An introduction to the city of Chabahar
chabahar is an incredible port with lots of unique natural attractions like no other anywhere else in Iran.
Reasons to travel to Chabahar
- Chabahar is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Iran.
- There are lots of different natural attractions to put in your itinerary while traveling to this city, namely The Martian Mountains, the mud volcanoes, The Pink Lake, Hara Forests, etc.
- A big part of a nature preserve called “Gando”, which is the habitat of the only crocodile species native to Iran, is located in Chabahar County.
- Easy access to a wide range of high-quality goods at super great prices makes traveling to Chabahar a marvelous idea.
- Due to its geographical location, Chabahar has a lot of beautiful beaches where you could engage in a variety of fun activities, like scuba-diving, jet-ski riding and etc.
Culture and customs
Unlike many Iranian cities where the people have forgotten and think no more of their customs and traditions, natives of Baluchestan still, to a great extent, maintain and observe their traditional beliefs and rituals. You will learn more about these customs later on.
Ramadan rituals :
The people of Baluchestan are really dedicated to religious customs and put a lot of effort and energy into accurately observing these customs. Ramadan is one of the most important months for the muslims of this area, who have various ways of spending their time during this month, and they spend the previous month (Sha’ban) making plans for their time in Ramadan.
Upon the arrival of the second half of Sha’ban, Baluchi folks sacrifice a goat or a sheep and use the meat to prepare a local dish made of rice and dried meat called “Tabahak”, which takes up to 10 days to prepare. In addition to this dish, other foods like Betmash, Nan-Timoosh, Pekoureh, and Shirini-Changal are also made to be served in Ramadan.
During this time of year, in an effort to welcome Ramadan, the locals do a lot of house-cleaning and older women take on cleaning the mosque. Once the cleaning is over, the inside of the mosque is scented with musk, “Ood”, and a fragrance called “Soocheki”.
After the “Ghadr” days begin, a clergyman gets into a tent inside the mosque and starts praying 24/7 and stays inside the mosque until the eve of the Fetr Eid. And the locals hand their charity money over to him the night before the Eid.
People usually spend the final days of Ramadan getting ready to celebrate the Fetr Eid, then they go shopping and buy new clothes and other things they might need. Furthermore, Baluchi women and girls use henna to draw beautiful shapes and patterns on their hands.
The Fetr Eid
This is the day Balouch people gather around in a place called “Eid-gah” and say the prayers of “The Fetr Eid Day” in a united and glorious manner. After the prayer, they shake hands and hold each other in their arms (which, according to Balouchi tradition, is always done at the end of a praying session). Then they visit relatives, congratulate one another on the arrival of this day, consume bread, pastries and local date cookies.
The Ghorban Eid
The Ghorban Eid is of great significance for Balouchi folks and is celebrated in three days. On the day of Ghorban Eid, people get together at “Eid-gah”, a few families chip in and get a camel to be sacrificed, so that the needy can feed on its flesh. Folks visit relatives and family friends on this day and ask each other for forgiveness.
In Balouchi areas, marriage is made up of 8 different stages and takes 3 days and nights to complete. These stages are known Among the locals as Henna-doozi, Jal-bandi, Barband-mal, Gandonan, Habar-jani, Sarapi, Mashateh, Shab-Yekjayi and include rituals like the proposal party, “Baleh-boroon”, determining the amount of alimony, “Jal-bandi”, ”Henna-bandan, the wedding party as well as other customs and rituals.
It is impossible to talk about Balouchestan and not say anything about Balouchi music. Every Balouchi person has Balouchi music as a major part of their life since the day they’re born till the day they die, and find parts of their identity and feelings in this type of music. Balouchi musical instruments include Ghichak, Tanburg, Robab, Bancho, Ney(Nel), Dohol, Koozeh, and Dinbook. And Balouchi musicians are known by names like Loori, Looli, Langa, Pahlavan (the champ), and Sha’er (the poet).
Another lovely and bountiful part of the culture of Balouchestan is a variety of dances, namely Do-chayi, Seh-chayi, Lanki,Kopko and etc, which are done in wedding parties. “Liva” is also the name of a form of dance performed in celebratory ceremonies, which is accompanied by musical instruments like Sorna, Dohol (drums), Liva, and a smaller Dohol (snare drums).
