The ruins of the 7th-8th Century Buddhist monastery at Ajina-Teppa were reconstructed about a decade ago, and the mud brick reconstruction is once again falling apart.
The ruins are only about 12km (20-25 minutes) away from the city of Qurghonteppa. Entrance is free, there is no supervision, and there will be nobody there but you. On a couple of occasions, a young boy came to our group and asked us to fill out information in a guestbook.
The reclining Buddha statue that was excavated from this site can be seen in Dushanbe, along with other artifacts.
Photo from the Dushanbe museum by Dan Lundberg:
Driving directions: Use a map app in your smartphone. You can download our 12km-long GPS track at Wikiloc here. This website allows you to download the GPS track in several different formats, depending on what map app you will be using on your phone (KML for Google maps, GPX for everything else).
Transportation info: If you have your own car, you can follow our GPS track. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes. Note that the main bridge is broken as of October 2017, and that there is a slight detour (as shown in the GPS track). If you are coming from Dushanbe, you can start at the northern Qurghonteppa vokzal (bus station) and meet the GPS track on the eastern outskirts of Qurghonteppa.
If you do not have a car, start at the beginning of the GPS track. Here you will find the “Ahmad” taxi station at the Qurghonteppa central bazaar. Listen for drivers shouting the name of their destination: the town of Kirov (“Kirov #1,” as there are 4 Kirovs corresponding to the 4 separate sections of the Kirov state farm sovkhoz). You can get one seat in a shared taxi for 3 Somoni. If you get out at the end of the route in Kirov, you will need to walk about the next 2 kilometres to Ajina-Teppa. Or you can negotiate with your driver to go the extra distance to Ajina-Teppa (probably 8-10 Somoni for the entire car). If you want the driver to wait for you at Ajina-Teppa, you will need to pay him extra. However, the walk back to Kirov is a a pleasant road lined with fields. But it will probably be too hot from mid-June to mid-September. For your return to Qurghonteppa, just follow the instructions in reverse.
NOTE: Nobody knows how to get to Ajina-Teppa except for the taxi drivers who do the Qurghonteppa-Kirov route. For other drivers, you will need to follow our GPS track and give them instructions.