Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Tourist Highlights
Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari is the name of a small Province in the southwest of Iran, situated in the west of Esfahan province. Geographically, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari is located among the central Zagros Mountain Range, full of tourist highlights for adventure seekers. In this part of Zagros, the Zardkuh mountains chain is the most famous sub-range, making it the best spot for adventurous travelers. Zardkuh “yellow mountain” has a few important peaks above 4000m. Zard in Persian means yellow and Kuh means mountain. MT. Kolonchin (4200 m) is the most famous one, perfect for summer ascent. These mountains have huge volumes of snow in winter, and they are the main sources of water for the two main Iran rivers of Karun and Zayande-Rud. Moreover, there are a lot of springs, waterfalls, and underground water reserves in various parts of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province in different parts of the mountains.
The weather and climate of this province along with the high-altitude mountains and geographical features of this region made this land a perfect place for livestock breeding for the local tribes. The highlight of this province is the nomadic lifestyle of Bakhtiari tribes who live in a different part of the Central Zagros Mountains.
Bakhtiari Lifestyle, the Most Prominent Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Tourist Highlight
The most important tourist highlight in Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari province is visiting the Bakhtiari tribes who are living in the mountains with a very basic life. They have a long history and for thousands of years, they have been living with their traditional culture in this land. Seeing their tribes and staying in their houses in villages or their basic nomadic tents in the mountains would be one of the most unforgettable experiences that you could have in Iran. The best type of experience would be to attend their seasonal migration “Kooch” from cold lands to hot lands or vice versa. They do Kooch twice a year. Kooch is the specific name for nomadic migration for Nomadic Tribes of Iran. In early spring, they start their Kooch and move from low lands to high lands called Yeylagh in Persian. At the end of summer or early autumn, they are going to pack and do their second annual Kooch from the high mountains toward the lower lands for the cold season and it’s called Gheshlagh in Persian.
If you would like to travel with them along their Kooch, you have to spend a couple of weeks to join a part of their route.
In this unforgettable journey, the whole family travels with their children along with animals, including goats, sheep, dogs, and mules, with all the temporary necessities of nomadic life.
The Bakhtiari men’s clothes have a few different elements: a hat “kolah Namadi” mostly in black and rarely brown, a jacket “Choogha” which is white/milky, a special uniform design of stripes with black color, pants “Dabit” which is only black, and shoes “ Giveh” which is white and sometimes black. In some regions, they wear a special vest along with a Shawl for winter.
Women’s colorful clothes have 8 different elements of Lachak, Bonaee, Mina, Band Sozan, Dastmal, Blouse, Geri pants, and shoes.
What to Do and the Activities
- Trekking in the Zardkuh Mountains
Another highlight of this region is the spectacular mountains of Zardkuh chain which are perfect for trekking and mountaineering. The perfect season for trekking starts from the beginning of spring, about April, and it’s finished at the beginning of autumn. For those who would like to have a challenging trek or climb to high mountains, the season starts around the end of spring, about June, and finishes at the end of summer, about September.
- Ski Touring in Zardkuh
During the winter season, this mountain region and Zardkuh chain are perfect for Ski Touring and backcountry skiing. Chelgerd is a small town located in the foothills of the Zardkuh mountains. It’s the base of the winter activity in Iran in the Zagros mountains, located in the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province.
- Mountain Biking
Along with trekking and ski touring activities, the province has a lot of villages and rural regions connected through dirt roads and making a perfect track for mountain biking. The view of the high mountains on the road, the nomad tents, and tribal settlements along with the activities of the shepherds provide scenic scenery during cycling in Bakhtiari regions.
Photography Trip in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Tourist Highlights
If you are a photographer or photography is one of your interests for traveling, Bakhtiari nomadic land is one of the best places for photography in Iran. In addition to all attractions and experiences that you could have in this region, photography would be on top of everything else. The amazing landscape of the mountains and the canyons create the perfect picture for photographers.
To have a better idea about the type of terrain and scenery of this region, please have a look at our landscape photo Gallery of the Bakhtiari nomadic region. The people are the other highlights of this region which is perfect for those who do portrait photography. Spring is the best travel time for the Photography of Bakhtiari nomads in Iran.
What to Eat
Another attraction of this province is Bakhtiari KABAB. In any restaurant in Iran with a barbeque, you see this name on the menu in the Persian language and it’s obvious how important Bakhtiari meat is in Iran. There are many different types of KABAB in this region in every restaurant. Shishlik, Barg, Kobideh, Dandeh “rips”, T-bones, and Gigar “liver” are the most famous kababs of Bakhtiari you should try when you travel to Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province.
Doogh is the popular drink of the nomadic tribe and it is made of high-quality yogurt and water with the additive of herbs and salt.
Arts and Culture
Other customs of this province are music and poetry. Both are the most popular entertainment in the nomad’s everyday life.
On special occasions, men and women dance together. They have different kinds of dances and it’s so interesting.
Bakhtiari tribes are famous for handicrafts. The most popular handicrafts of this province are carpet weaving, felt making, hat making, drugget weaving, coarse blanket weaving, and lock making.
For more information, please check A Guide to Bakhtiari Nomadic Region.