Traditional Balouchi games
Much like other cities and regions in this country, Balouchestan has lots of local games of its own, which sadly, are slowly fading into obscurity. Some of these games are “Padeshah-vazir” (The king and the minister), “Chol-bazi”, “Choob-bazi”, “Sorkh-pari zard pari” (The red fairy and the yellow fairy), Eshkatily, Kolah-chelchel, Koshti-kaj-kardoon” and atc.
Most Balouchi foods are mainly made of meat, fish, and dates and served with rice and bread. Unlike many other southern cities, Balouchi folks don’t really use hot spices in their food very often. Later we’ll go over some of the foods common in this region.
Gahlieh-mahi is THE most famous dish in southern Iran and is made from the fish of the south, scented herbs, and tamarind. In order to prepare this food, you’d need one of the many types of southern fish (such as The narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, the black pomfret, the “Sangsar” fish, the “Hamoor” fish, seer fish, the pink seabream, etc), fresh minced vegetables, onions, tamarind, garlics, and spices.
Balouchi “Tabahak” and “Istanbuli”
Tabahak -apart from being a local food- is actually a traditional way of preserving meat, which is still implemented by the people of Balouchestan. The meat obtained as a result of this process, can be used both by itself and also as one of the ingredients of this dish called “Balouchi Istanbuli”. While preparing Tabahak, the meat is flavored with some pomegranate powder and salt, and then is sun-dried. After that, the meat is placed inside of a water skin, the water is then tied up, so that the meat can be used whenever needed.
Beryani mahi is originally an Indian dish but it’s also made and served in Chabahar and Balouchestan. In contrast to other Indian foods, this one is not very spicy and is made of Indian rice, a piece of salmon, full-fat yogurt, coriander, and lime juice among other things.
This one is mainly served during Ramadan and when it’s raining and its main ingredients are rice, oil, mung beans, and fragrant additives. Balouchi people eat this food with pickled mangos and believe that eating it is much more enjoyable when it’s raining.
This omelet is prepared using an herb called “soozi”; which of course can also be replaced with spinach; but spinach wouldn’t taste quite as good as “soozi”. The main ingredients of Soozi omelet include onions, potatoes, eggs, garlics, salt, pepper and oil.
Another food popular Balouch people is Mahig-pech, which is mostly prepared and eaten during rainy seasons. You would need fish and flour for this. First you wanna make some dough from wheat flour, and then roast the fish on date leaves, and ultimately put the fish inside the dough and bake it in the furnace.
Local breads account for a big portion of the Balouchi people’s foods. In the local dialect spoken in Chabahr, bread is called “Negan” and the local breads of this region include various kinds of furnace-baked bread, “Tini” bread, the special bread of the nomads, and corn bread.
The Changal pastry
The Changal pastry is among the most well-known Balouchi pastries and most nomads serve their guests with it. It is eaten with doogh (a yogurt-based drink) and is also one of the most delicious parts of the Iftar table in Ramadan. The ingredients needed for Changalar are grain flour, dates and oil.
Shoodeh is one of the foods whose main components include date. What you need to prepare this dish is a mixture of dates, sesames, almonds and pennyroyal
Like many other snacks, Shoudeh is also one that contains dates as one of its ingredients. What you need to prepare it is a mixture of dates, sesames, almonds, and pennyroyal. In Chabahar, Shoudeh is considered an organic food.
Pickled lemons and mangoes
In their local dialect, the people of Chabahar refer to pickled lemons as “Haram” and use them along with pickled mangoes, which the locals call “Jatni” to add extra flavor to all different kinds of foods.
The foods in Chabahar and Balouchestan are incredibly diverse, so much so that it’s just not humanly possible to fit all of them into only one article. Some of the other local foods and snacks found in this region include boiled herbs, Karahi, Lanjoo, Dood-peti, Dough-pa, Mahi-kabab (roasted fish), Havari, Anbag, Mashing, Korak, Gloo-hak, Naroosh, Kish, Dalag, Sabzak, Haliseh, Halabi dates, Khonabi dates and etc.
Souvenirs and handicrafts
Much like other cityies in Iran, Chabahar also has its own share of various types of handicrafts and souvenirs, which we’ll talk about as we go further in the article.
The most well-known handicrafts made in the Sistan and Balouchestan province are mainly needlework, and the best kind of this form of art is produced in this very region. Needlework is the art of decorating fabric where colorful strings and pins and needles are used to create patterns on pieces of fabric. These patterns are largely based on the dreams of Balouchi girls and women and hacked on bed sheets, Sajadeh (a piece of cloth people pray on), table clothes, clothing and so on… Needlework is divided into several different categories, such as silk work, needle braiding, sewing Pateh, sewing Mamaghan, sewing Sormeh, bead work, sewing cacoons, sewing Khameh, sewing Kamands.
