Jump to content
  • entries
    5
  • comments
    49
  • views
    2,434

10 Days in Iran

ShiaMan14

6,127 views

I had been planning to go to Iran for a long time and finally made it a priority for me in 2016. Since I wanted to mix in sightseeing and pilgrimage in the same trip, I decided to go on my own instead of in a group.

As it turned out, getting an individual visa for Iran when traveling from the US is a real hassle. We need to get permission from the Iran Foreign Ministry and then apply for the visa at the Iran Mission housed within the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC. After struggling for almost 3 weeks, I was able to find Taha Ziyarat Group (tahaziyarat@gmail.com) based out of Toronto that obtained the necessary approval for me for $90.

Once I got my approval, I sent my passport off to the Iran Mission in Washington. I did have to follow up with them almost daily to ensure they processed my visa application expeditiously. I received my passport 4 days before flying out.

While I was waiting for the visa approval, I booked my flights on Qatar Airways for a bargain price of $700 return to/from US-Tehran. For in-country arrangements, I know a maulana (NAJ) there who arranged everything for me based on my budget.

Finally, the big day came and I left for Iran on Wed Mar 23rd arriving in Tehran late Thu evening (Mar 24th). NAJ had arranged for a driver to pick me up and drive straight to Qum instead of spending the night in Tehran. The drive from IKA (Imam Khomeni Airport) to Qum took about 90 minutes. The driver barely spoke English but knew where to pick me up from and where to drop me. We arrived at Qum International Hotel around 1245am (Fri Mar 25th). The hotel was about a *** US hotel, higher for Iran.

 

Day 1 (Fri):

 

We prayed fajr in our room and went back to bed. Since breakfast was included in our price, we went down for breakfast around 9a – nice long buffet.
NAJ contacted me around 10am and picked me up from the QIH around 1030a to take me to the Roza of Masooma-e-Qum. We walked to the roza and were there at 1035a. The hotel is the closet one to the roza.

NAJ showed us around the haram and provided us some background about Masooma and her roza. From 1130a – 2p, we were on our own to recite ziyarat, salah-e-jumah and dua. I wandered around the roza and made my way to the masjid adjoining the roza. It is an absolutely beautiful mosque.

They had beautiful recitations of the quran and then some speeches followed by Azaan. The Jumah khutba was recited by an Ayatollah in Farsi (of course) and then namaz-e-jumah. Although I did not understand most of the khutba, one thing that was unmistakable was the ‘marg-al-Amreeka’ chants (down with America or death to America). They were loud and boisterous.

mq.jpg.6ff051af819284a74ed7a24fe06275e0.jpg
Shrine of Bibi Masooma Qum (as).

After salah-e-jumah, NAJ took us to the Suffrah of Masooma where were had a decent meal of rice with spinach with potatoes.

We went to our hotel after lunch for some R&R and then returned to the haram for maghribain. After namaz, NAJ took us around the bazaar outside the haram. The clothing looked like they were from the 70s and 80s. Religious paraphernalia including irani chador were well stocked and affordably priced. Almost evey other shop sold halwa-suhan.

 

Day 2 (Sat):

 

We spent most of this day driving around to the various ziarats around Qum.

bln.jpg.d75fb6c3d3afefbcff897f5532e8ad07.jpg
Bait Al-Noor. Musallah of Masooma (as). This is where she spent time praying.

zia.jpg.2322746eb6f48da88fbec93be3c0ac09.jpg
Shrine of an Imamzadeh (Son of an Imam).

zia2.jpg.d30af0263408e7f6ad2ae92a83058db8.jpg
Shrine of Hz. Hamza bin Musa Kazim (as).

zia3.jpg.251d977a0952046c7ef52d83183ace4f.jpg
 

Day 3 (Sun):

 

This was by far the most hectic day of the trip. We left around 5am to drive from Qum to Isfahan. It was about a 4-hour drive. I was surprised how much of the Iranian country was desert. The deserts in the Middle East countries (UAE, Saudi) have a lot of fine yellow sand. Iranian deserts are more rocky than sandy.

countryside1.jpg.edb8c4f4e43d7cdc24a26ef10789f600.jpg

countryside2.jpg.aaa6e9cae60791f093593ec571d9df54.jpg

Upon entering Isfahan, we visited the shrine of Masooma Zainab bint Imam Musa Khadim (as) – Masooma Qum’s younger sister.

58bdf923dda15_masoomazainabisfahan2.thumb.jpg.0bb0867a837684cc89d68a6694217101.jpg

58bdf9527e42f_masoomazainabisfahan.jpg.aec68f0b0901788c67e6cf958346f536.jpg

Next stop was the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan. We spent a few minutes here and then walked to Allama Majlisi’s tomb nearby. His house and surrounding are well preserved.

Next was the more secular part of the Ishafan visit.

