Silk Route Market Cities Today

The ancient silk route has been one of the greatest trade routes connecting east and west Eurasia. The ancient cities in the ancient world have still retained their prominence in defining world trade across the land. The surrounding desert and large swathes of inhospitable lands make the Silk Road and its cities an ideal location for resting and trade with locals. Also, most of these cities are crossroads and junctions to travel to various locations. From the strategic and commercial point of view, we have listed here some cities that ruled the trade for thousands of years since the advent of civilization.

Now let us travel from east to west along the silk route and visit the important towns along the Silk Route, which has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

1)Xi’an, China

Xi’an, at the far eastern end of the Silk Route, is one of the four ancient capitals of China. Xi’an is located strategically right at the centre of China and forms a junction of different religious and ethnic cultures of ancient China. Not to forget, Xi’an is still a major Chinese tourist hotspot and serves as a stop for tourists visiting anywhere in central and west China.

2)Delhi, India

Delhi, the capital of India is right at the junction of crossroads in India. Delhi is also the crossroads of cultures in India where Mughal influence mixes beautifully with Rajput, Punjabi, Marwari, UP as well as pahari influence. It is also a major hub of tourism and is the administrative centre of India. Delhi is also one of the oldest cities of India, and the seat for various major kingdoms and empires in India. The nearby city of Mathura is also an important Silk Route city.

3)Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan, is also a major trading hub connecting the Silk route between China and the Arabian Sea. The ancient university of Takshashila lies near the city and was an important stop for pilgrims from Central Asia. Today, Lahore is an important market city and a tourist destination visited by almost every tourist coming to Pakistan.

4)Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Osh is another city in the fertile Fergana Valley which served as a centre of trade since ancient times. Proximity to the border with Uzbekistan makes it a major centre of trade even today. Osh market is still one of the biggest in Central Asia, where a mixed population of Central Asians live.

5)Khujand, Tajikistan

Fertile lands of the Fergana Valley served as a major stop for Silk Route traders, and Khujand is one of the best-preserved sites among them. Khujand is not only a centre of travel but also is a centre of trade between Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries owing to proximity.

6)Turkistan, Kazakhstan

Turkistan lies in south Kazakhstan and was once an important trade outpost on the Silk Route. It still is a major tourist hub of tourists visiting Kazakhstan due to its historic monuments, including Khoja Ahmed Yassavi Mausoleum. Turkestan has grown as an important trading hub and a crossroad marketplace in the modern world.

7)Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The city of Samarkand, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the oldest continuously lived cities in Central Asia. It gained importance for its strategic location and served as a crossroads of various cultures and ethnic groups for centuries.
The Registan, the squares, the markets, the mosques, the gardens, and most importantly, its hospitality and friendly people make it one of the most significant tourist destinations in the world.

8)Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic city centre of Bukhara served as the resting station along the silk route. Bukhara is known for its carpet industry as well as the spice trade. The great minaret, the ark, the pond, and the main bazaar, all served as a centre of tourist attraction along the silk route.

9)Khiva, Uzbekistan

The border town of Khiva is also the hotspot of tourist activity owing to its inner town or Itchan Kala, a World Heritage Site. Khiva is also an important stop along the silk route near the border with Turkmenistan which handles a significant land trade along the ancient Silk Route. Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva form the trio of jewels of Central Asia.

10)Merv, Turkmenistan

The ruins of Merv, one of the ancient capital cities and a major hub of trade, are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though the city has been abandoned and currently lies in ruins, it is still one of the best-preserved in the Silk Route. The nearby city of Mary serves as the main marketplace and commercial hub of trade in modern-day Turkmenistan today.

11)Tehran, Iran

The capital of Iran, Tehran also lies along the ancient Silk Route. Ray, a suburb of Tehran has been found to contain ruins of an ancient city flourishing as a stopover of tourists. Tehran largely grew around the old city and is now the seat of the throne of the Iran kingdom. Tehran lies at crossroads to various historic and cultural places of Iran. It also acts as a bridge between the maritime routes in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.

12)Erbil, Iraq

Erbil is inhabited since antiquity, since ancient Mesopotamian civilizations. The modern city of Erbil lies in the north-east part of Iraq, and is the main city of Kurdish people. Erbil continues to prosper owing to its importance in trade and tourism and its strategic location as a crossroad city. With time, Erbil has matched up with the modern society and is today on of the most modern towns of Iraq.