Handicrafts made of straw
Straw-based handicrafts are made both for domestic use and to be exported, and include different types of vases, crock baskets (Kopad), bags and purses made of straw, bread baskets, carpets, hand fans and …
This form of art is considered to be one of Chabahar’s most impotant kinds of handicrafts. Balouchi folks use coin-sewn textures to cover and decorate bed linen, and to decorate the camel’s neck in wedding parties.
Embroidery and flower patterns
Hand-made decorations like embroidery and flower patterns are the art of the women of Chabahar county.
This form of art involves taking the shells produced inside the country, and washing and polishing them. And ultimately, various pieces of cut shells are joined together to form beautiful patterns.
Ornaments refer to a series of decorative objects that are made by polishing all types of sea snails. Country women and the women of the nomads use these snails to make ornamental pendants and bracelets, ribbons for margins of bed linen, special fibers to decorate camels and etc.
Fresh fish and shrimps
Among popular souvenirs of the port of Chabahar are different sorts of fish shrimps. You place the fish and the shrimps in the fridge, freeze them over, bring them your friends and loved ones as souvenirs.
Lando is a type of pastry made of dates, wheat, and sesames and the guests in Chabahar are served with it.
Musical instruments and marine handicrafts, all sorts of household appliances, exercise equipment, make-up kits, traditional ornaments, chador sewing, local scarves, veils and wool clothing, spices, medicinal herbs, blankets, dishes and utensils, fabric, tea, nescafe, chocolate, fragrants and etc are some more of the souvenirs in the Chabahar region.
One of Chabahar’s most important travel attractions is its numerous natural attractions you see in this city; the kind of hotspots that you can never find anywhere else in Iran.
The Chabahar Golf
This golf is one of the prettiest golves in the country and has one the most beautiful views of sunset and sunrise. All throughout this golf, lots of yachts and fishing boats are seen and its beach is really food for surfing. Chabar is located in the east of the country.
It is in the most far-out southeast regions of Iran and has unique nature and weather and sort of depicts the atmosphere of the planet Mars (the way it is purported in the movies). This golf is also one of the most essential shrimp-catching centers.
Sandy beaches of The Arabian Sea
One of Chabahar’s most beautiful natural attractions, is the sandy beaches and the sea rocks of Oman, which are located on the southern shore of this city is considered a place really suitable for recreational purposes.
Fishing wharfs like Bris, Tis, and Ramin
There are numerous fishing wharfs in Chabahar, and the three mentioned earlier are a lot more beautiful and more spectacular than the others and attract a lot of tourists to photograph, understand and relish the surroundings in which the fishing is done, and to gaze helplessly at the mesmerizing view of all the colorful boats floating around.
In some parts of Chabahar’s shore, a natural phenomenon can be seen referred to as the wave hole (or wave volcano). This is a
phenomenon where the waves hit the shore and get thrown up into the air through some holes on the beach and can go as high as 20 meters at times. This happens when seasonal winds are blowing in Chabahar (chiefly in summer time) and on the shore of the big sea and the coastal road that connects Chabahar to Bris.
Another one of Chabahar county’s intriguing natural phenomena is the phenomenon of mud volcanoes, where mud and slurries are erupted out of the ground and take on the shape of domes. The Tang-kenarak mud volcano, which is 110 kilometers from Chabahar, is the most famous and the most active mud volcano in Iran.
The protected area of Gando and the Baho-kolat river
This area sits on the east side of Chabahar county and the south side of Sarbaz county, and is named after the Iranian short-snouted crocodile called “Gando”. The Gando area encompasses the rovers “Sarbaz” and “Baho-colat”, the ponds in the habitat of the wetland crocodile and the coastal lands of the Arabian sea. The Baho-kolat river, which passes through this very region and leads to The Guater golf, plays a pivotal role in the environment of the Chabahar region and the habitat of the only crocodile species native to Iran.
Observing the wildlife of Chabahar
Due to the presence of fascinating species like the Balouchi camel, the white-tailed sea eagle, the Short-snouted Gando crocodile, the crooked-toothed dolphin, the sea turtles, the Tamarisk and the Sequoia Dendron trees, the karira trees, the wildlife in Chabahar attracts an increasingly high number of enthusiasts to this part of the environment.