Isfahan.jpg.e9c7bd2052d4489e9de9883991e88550.jpg

We went to Naqsh-e-Jahan (half of the world) which is the main plaza of Isfahan. The weather was great and since the Nawroz holidays were still going on, it was packed with people.

Within Naqsh-e-Jahan is the Ali Qapu Palace

58bdf9be52ec8_AliQapuPalace.jpg.21b743ad44b4a918dcbb78b0aa3b6da7.jpg

IMG-20170228-WA0005.thumb.jpg.ca408000322dd4f03aebe77e3d2c0fb5.jpg
Panamoric View from Ali Qapu Palace Balcony of Naqsh-e-Jahan

IMG-20170228-WA0006.jpg.462afa7c57f41c776eccbfc83a4c2a95.jpg

Since it was almost lunch time, we stopped by a street restaurant selling A’ash

58bdfad3e0e6b_IMG_20160327_14063522.jpg.e21301ce4af0205a8dd6ff57f0189192.jpg

After lunch, we went to the Vank Cathedral. This Christian monastery was established in 1606. It contains some amazing art work.

IMG_20160327_1505120.jpg.b8b4437f7e673e9250574c1ff7a973bc.jpg

 

IMG_20160327_1510091.jpg.06ee773f155b01ff352a6144c6ccbf5d.jpg

IMG_20160327_1511170.jpg.262df7caec1d2f0f144202f9adc8a935.jpg

From here, we went to Khaju Bridge for some more sightseeing.

IMG-20170228-WA0008.jpg.5bbdea524ec899cb067c842c15cfd34c.jpg

IMG-20170228-WA0007.jpg.0504054d904163f51b809c3e88f71dbe.jpg

IMG-20170228-WA0010.jpg.f90d6a435f06cf6b9983af59b2dd2307.jpg

 

At this point, we were too tired to do anything else so we headed back to Qum – 4 hour journey mostly spent napping.

 

Day 4 (Mon):

After a hectic day, sleep was going to be the primary thing on the agenda for this day but there was too much to do. We prayed fajr at the mosque next to Masooma-e-Qum’s shrine:

58bf2714148cf_mosquemq.jpg.fdc71915f3d82cd14b93450a6fc47b93.jpg
Mosque adjacent to Masooma-e-Qum's shrine

And then went back to our hotel for more sleep. We had breakfast and got ready for another fun-filled travel day.

We started off by going from Qum to Mashad-e-Ardehal. This site contains the tomb of Sultan Ali son of Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) and brother of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as). Sultan Ali was brutally killed here by his enemies.

58bf27683fccc_MA2.jpg.70ad752561ec9b8e1472339c828de823.jpg58bf2762748a5_MA1.jpg.e063a8f09f738884c455c6196aaa9bec.jpg

 

From here we drove to a hilltop/mountaintop with streams running down. We had to walk down about 500 meters and got a great view of a waterfall.

stream.jpg.6756f2f14b4624286e6dba67cc6f01d9.jpg                                fall2.jpg.a0f0f9947c644838f90fd1e25aeab5f3.jpg

The most distinct feature of this area of the smell of rose water distilleries all over the place. You could get rose water for a variety of needs including simple hot rose water tea. The other distinct item being sold was fresh bee hives dripping with honey. And yes, we tried hot rose water tea with honey.

From here, we went to the city of Kashan. Our first stop was an ancient archeological site called Tepe Sialk. The Sialk ziggurat

IMG_20160328_1303353.jpg.67a59bfe361b8dc356f6fc276541178c.jpg   IMG_20160328_1307182.jpg.43c2fe55c032b8138d44c172d77ef973.jpg   IMG_20160328_1315531.jpg.b801ffda1eaf858ab8b41a3092517665.jpg

Note: Entrance for most places have an Iranian Rate and a Foreigner rate (up to 3X in places). We had our driver buy the tickets and we would walk in with him talking to us in Farsi. Yes – very sneaky indeed. I excused myself by convincing myself that since both my wife and I are of Iranian descent, we qualify for the discount. :) 

 

Final stop of our day trip to Kashan was to the oldest extant garden in Iran known as the Bagh-e-Fin or Fin Garden.

IMG_20160328_1353304.jpg.e203577b32e7d0a784df179675295994.jpg      IMG_20160328_1354584.jpg.309db9ab92fdb88b8497931737a68074.jpg

 

Although this was a less hectic day than the trip to Isfahan, we were still pretty tired so we drove back to Qum, had a 12-in falafel sandwich, prayed maghraibain at the haram and went to bed.

Day 5 (Tue):

The past couple of days had left us tired so we decided to take it easy.

We went to the haram for fajr then went back to bed. We woke up just in time to catch breakfast and then went to the local market (wish I took pictures). From there we went for zohrain at the mosque adjacent to Masooma’s shrine.

