On the Persian land, was never in my checklist but my destiny! A visit to Tehran, Iran happened to me like I was called to see the wonders of this place. A lot of google search and reaching out to Indians at Tehran was my homework, but inspite of all the preparations my takehome were memories that included people, interactions and relationships there! For me it was a people country! Before I go on to tell about the culture, tradition and attraction here which were yet another part of this demure country, I would like to tell how my destined visit happened!
An onsite visit from my office to Dubai and Iran. Yes, though I wasn’t prepared for an onsite ,an urgent requirement pulled me to the land of Persians. A six month stay here, made me someone more than just a traveler. I had made up my mind to see places, learn the culture, embrace the independence inspite of having the big responsibility that was handed over to me from office as a single resource travelling for a particular work. Also the people person that I am, I was sure doing the former part better !!
Our outings to restaurants, visits to historical attractions, shopping all happened during our weekends, which were Thursdays and Fridays. Though I have a lot to speak about Iran, I wish to take my readers through the ambience, environment and the vibes here. Which includes my interactions with people, visiting a place and of course food and restaurant setup!
Its important that woman here needs to have a hijab(a scarf) over their head, a long jacket or shrug which covers your arms and shoes that covers feet. While getting off the airplane it was quite a marvel to see people put on their Hijabs, and so did I ! Because Iran isn’t a tourist place, I could see them notice me as a foreigner. The language spoken here is Farsi, and my through my initial interactions, I learnt that English wasn’t spoken as a medium of communication and so was quite tough to get around. Thanks to my Indian colleagues who taught me few words used on a daily basis, and the rest of my learning happened through my Persian colleagues who were so sweet and caring enough to teach. Visit a shop, a reception, a restaurant anywhere you are greeted with lots of regard, politeness and courtesy.
Iranians or Persians like knowing about you as a foreigner. All of my travel here, with a Persian friend or Indians together, the taxi driver or anyone you meet here makes sure to ask and know about you. They start from asking the place you belong to, your job and then your perception about Iran. Many Iranians are familiar about India, they address India as Hindustan. Hospitality is deep-rooted in their culture. Iranians happily welcome foreigners, and you can find that out even while on your evening stroll. Do you know of a country where people come take a selfie with you, because you are a foreigner ? well I love Persians for their humble and open nature. You are never short of information about a particular place here, wherever you go , you ll see the localites trying to help you in all ways possible, you will find them even manage speaking in English just to make sure you get what they say. My interaction with people at Iran was an experience in itself, which will be treasured wherever I am.
Tehran is known for its historical attractions, and like its said to learn the culture of a place visit the bazaars and streets of the cities there! I was fortunate enough to visit some of these places. My friend Elham, with whom I first saw around Tehran introduced to me these really beautiful busy streets, where we shopped, tried street foods and then finally visited Reza Abbasi Museum.Located at Seyed Khandan. This museum has many breathtaking, eloquent Persian art from Islamic and Pre-Islamic eras.
Next was a visit to Tochal Mountains. A start to my adventure, my first ever adventure trip. I was at the mountains, the telecabin travel, it was an experience! No Tochal isn’t a one time visit. Trekkers and climbers, this is their destination when planning to do some adventure. Tochal should be your must and if possible your first place to visit while at Iran. You cannot afford to miss this one.
My frequent visits to Grand bazaar and Tajrish market , got me close to the Persian culture. These places are untouched and preserves the authenticity of ancient Iran. From handcrafts, to your daily needs these markets have everything. A very tourist friendly place as well.
Milad tower, the sixth tallest tower. The Milad tower was a view from my apartments and had visited few days just before I was leaving Iran. The tower has a five star hotel, a world trade and a convention centre, with lots of attractions and activities. A walk around inside the tower starts with a small presentation which teaches us about Milad tower and its history. The view it provides standing 315 metres above the ground floor, is magnificent.
Tabiat Bridge- is pedestrian overpass beautifully made that connects two parks. Beautiful garden visit for garden and park lovers. Joggers, bikers(cyclists), you will find people coming in for their routine walks too.
Golestan Palace- one of the oldest historical monuments here, has a group of buildings that reminds you of the Persian palaces seen in movies. Beautiful throne made of marble, interiors and windows that speaks loud about Persian architecture. A mirror hall, with stunning mirror work. Talar-e-Brelian another hall with mirror work, beautiful chandeliers and decorations. Golestan palace is an exceptional and astonishing place, I feel fortunate to have visited.
Coming to Food. Iranian Cuisine is just divergent! Food here doesn’t call for spices. Tried a tasty food with no spices at all? Iranian food mostly is a non-vegetarian food with a variety of dishes. Rice,Stews and kebabs are the staple food. Dishes namely Juje kebabs(Chicken), Koobideh(rice with meat) were on my lunch mostly. Iranians also include lots of nuts and dry fruits in their diet. Fried tomatoes with flatbread along with nuts was dinner for most.
My experience being in Iran could not be just put it into this article. This demure country has lots hidden to explore. Am awaiting another trip to this place which would be a continuation of this beautiful affair!