* To watch the sea turtles, you can go to the Turtles beach, which is on Ramin coastal road located near Guater, any time of the year.
The Lipar pink lake
The Lipar pink lake is one of the most well-known natural attractions of Chabahar and is located along the Chabahar coastal road to Guater. The color of the water in this lake is mainly pink throughout the year and also turns orange or red sometimes. Some of the fun activities to engage in while traveling to this lake is watching the different kinds of birds that fly by the area such as coots, flamingoes, grebes, all different species of herons, The western swamphen and etc.
The Martian mountains
The martian mountains are another part of what makes Chabahar such an attactive region; a natural phenomenon whose shape and the material it’s made of have created such a unique and spectacular sight to see. These mountains start in the “Gacho” area and spread parallel to the sea all the way to the Guater golf.
The fig tree of Mo’abod
The Mo’abod fig tree, or the “Kurg” tree in the local dialect, has a strange appearance and grows along the coast of Chabahar and has become the symbol of this area. The fig tree of Mo’abod is known for its big broad crown and mostly grows to be over 100 years old.
Satan’s island is the easternmost island in Iran and has a rocky appearance. The island goes under water when the tide is on the flow and reappears when it’s on the ebb. It is said that the reason to name this island after Satan is because of the night-time drowning of a myriad of boats near the island under suspicious circumstances.
The Hara forest
The Hara forests contain the trees that are rooted down in the salt water of the sea, and are completely saturated with water. These forests are among the best places to watch the birds, but in order to watch them in Chabahar, one would have travel all the way to the Guater region.
Lion Mount or The Sphinx
This mount is one of most unique sights to see along the coastal road in Bris, and it’s located in the beginning of the Martian Mountains area. Over time, factors like rainfall, the wind, and soil erosion have caused the mount to take the shape of the Egyptian sphinx, and therefore be known by the same name.
Some other natural attractions in Chabahar, just to name a few, include the sandy beach of Tis, the coastal road of Chabahar, the botanical garden of Tis, Pasa-bandar wharf, the Baan Mesiti caves and temple, the Pezem golf, The Big See rocky beach, the duckweed carpet, and etc.
You might find it quite interesting that in addition to its various natural attractions, Chabahar also has plenty of historic sights, which we’re going to go over briefly.
The village “Tis”
This village, which encloses the port of Tis, is one of the historic villages in southern Iran and, by all accounts, dates back to 2500 years ago. Among the historic sights in this village, are the ruins of Tis, Shirak Sant, The Tis Castle or the Castle of the Portuguese, The Pirooz-gat castle, The Balouch-gat castle, The Genani-gech graveyard (The Cemetery of the elves), the ancient well of Tis kooban, the dams of Tis, The historic mountains of Shahbazband, and the central mosque of Tis.
The sanctuary of Seyed Gholam Rasoo
This sanctuary is about 5 kilometers northwest of the city of Chabahar and dates back to the year 456 in the lunar calendar. One of its main features is its white walls built in accordance with Indian-style architecture. The most intriguing part about Seyed Gholam Rasool is the story that is told about this person. The story has it that on the very night that he marries his Chabahari wife, Seyed Gholam feels ill and dies shortly after; but as he draws his last breaths, he asks people to spend 10 days celebrating at his grave instead of mourning his death, so that his spirit would find happiness and peace. This custom was still being observed up until a few decades ago.
The telegram building
This building is a keepsake from the English, which was built in this region by the company “East India”. This two-story structure is considered to be one of the oldest telegram buildings in Iran and is now in the vicinity of Chabahar’s post office.
The Dasht-yari old graveyard
The origins of this graveyard, which is located in Dashtyari count, dates all the back to the pre-historic era and the iron age. And the most important object extracted from the graves, is some kind of pottery item glazed with a white substance.
Kheidr is the name of one of the divine prophets and muslims believe he is alive. The people of Chabahar also believe that Kheidr is the patron saint of their yachts and boats and the sea. Therefore, his walkway is really respected among the locals and they give away a lot of food like dates, and halva is his honor.
The ancient area of Mount Damb
This ancient area is located 90 kilometers northeast of Chabahar in the Baho-kolat region and is 4500 to 5000 years old. The graves found in this area, are in the shape of small rooms sized 1 by 1, 5 by 2, 1 , and 2 by 2 meters.
Some other historic attractions of Chabahar county are the old Gomrok building, The Al-e-Rasool Hoseinieh, the village Kateeg, Anooshirvan’s castle, Batel castle, the Balan ancient well and etc.