After a quick bite to eat, we left for the Koh-e-Khizr aka Mountain of Khizr. What was supposed to be a light day in terms of exercise became a very intense and steep climb to the top of Koh-e-Khizr. It was well worth it in the end because we got a great view of the entire city of Qum if not the whole province.

IMG_20160326_1221575.jpg.3eb5c2cfff226a79f1908977ff245396.jpg  IMG_20160326_1224186.jpg.efa9661f70737271ddaf5f292671dd5a.jpg  IMG_20160326_1226032.jpg.4be0bce696c01b248ca6f958a9138d15.jpg

Got more daunting as we got closer.

IMG_20160326_1256536.jpg.7fc240597d0e6fe1743b4e55b957bd81.jpg    IMG_20160326_1252123.jpg.a40fa27d265068dde9944c1a218c562a.jpg  
For the record, the old gentleman in the pic IS NOT ME :)

IMG_20160326_1244362.jpg.08495821e7e75eca7b9bb250eb8893f7.jpg   IMG_20160326_1258361.jpg.dee8674bbb7792e90fd97633e6d7d8f7.jpg

City/Province of Qum.

 

Needless to say the climb down was nowhere near as arduous as the climb up. There was a small food vendor about half from the top. On our way up, we bought some water from him and then ice cream on the way down.

After resting by the car for a few moments, we drove nearby to the Masjid-e-Jhamkaran, located on the outskirts of Qum. A brief history of this grand mosque is that it  has long been a sacred place, at least since 373 A.H., 17th of Ramadan (22 February 984 C.E.), when according to the mosque website, one Sheikh Hassan ibn Muthlih Jamkarani is reported to have met Muhammad al-Mahdi along with the prophet Al-Khidr. Jamkarani was instructed that the land they were on was "noble" and that the owner — Hasan bin Muslim — was to cease cultivating it and finance the building of a mosque on it from the earnings he had accumulated from farming the land.

As we had been told, the mosque starts getting filled up from about 5pm and gets fuller and fuller as the evening progresses. I am not sure if it was because of Nawruz season but it definitely had a very 'carnival' and festive feel to it. People had spread out their rugs all across the mosque courtyard and were reveling with family and friends. There was hot tea brewing and koobideh with naan being shared by one and all.

Quran and then different duas were being recited, followed by maghribain and then more duas. We left around 830p to go back to our hotel.

IMG_20160329_1825182.jpg.68aa627194c4757dda7d2e26c28d4b9d.jpg
Mosque sparely populated around 4pm.

IMG_20160329_2024473.jpg.733d42b6cb386e27c54296670aa4dec3.jpg
Crowded!!! (730pm).

 

Day 6 (Wed):

 

Today was the big day when we would finally make our way to Mashad. We had packed the previous night so we left right after fajr – and yes, I skipped breakfast!!!

 

First stop was First stop was an almost 2 hour drive to Ayatollah Khomenei’s mausoleum.   It is located to the south of Tehran in the Behesht-e Zahra (the Paradise of Zahra) cemetery. Construction commenced in 1989 following Khomeini's death on June 3 of that year. It is still under construction, but when completed will be the centerpiece in a complex spread over 5,000 acres, housing a cultural and tourist center, a university for Islamic studies, a seminary, a shopping mall, and a 20,000-car parking lot. The Iranian government has reportedly devoted US$2 billion to this development. It is definitely one of the largest and most beautiful mausoleums I have come across.

IMG_20160330_0803574.jpg.8e1f2c2092ef13e7f7d06398f33c2574.jpg IMG_20160330_0804177.jpg.a682446718f69ea3bf34c9d01545360e.jpg
Visitors reciting fatiha for Ayatollah Khomenei.
Please recite surah fatiha for Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini.

 

Next stop was the Astana Bibi Shehr Bano. On the ground level there is a cave which according to legends was the place where Zuljinah brought Bibi from Kerbala, and she was there until hostile people to Bani Hashim got news of her being there, and they tried to catch her. She climbed the hillock and then vanished in a mountainous wall. Now a zarih has been constructed together with prayer rooms for men and women.

IMG_20160330_1105077.jpg.e8213f60e0c58e010cc4ff7eb45ab4cc.jpg   IMG_20160330_1113332.jpg.e2f53cf653dd951d9fe7add991d70afb.jpg
Zarih of Hz. Shehr Bano.                                                                    View of other side of Tehran.

 

who was a fifth generation descendant of Hasan ibn ‘Alī and a companion of Muhammad al-Taqī. A piece of paper was found in his pocket outlining his ancestry as being: ‘Abdul ‘Adhīm son of ‘Abdillāh son of ‘Alī son of Husayn son of Zayd son of Hasan ibn ‘Alī.Shah Abdul AzeemNext stop was the Shrine of

Adjacent to the shrine, within the complex, include the mausolea of Imamzadeh Tahir (son of the fourth shia Imam Sajjad) and Imamzadeh Hamzeh (brother of the eighth Twelver Imām - Imām Reza).

