food, run by a Uyghur lady named Gulbahaar. She served us some Daal, Palak, Roti and Tajik Tea. Tajik tea was interesting, it came with Yak milk (more milky), and had salt added instead of sugar :). We met some Pakistani’s there, and one Tajik Ismaili (Saddurdin) who spoke some urdu that we could understand, but not completely. Some things got lost in translation. He hailed from Tashkurgan and was going there the next day.

silk-road-5-image19At Pakistani food restaurant in Kashgar. Note my Porche parked next to the restaurant 🙂

silk-road-5-image20Tajik tea (milky, and with salt instead of sugar)

silk-road-5-image21With Gulbahaar, the owner

Then we headed to the true old old town. This area has many dilapidated houses what were not touched by the Chinese. Met locals as we walked along the small winding gulley’s. Dilshad spotted a woman in a house making Uyghur hats for women, Asked her if we could visit the next home as it seemed interesting, and she simply took us to the neighbor’s house. There were several women there, and a couple of kids, who cordially invited us into their home. Very basic home, made of mud adobe and straw, and wood. But clean and nice. Sat on the ubiquitous divan, and after some chitchat, (via Ablimit, our guide) they brought out a water pot and basin, and we washed our hands 3 times, and dried our hands on a towel of the house provided. This is Uyghur custom, and it is bad manners to shake the water off your hands since the water may get onto others around you. Then the ladies brought out black tea (tea leaves, light) and hard bread to drink/eat. After chitchat and more tea, we left their house. What a wonderful experience.

Entering real old town


silk-road-5-image24Old town scenes

silk-road-5-image25This entrance attracted Dilshad to ask to visit this home

Neighbor embroidering an Uyghur hat to sell

silk-road-5-image26Clean hands 3 times

silk-road-5-image27Sitting and chatting

Lady of the house serving us black tea and hard bread. So very nice of them to invite us and share their home with us

silk-road-5-image29With the full family

Simple home; very hospitable people

Kitchen; note the stove

Washing area

Kids playing in old old town

silk-road-5-image30Shy baby

Basic housing for some

silk-road-5-image31Clowning with a friendly local shopkeeper

silk-road-5-image32Local pottery maker with his son

Working pottery, several hundred years old

Hot Chai was always ready and available everywhere. Charcoal burning simple small stove, pot on the top, and exhaust chimney.

Walkway into Old town

silk-road-5-image33Gulleys in the old town

silk-road-5-image34More real old town scenes

silk-road-5-image35Real old town from the outside

Example of Uyghur architecture

After more old old town walking, we went through some local “industries”.


silk-road-5-image37Metal Work

silk-road-5-image38Wood Steamers

silk-road-5-image39More metalwork

A musical instrument making store (short video of Uyghur music)

silk-road-5-image40Musical Instruments

And another more modern tea house

silk-road-5-image41100yr old Tea House

Senior Citizen people watching

Tea House

silk-road-5-image42Worlds problems solved

We shared tea with these 2 gentlemen

silk-road-5-image43Tea house with a patio

Street life

Street life

Scooters everywhere; all were electric scooters

Street life

Went for dinner at a popular Uyghur restaurant (Altun Orda crowded with locals and some tourists) and ran into the Goudy’s who we became friends with in Turpan; what a coincidence.


silk-road-5-image45With the Goudy’s

After dinner, back to the hotel for an early morning ride to Tashkurgan, near the Tajik and Pakistan border.

A most enjoyable day

silk road 6 next

This entry was posted in Asia, China, Silk Road China May 2016

6 thoughts on “Silk Road 5: More Kashgar; Xinjiang, China

  • Pingback: Silk Road 4: Kashgar, Xinjiang, China - Ali Karim Travelog

  • Pingback: Silk Road 6: Tashkurgan, Xinjiang province, China - Ali Karim Travelog

  • Gharib Hanif January 15, 2018 at 8:34 pm Reply

    You are very lucky to have undertaken this jorney. Well done and all the best for the future.

    • Ali Karim January 16, 2018 at 9:26 am Reply

      THanks for the feedback and the good wishes; yes, we are indeed blessed to be able to travel to off the beaten path places.

  • berry May 10, 2017 at 12:40 pm Reply

    I was more than happy to find this site. I need to to thank
    you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely loved
    every part of it and I have you saved to fav to look at
    new information in your web site.

    • Ali Karim August 12, 2017 at 7:55 pm Reply

      THanks Berry, so glad you found my travelog through Xinjiang esp Kashgar, China, so useful.

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