How to Visit Childukhtaron, Tajikistan
Updated March 2022, How to Visit Childukhtaron, Tajikistan was originally published in October 2021
A popular destination for local tourists, Childukhtaron Nature Reserve is one steeped in legend. The name Childukhtaron, meaning 40 girls, goes back to the 13th century Mongol Invasion.
Protecting the village from the wrath of the Mongol Horde, these 40 women fought off the would-be invaders. Upon defeat, the Mongols prayed that the women would remain pure virgins indefinitely, turning them into the jagged crimson and gold spires that give this valley backed by the Hazrat i Shoh Mountains their unique appearance.
Childukhtaron has become a springtime pilgrimage site, drawing in local visitors near and far to pay their respects to the 40 girls.
The rock spires of Childukhtaron are best explored on foot, wandering the valley below and continuing further afield into the Childukhtaron Nature Reserve.
How to get to Childukhtaron
Getting to Childukhtaron is fairly easy considering that it’s a common destination among locals, though to best explore the area it’s recommended to have at least two days, more if you’d like to combine your visit with nearby Sary Khosar Natural Park.
By Private Car Hire
The easiest way to visit Childukhtaron Nature Reserve is by hiring a car and driver. This can easily be made as a detour from a Pamir Highway itinerary starting from Dushanbe, for example. This also gives the freedom to combine a visit to Childukhtaron with Sary Khosar Valley, Yakhsu Valley, and other destinations.
By Shared Taxi
Getting to Childukhtaron using shared taxis will likely take 3 vehicles, 2 if you’re lucky. Total drive time each way from Dushanbe will take about 4 hours, not including waiting around for cars to fill up.
You will most likely need to head to Kulob from Dushanbe. You can find Kulob-bound shared taxis (40 TJS) and minibusses (25 TJS) departing from a bus station on Nemat Karabaev Street.
Once to Kulob, you can look for shared taxis departing to either Khovaling or Muminobod. This should cost around 25 TJS.
From Muminobod, it may be easier to get in a car headed to Childukhtaron with other passengers for a few Somoni. Starting from Khovaling, you can expect to pay 250 TJS to hire a vehicle to take you on a return trip to Childukhtaron.
I hired a car from Khovaling to Childukhtaron after arriving in Khovaling from a separate adventure to Sary Khosar from Baljuvon and recommend approaching Childukhtaron from the rough road from Khovaling. The rolling hills around Khovaling were a pale green, somewhat reminiscent of my time in Italy.
Combine Childukhtaron with a visit to Sary Khosar Valley
Continuing to the Yakhsu Valley
It’s possible for intrepid visitors with a 4WD to route back to Khovaling from Childukhtaron and continue along a rough track to the northeast along the Yakhsu River. This will eventually bring you to the town of Tavildara along the Northern Route of the Pamir Highway (I’d have loved to do this but didn’t make it happen!).
Where to stay in Childukhtaron
A hotel does exist close to Childukhtaron. If you get too late a start from Dushanbe you can find guesthouses in Muminobod and Khovaling for the night.
Everything you need to know: The Pamir Highway guide
The best time to visit Childukhtaron
The best time to visit would be in May and June when the Hazrat i Shoh Mountains are at their most verdant for the year.
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