 

 

IMG_20160330_0911289.jpg.b0ee236febab5aa283b03e2dacadc5e5.jpg

From here, we drove around the City of Tehran including the famed part known as Rey. I am fairly well traveled but I have to say that Tehran is one of the most picturesque cities I have visited. Situated in close proximity of the Alborz range and its majestic peak Mount Damavand , being the highest in Iran with a height of 18,550 feet ,it is a mega city of about Thirty Million People.

IMG_20160330_1138259.jpg.0a725f670569a2d73b5b649f8f974c64.jpg
You can see hundreds of buildings at the foot of the mountain. Not a bad view to wake up to every morning.

 

After driving around for a couple of hours, our driver dropped us of at Tehran’s Mehrabad Intl Airport which is primarily used for domestic travel. The airport is in the heart of Tehran or at least within the city.

The airport has a small cafeteria that serves hot meals of the local variety. They also have a coffee shop and ice cream parlor.

After a 2-hour wait, we finally boarded our short (1-hr) flight to Mashad. The flight was as uneventful as all flights can be. I did enjoy a small boxed-meal they offered everyone despite the short flight. It made up for the breakfast that morning J.

Naj had arranged a friend of his (Ali) to be our tour guide for the stay in Mashad. Since Ali’s English was a little weak, he brought along his sister (Afsanay) who was quite fluent in English.

We checked into our Hotel (Hotel Omid). It is definitely one of the nicer hotels in Mashad.

H1.jpg.6c7beae4f97750bdd0283e6c217d4171.jpg    H2.jpg.e0ff66083876b29177719e3ce3d986df.jpg
View of shrine from our hotel room balcony.

We quickly refreshed and headed over to the Shrine of Imam Reza (as). Much to our pleasant surprise, the shrine was not as packed with zawar as we expected. It could have been the weather or Nawruz.

IMG_20160331_0220470.jpg.f28f247399ae93fcab0cdfdade0b9bc0.jpg
About to enter the main hallway of the Shrine for the first time. Goose bumps.

 

IMG_20160331_0247154.jpg.713293aff55f3c74dae568514f39b5f9.jpg
As salaam alai ka Ya Ghareeb Al Ghuraba (as)

IMG_20160331_0445281-panorama.thumb.jpg.354420c45765a4544ea659d59d16f532.jpg
One of the many courtyards within the Shrine Complex of Imam Ali Reza (as).

 

Day 7 (Thu):

 

Although our intention was to go to the haram in Imam Al-Reza (as) for fajr, it was raining too hard with heavy winds to walk so we prayed in our rooms and went back to sleep.

We woke up to this view:

 

 

After a world class buffet breakfast, we met up with Ali and Afsanay to go to Nishapour. Once again, it was a very scenic drive. The mountain-desert country just has a certain serenity about it. On the way, we saw small villages celebrating nawroz in their own way.

02.jpg.3db020d9aff83f92cf5dae756b1d7cc1.jpg  03.jpg.9de71d9e13b3c00f1a4000a154a95cd0.jpg

 

Our first stop was at the Qadamgah – where the footprints of the Holy Imam Al-Reza (as) can be found. Adjacent to it is a small stream said to bring benefits of all kinds to the zawar.

04.jpg.bbc9ea98414fdf2ea8478c187d953d61.jpg   05.jpg.5e50e3859964a70a56e74f3c2f1236be.jpg    06.thumb.jpg.b33edbb16c238f5d127aa8f643c3e364.jpg
Panoramic view of the building housing the footprint.
 

Just before entering the area of the qadamgah is a small caravansary which use to house people back in the day.

07.jpg.8d217f270032d4efbc1d032e696434e8.jpg

There were probably abour 20-25 room like the one shown above. Very basic room with a hearth in the middle. The rooms were considered high end. Outside the caravansary, there was just the open shelter (pretend there is no room just the outer part).

Next stop was to the mausoleum of Bibi Shatitay. The legend goes that Imam himself came there and led the Namaz-e-janaza prayers for her.

08.jpg.ba04909b3a340eb1ef2c88dcb55b76ae.jpg     09.jpg.4db4d7b332ba4430efd0d3428ff3033a.jpg

 

 

We made a brief stop at the historic Shah Abbas Inn/Caravansary which has been converted into several small shops selling jewelry or souvenirs. Nishapur is famous for its turquoise stone (firoza).

Next stop was the shrines of Imamzade Mahruq bin Muhammad Al-Baqir bin Sajjad (as) and Ebrahim bin Ahmad bin Moosa bin Jafar (as). 

10.jpg.841aa04bb40d54dc08a001cefbb28a02.jpg     11.jpg.c5129576af469a49db6c80defeb3d736.jpg

 

A short walk from here was the tomb of Omar Al-Khayam – one of the most influential thinkers of the Middle Ages. He wrote numerous treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy and astronomy.