13)Damascus, Syria

Damascus is possibly the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, inhabited at least 9000 BC. From ancient civilizations to the modern era, Damascus has never lost its importance as the cultural capital of the world. The large markets of Damascus, ancient architecture and its religious importance attracts millions of tourists each year. Being the capital of Syria, it is the seat of administration of modern-day Syria, though to many people Damascus is still the capital of the world.

14)Istanbul, Turkey

Founded by Roman Emperor Constantine, Istanbul is strategically the most important city in the world. It lies on the Bosphorus Strait, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. The city lies in both Europe and Asia continents and serves as a bridge of trade activities. The Hagia Sophia and other mosques, the central market, and the historic city centre all are major tourist attractions in the world. Istanbul is still the biggest centre of cultural and trade activities not only for Turkey but also for major parts of the world.

15)Rome, Italy

Usually considered at the western end of the Silk Road, Rome was the capital of the ancient Roman Empire, and has seen growth during the medieval and modern era as an important centre of civilization. Even today, its importance as sharing cultural, economic and religious aspects has continued to grow, and is still one of the most popular tourist destination around the world. Rome and Italy are still an icon to the rest of the world in terms of cultural activities, architecture and paintings, and most importantly cuisine.

Which of these have you visited or you want to visit? Let us know in the comment section below.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Sugar-free Mangoes – The New Trend

Mangoes are the favourite fruit of most people around the globe. However, it is disheartening for diabetic people who don’t consume it due to its high sugar content. It is true that mango has high sugar content. Many businesses have cropped in selling diabetic mangoes that are claimed to be good for health. That is quite good, as mangoes are really a superfood, good for health and very tasty at the same time. But does that mean diabetic patients have to rely only on sugar-free mangoes? Let’s discuss this in this article.

Every Indian household buys mangoes during summer. Mango in India is a seasonal fruit, which is available only in the summer season. Hence, most cultures of India represent the summer season with mangoes. However, today’s health-conscious world has associated mangoes with sugary fruits and carbs, which will increase your blood sugar level. It has been speculated so much into people’s minds that many people have stopped eating mangoes and went for expensive imported fruits, thinking that they are a miracle compared to mangoes.

It is time to bust these myths. Mangoes are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which strengthens the immune system. Mangoes have a significant quantity of B vitamins, vitamin A, potassium and magnesium that promotes heart health, and are actually good for maintaining sugar level in blood. Mangoes are considered a superfood in many countries around the world where mangoes are exported to developed countries like the US and the UK.

Sugar-free mangoes are a new trend nowadays. Despite several advantages, mangoes are looked upon as sugary fruits, that contains a large number of carbs, and carbs are today treated as more harmful than artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners. As a remedy comes sugar-free mangoes that are presented as a miracle food for diabetic patients and weight watchers.

Any food having a glycemic index of 55 or less are considered low-sugar food. Mangoes have a glycemic index of 51. Thus mangoes are considered good for sugar patients. Glycemic index or GI is considered a better choice of food as it shows how blood sugar is affected on eating any food item. The lower the GI, the lower is the chance of a blood sugar spike. Mangoes, despite being sweet are low in GI, that is they don’t abruptly raise the blood sugar level. Comparatively, sugar has a glycemic index of 65, rice has 68-73, bread has 75-78, and honey has 61.

All carbs are not the same. Refined carbs are treated as empty calories that only provide energy and are not healthy. Mango contains complex carbohydrates that give nutrition to the body and are absorbed slowly, not spiking the blood sugar. Mangoes contain a significant amount of dietary fibre too, which is absent in refined carbs that we eat almost every time, like most bread, cakes, and biscuits.

It is true that some varieties of mango contain more sugar than others. Go to a local market, see the varieties of mangoes available in your area. If you happen to live in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, where mango is native, you will most likely find more than one variety. Ask the shopkeeper for less sweetened ones. He/she is more likely to suggest to you the best option available, better than even so-called sugar-free varieties. Most sugar-free varieties have insignificantly low glycemic index than those available in your local market, and they are never sugar-free as claimed. Some expensive varieties do have a lot of sugar, so you may skip those if you are diabetic. The less-sugar mangoes are also the cheapest. So you don’t need to search everywhere for expensive sugar-free mangoes, it is most likely available in your neighbourhood market.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Edible Oil Becoming Costlier – Bane or Boon?

Edible oil prices have steeply risen since May and are showing no signs of coming down. The main edible oils used throughout India are palm oil and soybean oil. Palm oil is imported from Malaysia and Indonesia, while soybean oil comes mainly from Brazil, Argentina and the US. India relies on more than 60% on the imports of edible oils, and any price hike in the global market is bound to hike its price in the Indian market.

