It was on April 12, 2017 that I received a phone call from Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and was invited to join a vibrant group of young Iranian reporters and photographers on a trip to Ilam province and then to Kermanshah province in Iran. On this page I’ll focus on Ilam and then will write another page on Kermanshah afterwards. Well, as the head of Seven Hostels in Iran, I lead a very busy life. But I jumped on the opportunity for two major reasons. First, I love nature and I had heard great things about the natural attractions in Ilam. Second, I knew the province was one of the least explored parts of the country and so its nature was unspoiled. Before I move on and to get an idea about Ilam please check out the video below:
Ilam in Iran is a western province inhabited mostly by the hospitable Kurds. At a distance of around 700 km to the southwest of the capital Tehran, Ilam is located along Zagros Mountain Range going from the northwest of the country to its south. Around 3000 BC, the whole region was a part of the Elamite Empire and back then Ilam was a village referred to as Alam meaning the high lands where the sun comes up. It was quite a fortune that on this trip I made acquaintance of a great character called Nima who was a native from Ilam. His masculine and reserved nature perfectly reflected that of Ilam and helped me get a better grasp of the culture and mindset of the Kurds. Anyhow, we were a group of around 20, girls and guys with more than half girls. Which made the group a bit loud, but really warm and lively.
The Trip to Ilam
We boarded the plane leaving Tehran to Ilam at around 10 am in the morning of April 20. After an hour we landed at Ilam International Airport to the south of Ilam city which is the center of the province. Well, those who have already been in Iran know that the second half of April is just the best time for travelling to any province in Iran, let alone Ilam that has amazing mountainous nature. The weather in Ilam was just perfect. Well, we were received warmly by a group of local experts and officials, and joined them on a bus that was meant for taking us around the province. The whole tour in Ilam took us 3 days and we visited as many places as possible. Below is a list of some of tourist attractions in Ilam we visited along the tour including a short description and of course pictures.
Razianeh Canyon (Tangeh Razianeh)
As we left the airport we took the road heading southeast towards Darreh Shahr. It took us around 45 minutes to reach a beautiful place called Razianeh Canyon or as the locals call it Tangeh Razianeh. The scenery along the road and of course around the canyon was really beautiful; mountains all around, the oak trees, green fields, the river, etc. We left the bus next to the road, went hiking for an hour or so, took the pictures below, and got back to the side of the road for lunch. There were a couple of small towns on the way from which one can easily get great lamb chops and Saj bread to make a barbecue. We did so, and we also made a great Ilam herbal tea immediately after lunch.
Kaferi Canyon (Tangeh Kaferi)
Further ahead and along Seimareh River in Ilam there was another canyon called Kaferi Canyon which is called Tangeh Kaferi by the locals. The scenery offered by Kaferi Canyon was by far more beautiful and more interesting compared to that at Razianeh. One could also rent a boat there and paddle in the beautiful river walled by high mountains on both sides.
Mirgholam Hashemi Fort
It was time we visited a historic place and so we were taken to Mirgholam Hashemi Fort in Ilam located near Darreh Shahr and dating back to the Qajar Era. The most interesting feature of the fort was its architecture that was in the typical Persian style of having a great courtyard in the middle and a lot of rooms around. There was a small pool of water in the middle of the green courtyard and the rooms were pleasantly cool because of the thick walls and roof arcs. "One could start the best youth hostel in Ilam in this fort" I said to myself.
Zeynegan Cave (Qar-e Zeynegan)
In my opinion, the most interesting place we visited in Ilam was a cave called Zeynegan Cave. The cave is located near Saleh Abad, 50 km to the west of Ilam city i.e. the center of the province. To reach the entrance of the cave we had to take a truck in Saleh Abad and go on off-road. The off-road ride took us around half an hour and being a group of 20 young cheerful people packed on a small truck, it was such a fun ride. Time flies by when one is having fun, and so we reached the cave in a blink. The cave is so enchanting that it’s also known as The Paradise Cave by the locals. There was a shallow stream flowing out of the entrance to the cave on the sandy floor. We took our shoes off and went in straightaway. The pleasantly cool air inside the cave, the penetrating sunlight coming through the cracks in the ceiling, the beautiful plants on the walls of the cave, the echoing sound of water dripping from the walls and the ceiling, etc. It was just extraterrestrial. I cannot put in words here. You have to go and see it for yourself.
For further information or booking a tour similar to the tour above you can contact the following number via What’s App:
8/22/2017 7:57:30 PM