 

12.jpg.a18e55f76570d3f3bfa716ba36626e73.jpg

 

A short drive from here was the mausoleum of Abu Hamid bin Abu Bakr Ibrahim aka Attar Nishapuri - a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism.

58c85bb3c5781_AttarNishapuriMausoleum.jpg.f1964a6827169b04686954c889f3e00d.jpg

 

If memory serves me right, next to Attar’s tomb was an archeological site from thousands of years ago. It was going through extensive renovations at the time.

13.jpg.97aa740559665b61fb0cc68e463a30dd.jpg

 

Our last stop was a very famous local restaurant called Emirat Restaurant. Undoubtedly the best lamb koobideh I have ever had!!! My wife and I had some very interesting conversations with Ali and Afsanay. They were both fascinated by our lives in America. They had no qualms about asking me my salary; the size and cost of our house; they were surprised if not shocked that it was okay for my wife to go grocery shopping by herself and it was perfectly safe. They were under the impression that any woman who stepped out of her house by herself was 'asking for it'. I thought it was hilarious. Now that I think about it, everything the Western media does to paint Muslims in a certain light happens in Iran too but backwards. The Western media takes 1 bad Muslim story and tries to apply it to all Muslims. The Iranian media takes a bad Western story and applies it to all Westerners. This was just my observation and nothing more.

We had some other interesting conversations but those are for another day and another time. 

We drove back to Mashad and spent the evening the haram of Imam Al-Reza (as).

Day 8 (Fri):

We prayed fajr at the haram and went back to bed; then woke up to this beautiful view.

58cc61d94a692_day8-001.jpg.fd8ddfb3a4b7d0ef51160ea19af94869.jpg
Beautiful view of Roza of Ima Ali Reza (as).

Since it was Friday, we stayed in our room until 11a or so and then headed to the haram again. Good thing we went early because it was fuller than we had seen since we got there.

So I got a good spot in the mosque adjacent to the haram. I heard the Friday sermon (understood bits and pieces) and the “Death to American” chants, then prayed juma followed by Asr.

 

58cc61df80f87_day8-01.jpg.26fee9af0933a50758dd48d514764e38.jpg
Mosque adjacent to Imam Ali Reza's (as) shrine.

Next was one of the most essential parts of the trip. One may not get this opportunity all the time. We had to take our passport to the office of Pilgrims situated in the Haram of Imam Ridha’s (as). They marked our passport and gives us a ticket for the meal. At the restaurant, they feed almost 4000 Zuwar each day. Thousands of Iranians must wait for years before they get a chance to have a meal at this restaurant.

58cc61e55dbf2_Day8-02.jpg.5f09d4402c90aecf9fcb630a17183e1c.jpg
Lunch at Imam's restaurant (dastakhawan)

Following lunch, Ali and Afsanay picked us up for some sightseeing. We drove around Mashad, saw her university and then went to ziarat nearby

IMG_20160401_1506333.jpg.344a799d3c54530b0c9edaa4a0ead8f6.jpg
Ziarat near Mashad

58cc63064a6e3_Day8-03.jpg.9584b02e279c5be28d83d2901a9bd72f.jpg
Iranian country side. Notice the marked difference in scenery from the previous pictures.

On our way back, we stopped at an ice cream parlor for some traditional Persian ice cream. The last stop was a nearby pewter mountain. I was amazed to see people climbing it without any concern for safety. It was rainy and slick. Mrs ShiaMan14 bought a very nice souvenir.

58cc630be34f0_Day8-05.jpg.4b0a40ed5bea83ef2c679448801240ef.jpg

We came back, rested for a bit and then went to the haram for salah.

Day 9 (Sat):

This was the day to head back to Tehran. We spent the entire night at the haram until fajr. Then came back to get some rest. We got up after a couple of hours, had some breakfast and packed. We took all our luggage downstairs and went back to the haram for zuhrain. We also did the farewell ziarat, rushed back to the hotel since Ali was waiting for us.

We got to the Mashad International Airport around 245pm for a 530p flight - plenty of time.

Just as Ali left us, NAJ gave me a call informing me that my flight had been cancelled so he booked me on the last flight to Tehran (happened to be the cheapest option). This is when panic set in. If the last flight got cancelled, I  would miss my flight from IKA to Doha and the subsequent flight to US.

I could see on the monitors that there were several flights from the time now until my new flight time although all of them were on a different airline than mine. I called NAJ to ask if my ticket could be changed and he said it would not be possible. So I saw the flight I wanted about 1.5 hours later and went to their sales office. First, they couldnt understand why I wanted another ticket when I already had one. My farsi and their english were too awful to understand each other but nevertheless they allowed me to buy 2 tickets. 