Contrary to our belief, India is far from being self-reliant in edible oil. India is a massive consumer of refined oil, and domestic production is insufficient to meet such high demands. Being a populated country, she has less scope for enormous oil palm plantations than Indonesia and Malaysia. The output in these two global exporters of palm oil has decreased of late. The covid-19 pandemic has resulted in significant emigration of foreign workers to their respective countries, lowering the available labour and thus reducing production.

A similar story goes to a lesser extent for Brazil and the US regarding soybean oil production, with one added point that dry weather in Argentina reduced soybean production. Ukraine and Russia account for most of the sunflower oil imports, which too have gone down due to drought-like conditions. Moreover, the rise of biofuels across the globe demand use of edible oil for energy production instead of consumption. All these together account for the steep increase in prices of all refined oils – palm oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil, and sunflower oil. Prices have increased from a mere 110 rupees to 160-180 rupees a litre.

Cold-Pressed Oils that retains odour, flavour, and texture (colour)

But it is not in every field of edible oil production that India is lacking. In mustard oil, India holds one of the top spots and can also export that to other countries should a need arise. However, like other edible oils, the price of mustard oil has gone up way more than it ever has been. Mustard oil hovered around 130-140 rupees a litre just two months back. It has now increased to 180-200. The production of mustard oil hasn’t decreased. However, it seems to follow the global trend of oil price hike.

India has a long history of oil consumption, with many historians pointing out that the earliest production of oil began in India during the Indus Valley Civilization. Sesame seeds were pressed to extract oil from them using a presser, locally called ghani. In the modern world, sesame oil seems to have been overshadowed by the heavy use of refined oils. It is only in Rajasthan, where it was used historically. In South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana use substantial amounts of sesame oil in local cuisine. Sesame oil is quite expensive in India due to cold-pressed extraction techniques, also called kachhi-ghani, but is much more healthy than refined oils. Thus, a hike in refined oil prices may benefit sesame oil production and consumption in the long run.

Oil Ghani Machine for extracting oil

Cold-pressed oils such as groundnut oil and coconut oil have been used in many dishes of western India and Kerala, respectively, mainly for their retention of flavour, odour, and texture (colour). Groundnut oil, in particular, along with cottonseed oil, has faced a surge in price due to low productivity and crop damage this year. Among the introduced crops, cold-pressed sunflower oil and cold-pressed safflower oil shows promising future, as they are both neutral in taste but much more healthy. Olive plantation has picked up pace in Rajasthan, and the olive oil price has considerably decreased in recent times.

A hike in edible oil prices is very challenging for middle and lower-class families, constituting the bulk of the population in India. This comes at a time when the country is reeling under severe Covid-19 crisis, where a chunk of the population are facing economic stress, and many have lost their job. So in the short term, it is no doubt that the hike in edible oil prices is a disaster for most Indians. However, in the long term, the promotion of indigenous and traditional oil extraction methods by cold-pressed methods from indigenous oilseeds may make a chunk of the population switch to healthier alternatives without compromising much on the cost.

Written by – Himadri Paul

The Meme coin that Elon wants to take to the moon.

The Beginning.

Dogecoin created as a joke based on a popular meme featuring a Shiba Inu (a Japanese breed of dog). By IBM software engineer Billy Markus from Portland and Adobe software engineer Jackson Palmer, who set out to create a digital currency that could reach a broader demographic than Bitcoin. It is an open-source, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that started in 2013 as a way to satirize the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies. It based on Litecoin. Users could buy, sell and exchange DogeCoin from popular Digital Currency Exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, WazirX, namely a few.

The Rise of Dogecoin.

Dogecoin started as something of a joke meme of sorts, but after it was created, it gained a following. In 2017 it also Joined the crypto bubble that got the values of so many coins up significantly. But shortly after the bubble burst in 2018, Dogecoin lost much of its value, like others, but it still had core supporters who trade it and use it to tip content creators on Twitter, Reddit and Twitch( Mostly used for gamers for live streaming).

The Boom.

Basically, the valuation of a particular coin depends on News, among other factors, of course. In the world of Crypto, positive News like being supported by a big company Or a famous person investing in a particular coin can do wonders for the whole crypto market.

