For a change, my second consecutive morning during a trip began without a hangover. I checked out after the pure wheat breakfast and was off to the south bus terminal, Terminal – e- jonoob on the metro headed to kahzriak.
From the station, a 5 min walk led me to the terminal with swanky buses. I was guided almost instantly to the bus heading to Kashan. Enter and boom, i had never seen a bus as spacious. The seats and leg space were as comfortable as that in a business class seat (not that i have flown one). this was a steal for 150K (INR 300) and you are even served juice+biscuits. 3 hours, a smooth ride and we arrived in Kashan, a quaint little town with limited noise. I took the taxi from the bus stop for 100K to the Khan-e-ehsan, a rather popular hotel there. In no time i was in a burning hot street outside mud houses that must have been decades old.
The alley led me to the hostel, which, living up to its name was magnificent. It was a traditional house converted into a hotel with a large courtyard + fountain, etc. I checked in and my dorm was below the ground, surprisingly cool given the heat outside. It contained 6 beds with unjustified access to the lone fan and i wasn’t the lucky one. Anyway, i didnt waste too much of time and found that they serve only dinner and no lunch. So my search for falafel led me to a shop at the square not very far. This was followed by a 15 minute walk in the opposite direction led me to the traditional houses, for which, the city is known for.
First stop was the Tabatabei house where i bought a combo ticket for 350K (INR 700) that included entrances to the one i was in + sultan amir bath house + Abbasi house. so this house is over a century old and occupies over 5000 sq metres with yards, gardens, dozens of rooms. It is treat to see this because of the detailing that has gone into every room, doors, stained glass, ceilings, etc. Done clicking tons of pictures, i stepped out and was sitting outside a shrine going through my cam when the caretaker with a big smile started chatting. He asked about myself and ushered me into the shrine bringing one of those big fans. He went on to offer me tea and water with the most pleading face that i declined with an even more thankful expression on mine.
A short break to recuperate, i was on my way to the next stop. before that, i stopped at a souvenir shop where the extremely curious and warm owner and i spoke for over 45 minutes. He was a textile engineer now running a shop who spoke pretty good english and referred to his dusty dictionary every now and then when he couldn’t find certain words. We were joined by 2 French ladies and a local accompanying them , one of whom would go on to become a good friend during the trip.
After the incessant chit chatting, i proceeded to the Abbasi house. this was less impressive compared to the previous one and lacked the grandeur.
Next was the sultan amir hammam, which was indeed impressive. not in use anymore, the tile work and old cots gave it a pretty rustic feel.
I walked back to my hostel and stopped at the Agha Bozorg mosque right opposite it. this was built in the late 18th century and is rather noteworthy for its symmetry. i picked up a sim card (rightel) for 200K with 512mb of data and went to the hostel for activation but they directed me to another shop down the square. So i had to get it done there for 40K. the evening was waking up by then and the time was right for me to get back. Dinner was an eggplant dish called kashke badamjaan, really loaded dish with walnuts and oil…perfect recipe to get to bed.
Price: USD 15
Tabatabei House – 350K (combo ticket including the next 2)