Next problem - I did not have any Iranian Rials on me and the INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT did not have a Money Exchange! So I had to call Ali back to see if he had any rials that he could give me in exchange for dollars. By this time, he was about 20 minutes away so we had to wait for him to come back. In the meanwhile, the Sales Agent agreed to take my dollars at a fairly decent exchange rate. Basically, I bought 2 one-way tickets from Mashad to Tehran for about $100. Just as we finalized the transaction, Ali came back and I had to explain the whole thing to him as well. He, too, was confused as to why I would buy another ticket when I already had one. 

Anyway, we finally put all that behind us, checked-in and were on our way to Tehran.

After an uneventful journey to Tehran, we drove all the way to Qum to sepnt about 3-4 hours in Qum at NAJ's house. We freshened up, ate a really nice meal and got ready to leave.

Day 10 (Fri):

We left Naj's house around 1am and reached IKA by 215am. Since this was the last or day after Nawruz holidays, the airport was jam packed. It took an hour to check-in, the security lines were considerably shorter so in another 15 minutes, we were at our gate. Boarding started just around fajr, so we prayed quickly and boarded our Qatar Airways flight to Doha.

I was a bit nervous about returning to the US from Iran but had no problems whatsoever.

A very placid end to a very hectic but thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Summary:

Iranians are a very joyous and happy people. There was no patch of grass where we didn't see a family setting up a picnic be it as a roadside or a courtyard of a shrine. I really wish relations between Iran and the West improves so the people can really experience the rich, colorful and impressive history, geography and culture Iran has to offer.

Our entire 10 day trip cost about $1,600/pp. It was money well spent.

 



34 Comments


Recommended Comments



22 hours ago, shiaman14 said:

Salaam,

This was March 2016.

Inshallah next time. 

 

Shiraz is the host of one of the most ancient sites of Iran and the world, which is called takhte jamshid in Persian and Persopolis in English, and also there's a shrine for the older brother of Imam Rida(as), Hazrat Ahmad ibn Musa(as) or as we call him shah cheragh (the king of light) in Shiraz, and many other shrines too

There's also the tombs of two of the greatest Persian poets here in Shiraz, one is Hafez who was shia and the other one is Sa'di who was sunni.

Share this comment


Link to comment
On 3/8/2017 at 0:14 AM, Hidaren said:

Shiraz is the host of one of the most ancient sites of Iran and the world, which is called takhte jamshid in Persian and Persopolis in English, and also there's a shrine for the older brother of Imam Rida(as), Hazrat Ahmad ibn Musa(as) or as we call him shah cheragh (the king of light) in Shiraz, and many other shrines too

There's also the tombs of two of the greatest Persian poets here in Shiraz, one is Hafez who was shia and the other one is Sa'di who was sunni.

Yes I definitely need to. Due to time constraints, we had to choose between Isfahan or Shiraz but I definitely want to see Persepolis one day inshallah.

If I had the time, I would have taken a train from Tehran --> Isfahan --> Shiraz --> Mashad with 1-2 day stops in Isfahan and Shiraz but it wasnt to be.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Re: climate

It's a shame that some Iranians are somehow ashamed of our climate? So I think they try to push the idea of Iran having a sort of European climate, which it does not. And then other people begin to get this impression, which is probably why you had the perception you did.

But it is true what you said: Iran does have sand deserts but most of the desert is rocky and mountanous. Two thirds of Iran is desert, but two thirds is also mountanous, which obviously means there is some overlap. And although much of the country has four seasons, precipitation in Iran is only about a third of the global average, and even then a lot of that is accounted for by the very rainy climate in the north.

I personally love the mountain-deserts and think they are nothing to be ashamed of. Besides: if there are a very successive days of rain those barren mountains will begin to look lush and green. That's the beauty of a climate which changes. 

Aside from the major ziyarah sites I would recommend you go to Lorestan. Beautiful nature and cultural peculiarities / lifestyle which are astounding.

Share this comment


Link to comment
On 3/8/2017 at 4:47 PM, realizm said:

:salam:

Why did you drive back to Qum after each of your visits? Just curious.

You must have lost time and money by doing so.

:ws:

Good question.

Initially, we wanted to drive from Qum to Isfahan and stay there overnight. The next day, we would go to Kashan and then back to Qum. 

Unfortunately, since it was Nawroz season, a lot of the hotels were booked in Isfahan so we couldn't secure a good hotel. Also, our driver was from Qum so we would have had to pay for his accommodation as well. Plus traveling with luggage was a factor.

If we had traveled by train, then I would have definitely stayed overnight in Isfahan. Kashan was good for the few hours we spent there and it was only a 2-hr drive so definitely not worth staying overnight.

Share this comment


Link to comment
50 minutes ago, baradar_jackson said:

Re: climate

It's a shame that some Iranians are somehow ashamed of our climate? So I think they try to push the idea of Iran having a sort of European climate, which it does not. And then other people begin to get this impression, which is probably why you had the perception you did.