It was Feb of 2021, just two days after Elon Musk(CEO of Tesla Inc.) said he was going take a break from Twitter “for a while.” Suddenly came up with a Tweet Musk first tweeted “Doge” and immediately followed it up with “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto.” In the past, Musk has been in support of Crypto, even going as far as accepting Bitcoin as a mode of payment in Tesla Inc. After that Tweet, The valuation of Dogecoin has Skyrocketed From 3.77 INR in Early Feb to being just shy of 30 INR In early April. And so on and so froth Elon has been supporting Doge ever since through his tweets Even say in one of his tweets “Doge Barking at the Moon.”

Written By – Shubham Kaushik

Markets: – A constantly changing Landscape

COVID-19 pandemic is a Humongous problem for companies everywhere, and it’s practically impossible to ignore the issue – it has changed the way business is executed everywhere. Many owners and work managers are failing to shift the regular marketing strategies to a digital marketing (The new normal). They are overlooking the situation because perhaps they have hope that some sudden turn of events towards normalcy will occur in the times of chaos. Whatever may be the cause but this inability to adapt will cause grave concerns to the economic survival of the company. Indian Markets, for the past few years, are constantly in a transition.

“Market is about two things, Marketing and Sales”

Online Shopping has been one of the major causes of loss to many Retailers and even whole-sellers, especially in urban localities. Because online markets are controlled by big multinational companies they marginalize their profit shares to such a low that, shopkeepers fail to catch up with them. So shopkeepers joined hands with them, this move was beneficial for both as the Online platform’s variety received a boost and reach of Shopkeepers increased to farthest corners of India and World.   

Many organizations have shown great adaptability by appointing digital marketing. This pandemic has made it absolutely essential for any trader, businessman, or Shopkeeper to appoint Digital Medium of Marketing and sales.

  • The impact – COVID: 19 on Market

There is no business which lies unaffected by the pandemic. In turn, this unaccustomed reaction has had a detrimental ‘trickle’ effect on larger B2B companies work as providers to these smaller businesses.

Every business, be it your neighbourhood departmental store or an enormous multinational firm, can benefit from digital marketing. Customers still need the products and services as much as ever—what these companies need to do is change the way they reach their target audiences. Even if a small enterprise doesn’t have an online page or portal (one in four do not have), it’s not very late to join in the businesses that are thriving online.

  • Coming to – HOW TO?

It’s time for the affected businesses to make the transition from a fortress store to a digital provider by contacting their customers, reviving unused online assets like websites and social media profiles, and pedalling full speed ahead.

  • Shifting daily operations online

There are very few organizations that cannot make the transition of their daily operations. Credit to video conferencing applications like Zoom, Skype, and many other executives and managers can communicate and impart instructions to staff and hold client meetings from anywhere. 

  • Sales teams can take orders and reservations and provide services to customers via email, chat, or video. They no longer have to commute; they can even start work early leaving customers with longer support hours.
  • Services that were previously delivered in person are surprisingly amenable to video presentations. Clients can pay online and receive a video link to live sessions.

Many businesses are cutting costs on their marketing efforts due to COVID-19, but what they should really be doing is grabbing advantage of the new opportunities that are rising.

This emphasis on digital marketing is not something that they’ll want to slow down on once the lockdown ends. Online shopping is going to stop no-time soon, and most companies will find those web-based interactions to be convenient than in-person meetings.

Stores will reopen but alongside newly adopted ways of selling and engaging with customers.

Talking of Digital Marketing, Digital Services, Digital India, we find one thing common that is Digital. Technologies and Gadgets are sure to expand and improve and in the process, a large number of job and services opportunities will emerge in Technology Development, Gadget Repair, Software development, coding, Data encryption, Data decryption, and Data Handling spheres.

  • Skills

India has the largest workforce worldwide but India stands nowhere in the list of Developed nations. The reason cited for this poor performance is the lack of skill in the workforce. Blaming only the individuals is not right because the Indian education System plays spoilsport due to its monotonous behaviour.

A number of govt. backed Skill Development programs have been launched recently but the major hurdle in the success of these programs is insuring proper implementation.

To grab these upcoming opportunities and chances by both hands we need to be prepared, these opportunities will demand skills like familiarization with Gadgets, computer languages and other technical know how’s? Those, who will fulfil these needs, will surely get an edge.

  • Author’s Take

While digital marketing may be regarded right now as an emergency plan, but by the time this is over, everyone will likely realize that it’s more than a temporary measure rather than a sustainable one. So “GO DIGITAL, BE FUTURE READY” and upstage and up veal everything.

~By Shubham Yadav