Sasha & Son, Sufis and Summer Palace

We are staying at a Bed and Breakfast called Sasha & Son. It is located in the old Jewish area which still has alleys not large enough for cars – perfect for small hotels. The rooms are each unique, various sizes, no corridors as such. My room is 007, no kidding. It is in the second floor overlooking a pleasant central patio.

The mausoleum of Sufi mystic Bakahaudin Nakshbandi (no wonder I can’t remember all the names!) a 14th century founder of one order of Sufis contains along with a mosque added later, a hostel for visiting dervishes and a spiritual center.

Above is the pool in the Mausoleum sometimes used as part of a conversion practice.

In the late 19th century Bukhara was part of the “The Great Game” power struggle between the two super powers of the time, England and Russia. England had subdued India and were interned in extending their influence, Russia wanted to extend its reach as well. England sent an emissary and a letter from the Queen to invite the Emir and his family to become part of the aristocracy of England. However the Queen did not sign the letter, a secretary did, and the Emir who knew 6 languages asked to see the letter was incensed that some underling signed the proposal for the Queen. He had the man place in a deep pit filled with ticks – the slow death that was slow, painful and certain. But wait – another emissary came from England and in the end both were beheaded and the late arrival was chopped up as well.

The Russian gift to sweeten the take over deal was to build a new Summer Palace for the Emir which they did in the latest Russian style.

The Summer Palace is in a park complete with peacocks, now kept in an enclosure. The site was selected by chopping up a lamb in 4 pieces and having each piece sent out in the four directs from the existing palace, the one that was in the best shape the next day was the spot where the palace was located – or at least that s the story we got.

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On the planet in California

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