Barandaz Lodge (Tabatabaei), Farahzad, Mesr Desert
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“Yalda”, under “Korsi” in the heart of central desert

Date: 17 December 2016   |    Source: Donyaye Eghtesad newspaper


The “longest night” of the year -Yalda-, under “Korsi” in the heart of central desert

Mesr and Farahzad Villages are located at a point where there is no other village around for kilometers. Therefore, many tourists choose to stay in the desert and watch the desert sky on Yalda Night (December 20), the longest night of the year, when they can enjoy the beauty of sky for as long as one minute more than other nights. To spend the longest night of the year, we recommend you the desert, where the earth is filled with love.

We arrived in Farahzad Village early in the morning. Undoubtedly, having breakfast in the heart of the central desert is a unique experience. After breakfast, we set out for hiking among the sand dunes and headed to Kal-Kalagh region, a pretty view in the heart of the desert where there are very high sand hills.

After we had lunch at one of the local houses like Barandaz Lodge, it was time to add a little more excitement to our trip. We drove to ‘Takht-e-Aroos’ (Bride Throne) sand hill on a safari vehicle and waited there to see one of the most beautiful sunsets we had ever seen in life.

What made the trip more pleasant was that we could sit around a fire in the same area, look at the night sky and see the stars through a telescope and learn about the constellations and celestial bodies from an expert. One of the most beautiful customs of people in Farahzad Village is unveiling Lakholi broth, their ethnic food.

But what is Lakholi broth? At about 9 to 10 a.m. the cooks burn the firewood till they turn into ash. Then, the cooks dig a hole into the ground and put a pot of raw ingredients for the broth in it. The broth is cooked with the heat of the ash and it takes about 6 to 7 hours to get ready. Until then, you can listen to the host explain about the food. When ready, he sweeps ashes with a shovel, cleans the pot lid and unveils the food so that the desert travelers are served with it.

Our programs continued; we went to the nearby villages and paid a visit to Garmeh which is a very lush village. Its attractions include beautiful palm fields and a cold water spring. If you step in the water, the fishes gather around your feet. We also visited Ateshooni guesthouse founded by Maziar Al-e-Dawood in the village.

After Germeh, we headed towards Bayazeh Village where there is an ancient castle from the Sasanian Empire (224-651 CE). It was a seven-storey castle with 750 connected rooms in the past; however, currently there are only four floors remaining and open to visit.

In order not to miss any sights, we went to the canals of Namak-khor salt lake, the largest seasonal salt lake in the plateau. It is worth knowing that the salt found there is not NACL but KCL. In the canals, you can see salt crystals floating on water; this is a one-time experience you can never have elsewhere. Afterwards, we went to the hexagonal desert, where the ground is formed with hexagonal-shape patterns as far as one can see. At the end of the horizon, we watched the spectacular view of sunset.

Now we get to the best part of the story. We had dinner at Barandaz Lodge in Farahzad Village and then a special ceremony for Yalda Night began. We sat around the korsi, a type of low table with a heater underneath and blankets thrown over it, with the cloth over our laps. We had nuts, watermelons and pomegranates and listened to Hafez poems and learned about the origins of the night. The opportunity to spend the longest night of the year in the desert is an experience which only happens once a year. We stayed up all night and in the morning we moved to the capital to return to our daily routine.