The first thing I noticed on my Uzbekistan Trip, standing in Immigration Line of Tashkent International Airport was the gold teeth of some of the Uzbeki local populace. That got me intrigued and I asked my Tour Leader Jayanti about it. She said that this was very common practice for people of Uzbekistan and sometimes whole sets of teeth are in gold! That got me really curious and apart from all the stunning monuments & breathtaking natural beauty I photographed, one of my obsessions became clicking the ‘golden smiles of Uzbeki People’.
Sharing some of the beautiful, warm and ‘golden’ smiles of people of Uzbekistan, they were most gracious to be clicked by me.
We met this sweet Old Lady on our first evening in Tashkent and she spoke so warmly about the India Uzbeki people know and love – Raj Kapoor, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Nehru
One of the first ladies who obliged me with their smiles and wanted to know about India – in Khiva.
The gentleman in Khiva who gave me a warm smile and also chatted with me on knowing that I was from ‘Hindustan’
The Tea & Coffee Lady at Ugrench Airport; she was really busy at the counter but still smiled for me.
While discussing with our local tour guide Nikki on the practice of having gold teeth. She told that its considered a mark of stature to be able to have golden teeth and the practice started during Russian era (i.e. USSR times) when personal wealth was not allowed so if people had some amount of stature or position in life, investing in golden teeth was a way to show that stature. I found it very interesting (and logical for people under communist regime).
Not only were the smiles ‘golden’ but the people of Uzbekistan were warm and welcoming to us. Everywhere we went, we were greeted with warmth and there was happy curiosity about knowing where we were from and there was such happiness when they learnt were were from ‘Hindustan’.
One of my nice moments during the trip definitely was interacting with Uzbeki people for capturing their ‘golden smiles’.