But it is true what you said: Iran does have sand deserts but most of the desert is rocky and mountanous. Two thirds of Iran is desert, but two thirds is also mountanous, which obviously means there is some overlap. And although much of the country has four seasons, precipitation in Iran is only about a third of the global average, and even then a lot of that is accounted for by the very rainy climate in the north.

I personally love the mountain-deserts and think they are nothing to be ashamed of. Besides: if there are a very successive days of rain those barren mountains will begin to look lush and green. That's the beauty of a climate which changes. 

Aside from the major ziyarah sites I would recommend you go to Lorestan. Beautiful nature and cultural peculiarities / lifestyle which are astounding.

I was born in UAE so whenever I think of a desert, the first thing that comes to mind is the fine yellow sand of those deserts.

I, too, love mountain-deserts. They have their own beauty. It reminded me of the drive from Damascus to Halab. Very similar geography but I think Iran is more mountainous.

In our ~10 days there, we really saw all kinds of weather from really hot to freezing cold.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Mashallah a very nice place. I hope you enjoy every bit of the journey. I am an Australian however, I come from Iraq, Najaf and whenever I visit Iraq and see the holy shrines it is very calming and a pleasant place to be in. Inshallah one day you can visit all the holy shrines of Ahululbayt in Iraq. Please make Dua for us.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Mashallah, may Allah grant us ziyarat Imam Reza as

 

May I ask you which hotel you stayed in Mashad? And what did you pay for it?

Edited by ElAhmed

Share this comment


Link to comment
3 hours ago, ElAhmed said:

Mashallah, may Allah grant us ziyarat Imam Reza as

 

May I ask you which hotel you stayed in Mashad? And what did you pay for it?

Sorry brother. I should have included that info.

We stayed at Hotel Omid. It was newly renovated in Feb-2016. To be honest, I don't know the rate. I worked a package deal with the person who arranged the entire trip.

I will provide the details at the end.

Share this comment


Link to comment
3 hours ago, shiaman14 said:

Sorry brother. I should have included that info.

We stayed at Hotel Omid. It was newly renovated in Feb-2016. To be honest, I don't know the rate. I worked a package deal with the person who arranged the entire trip.

I will provide the details at the end.

No akhi, you don't need to apologize.

You are already sharing this beautiful trip with us

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Latest Blog Entries

    • By 3wliya_maryam in deep poetry
         0
      Am I not allowed to grow a little confidence?
      To get past my self consciousness?
       
      Why youse gotta restrict me 
      From getting rid of my insecurity
      Youse will never understand why I keep disobeying
      Youse may think I'm selfish, but I keep praying 
      Hoping for a miracle to pass by and change your minds
       
      I know that it's for my protection 
      But I'm old enough to depend on my own
      Everyday I keep staring at my reflection 
      Wondering when youse will leave me alone.
       
      But seriously though
       
       
      Am I not allowed to grow a little more confidence?
      To get past my self consciousness?
    • By 3wliya_maryam in deep poetry
         0
      I'm only pretty if I have enough likes
      I'm not so pretty if I only have five 
       
      I'm only popular if I have many friends 
      I'm only special if I start to follow these trends
       
      I only get noticed with makeup
      Without it I'm no longer recognised
       
      You need that flat stomach and those fine curves 
      So you choose to put yourself  through that pain you don't deserve
      Starving yourself till your rib cages begin to show
      You want to be like the rest, because your self esteem is so low
       
      Society is committing a crime
      With how they define beauty
      Girls can no longer be themselves
      'Cause they fear society's judgements.
       
      Society made you forget your true beauty 
      That lies beneath all those flaws.
       
