Once Inhabited, Kharanaq


The bed was so comfortable that I woke up by 10 and the dining table’s chair was so comfortable that I had an extended breakfast. Well, the former is true, the latter was because I spent time talking to a French lady who was quite familiar with India, her arts and had also learned bharatnatyam!!

Now that’s a fancy thing to talk about in a hotel in Iran with a foreigner, well the conversation lasted till we ran out of arts to discuss and I realized that Celine would be waiting. She arrived not much later and we went to her hostel to book the taxi. After a great round of bargaining via the hotel’s manager, we managed something for IRR 850K (USD 25) to the village of Kharanaq.
The drive was pretty scenic and took over 1 hour long passing through a Mars-like desert. We rode in like ambassadors to the place with all eyes on us. The town has a modern part and the old one is the relic itself which sits in one corner of the area. It reminded me of a site called Vardzia in southern Georgia, except this is made of mud and not carved into a mountain.
We walked through the maze for over an hour and stopped to click pics at every junction possible. It was rather surprising how fragile yet intact the whole structure was despite inhabitation so close to its proximity. Aging back to over 1000 years, this abandoned village gives one a feeling of being present in a Lord of the Rings set. Gives a great glimpse how civilizations must have existed back then. Very soon, hunger got the best of us and we walked over to the new town part to pick up some snacks at the shop, and the folks were more than happy to receive us. Nibbling on whatever we got, the journey back home began. Enroute, we decided to extend the trip for another IRR 200K (USD 6) and visit the Towers of Silence (something not to be missed if you are in Yazd).
As luck would have it, the site was shut and we got dropped of at the Kharanaq Square.
Next up was the lovely Jameh Mosque, whose slim fit minarets and facade overlook the town. Sat there for a bit making fun of some Italian tourists who had come in a group (disclaimer – in all innocence, no harm meant). Right around the corner was the Mausoleum of Roknoddin, which was average and undergoing renovation, so nothing much to do. The caretaker however caught us on our way out and served us tea + biscuits at the adjacent building where he stayed.
After our dose of noon tea, we looked for a rooftop are where we could get a good view of the city. The best we managed was the rooftop restaurant of Orient Hotel, one of the famous ones in Yazd and highly recommended for staying. The cozy couch on the rooftop overlook Jameh to the west and right behind it, the setting sun. The food here was good albeit slightly expensive compared to other places, but the view compensated for it.
While we sat talking crap, an Austrian came out of nowhere and looked rather bechara (a hindi word that is tough to translate but means someone pitiful/helpless), so the generous souls we were, asked him to join us. He had one god damn thick accent and probably was one of the most boring persons  I had come across (this has nothing to with Austrians), Celine too agreed and our conversations had come to screeching halt. We had to excuse ourselves saying we were tired, a poor excuse indeed. But poor fellow, he bought it and let us go.
So yes, the day ended so and we made our way back to our respective accommodations. You see, Yazd is a place to not just visit but soak in. It’s charm lies in the old town with high walls that make it seem like a maze and will somehow lead you to the same place again and again. A few days into it and the maze’s familiarity starts to get friendly. I must say, there is some beauty about this place that makes it hard for words to express and of course attracts tons of tourists. Good night
Stay: Kohan Hostel
Price: 10 USD / night
Type: Dorm
Places Visited:
Kharanaq – IRR 850 (USD 25) by taxi

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