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Monday bazaar at Upal
|Country||People's Republic of China|
The names comes from the Sanskrit: upál-, which means "a noble stone", sharing an Indo-European root to the Greek opallios (ὀπάλλιος), from which the English word opal is derived. The caste of the Indian traders who traditionally used to trade the precious stone is also called Uppal (sometimes spelled as Upal or Oppal).
Today Upal is on the Karakoram Highway, which follows the old Silk Road route from China to Pakistan. Travelling from China, it is about 50 km southwest of Kashgar, or about 180 km north of Tashkurgan (which is about 120 km over the Khunjerab Pass from Sust in Pakistan).
Passenger road service between the Tashkurgan and the Pakistani cities of Sost and Gilgit already exists, and road service between Kashi and Gilgit (via Tashkurgan and Sust) started in summer 2006. However, the border crossing between China and Pakistan at Khunjerab Pass (the highest border in the world) is open only from May 1 to October 15 of every year. During winter, the roads are blocked by snow.
Mahmud al-Kashgari died in 1102 at the age of 97 in Upal. There is now a mausoleum erected on his gravesite. He is remembered as a prominent Turkic language scholar.
A bazaar (Chinese: 乌帕尔乡的周一巴扎) is held every Monday. Being that this village is along the Karakoram Highway, it is frequently visited not only by local people but also by the tourists on their way back from Karakul Lake, a popular sightseeing site in Kashgar.
This simplistic, but colorful bazaar is held along the national highway, especially under the large tents in the back of the houses on the western side (the left side as you go back to Kashgar) of the highway. The animals market is located in the southernmost part of the market.