      "And you don't have to change a thing the world can change its heart" ~ Alessia Cara
    • By Bakir in Reflections
         0
      Tolerance is inherently moral and necessarily social. And it can only be applied to people who are different, people you wouldn't consider part of "your" group. It is taught, a developed moral characteristic that may become part of who you are. We aren't born tolerant though, and that is why so many groups of influence have tried to develop this concept of group. Fascism itself is based on it. Our natural intolerance spreads as the worst virus if there are no forces to put an end to it. This is what sociology, so far, has been able to appreciate in the concept of tolerance at a macro-social level, and it has its reasons.
      If tolerance is not natural to us, but rather "homophily" (the preference of those with similar characteristics: race, socio-economical class, ideology, etc.), then tolerance is a trait that we can only develop through education, and only if we find it any useful or right.
      In the Qur'an it was already pointed that we were created in different groups:
      "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another." (Surat al Hujurat)
      So I can just expect that for an early Arabic society this indeed meant a call for tolerance for a religion that was going to spread across many nations. It was useful. However, nowaday, this is not what we, as individuals, face. Living in a globalized world, being connected by the Internet and its very own culture, tolerance seems less and less necessary and useful. Ideologies and groups compete between each other, and a call for tolerance is against the efforts to reinforce that feeling of group. It isn't useful for many. Not to mention that tolerance is a highly difficult trait to acquire, as it requires great efforts of empathy. Ask yourselves to which point can you accept the different? And I don't mean their mere existence, most don't care about that. I mean tolerating someone different that is part of your life, in some way or another. We have always been taught to be tolerant when it has been useful, but not because it is good, because it is morally right. Because it is not among the interest of any group of influence. Groups, as the master of history and sociology of the Muslim world once said, Ibn Khaldun, have only one goal: power.
      That's why, even revolutions, that are supposed to be the fight for ideas, end up in some sort of fascism and/or dictatorship. Even when the people that lead them truly wanted free elections (modern history is full of examples of this, it is something we can't avoid). They are still necessary, though, for the progress of ideas.
      What happens, however, in our societies? In the West, tolerance has been imposed as something useful, but racism, mysogyny, LGBTphobia, etc. are still realities that many people even hate to discuss (many people attack feminism, for instance). In the Muslim world, tolerance died centuries ago, and an enormous amount of groups appeared. We are still reinforcing through our culture this intolerance, based on unreasonable discrimination: country of origin, skin color, studies, amount of money, gender, sexuality, beliefs, family/tribe name, etc. You can realize this inability to accept the different for instance in the topic of marriage, at what type of characteristic will people, parents, or ourselves if we have sons or daughters to marry, will look at. And it's not always the obvious (like don’t be racist). It is usually ideological. We can't accept other mentalities because we weren't taught about that, because the group we belong to doesn't want that.
      Tolerance isn't only about accepting black people, or trans people, or seeing women as equals. People will probably try to appear as tolerant in that sense, because it is useful for them. However, as a moral trait, these people are not genuinely tolerant, but conveniently civilized. Real tolerance is being able to respect others by their opinion, beliefs, lifestyle, and of course, biological circumstances. Accept them as long as you are not tolerating the intolerant.
      This conflict is paradoxical, and it is a well known paradox in social sciences (originally proposed by Karl Popper). The problem with tolerating the intolerant, as I said at the start of this entry, is precisely how fast and easily their intolerance spreads (because it is natural). As individuals and iA as free thinkers, we should fight to develop tolerance within ourselves and condemn intolerance even when it is present in those people who are part of "our" group (be it our racial "group", ideological, whatever). Intolerance isn't a joke, it's a social human and moral issue of high importance, and has always shaped our destiny.
      Thus, I can only advise my readers to dedicate some time to observe that aspect of their hearts, if they behaved in a tolerant manner, identify our errors, ask for forgiveness to the Most Merciful, and ask him to guide us and make us more aware of being tolerant when we are, again, tested in life. Remember to ask Him to guide me as well, iA.
    • By 3wliya_maryam in deep poetry
         1
      Please let me help you 
      Let me help you get this through 
      We share the same blood
      And I want you to be loved
       
      Look I know that you're depressed
      And I know that you're in distress
       
      But I wish you could open up
      Instead of always shutting up
      You choose to conceal yourself 
      And I still don't know why 
      sometimes I hate myself 
      For even having to try 
      To make you fess up 
       
      I know you don't want my help 
      Maybe I do suck at giving advice 
      But why should I leave you to silently yelp
      When I'm here for you, but you're just like ice
       
      I am always contemplating
      And always wondering
      Whether I've done more than enough 
       
      I want to be there for you
      But you keep pushing me away
      So I chose to do the same
       
      Please let me help you 
      Let me help you get this through
      We share the same blood
      And I want you to be loved.
    • By 3wliya_maryam in deep poetry
         0
      When I'm in pain you say it won't last
      But I see you still paining about the past
       
      When I'm in tears you tell me to keep smiling
      But I still see you curled up in the corner crying
       
      You tell everyone it'll be alright 
      But the space around you is tight 
       
      You tell everyone you're fine
      But I already know that's a lie
       
      It's never that easy to let go 
      That strong feeling of betrayal
      But one day they'll know 
      Just how much they left you in denial .
       
      "It's never easy to walk away, let it go
      Nothing heals the past like time" ~ Dean Lewis
    • By starlight in Light Beams
         0
      Part II A Detailed Description of the Method and Way of Godward Wayfaring
      My notes on the book's content. I had to reformat and reduce the size of file to meet the specifications of the forum. Hopefully this image will be readable after zooming.

    • By 3wliya_maryam in deep poetry
         0
      You say it was a curse
      'Cause I became worse
      You say I am being punished
      'Cause I caused my old self to be diminished
      You say I am beginning to deteriorate
      As time passes by
      I don't know how much longer I can wait
      As I sit there and cry
      Staring at the blank wall
      Hoping for a miracle
      You say it was a curse
      But I believe it was a test
      You say I became worse
      But I am trying my best
      To return to where I was.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Blog Statistics

    73
    Total Blogs
    376
    Total Entries
×