Amos Chapple is a travel photographer who made the following pictures over the course of three visits to the Islamic Republic of Iran between December 2011 and January 2013. The New Zealand freelancer said he “was amazed by the difference in western perceptions of the country, and what I saw on the ground… I think because access for journalists is so difficult, people have a skewed image of what Iran is — the regime actually want to portray the country as a cauldron of anti-western sentiment so they syndicate news footage of chanting nutcases which is happily picked up by overseas networks. For ordinary Iranians though, the government is a constant embarrassment. In the time I spent there I never received anything but goodwill and decency, which stands in clear contrast to my experience in other middle eastern countries. I met an American special forces soldier in Kyrgyzstan last year who said when it comes to the Middle East, America has the wrong friends and the wrong enemies.” Here is a selection of Chapple’s recent photographs of Iran, captions provided by the photographer. Click Here for some amazing photos……….
The Parsis may be a small community in terms of numbers, and it would have been quite easy for them to become invisible in this vast country of ours, but their accomplishments and sense of philanthropy has made them stand out. Here’s a look at how they landed in India, and managed to flourish while creating a deep respect and adoration in the hearts of Indians. Gangadharan Menon has interacted with his several Parsi friends and traveled to their historically important sites to recreate their history in words and photographs.
Click Here for the story
This presentation was produced by members of the Iranian Student Association (ISA) at the Pennsylvania State University for ISA’s 2013 Noe-Rooz Gala. It was primarily intended to provide non-Iranians with a glimpse of the geographical, cultural, and ethnic diversity of our beloved country, Iran. ISA has decided to share this presentation with the proviso that the material contained therein may not necessarily provide the best representation of the different regions of our great country. It is by no means intended to be a comprehensive representation of the geographical, cultural, and ethnic diversity of Iran.
Rustam claims there are 33 fire temples in and around Tashkent, most dating back to the 2nd century BC. We visited two: Ming Urik and Aktepa Yunus-Abad. Both mounds and dips of earth which some archeologists believe to be the sites of ancient Zoroastrian temples. During the journey to these sights, Rustam spoke at length about Ahura Mazda. The Avestan meanings, wisdom, creation, the universe, good versus evil, what it means to be a mazdayasni…. I asked him what he thought about Parsis not permitting conversions. He quoted from the Gathas of Zarathustra: Yasnas 30.2 and 45.1. I won’t paraphrase it here but it’s enough to say that in those passages (translated by C. Bartholomae), Zarathustra invites all people, men and women (narém, narem), from near and far, to come to him. Rustam put this question to me: Wasn’t King Vistasp a convert too? Didn’t the Zoroastrians of the ancient world belong to some other religion or cult before they became Zoroastrian?
Whether we consider them Zoroastrian or not is of no concern to them. What matters is that they feel wholly accepted by Ahura Mazda, the highest wisdom. Who cares what we think?
Click Here for this interesting account
Courtesy : Rusi Sorabji
An Archaeological Tour with volunteer participation in excavations of two sites on the Silk Road around Tadjikistan is being organized for expedition/excavation.
The program includes visits to the most outstanding archaeological and architectural monuments of this ancient land of the Zoroastrians, its museums, volunteer participation in excavations of the tremendous site of Hisorak in the mountains of Central Tajikistan, and the Ancient Panjakent, the best documented Sogdian city with famous wall-paintings, the trip to Yaghnob valley, where the language and elements of culture of pre-Islamic Central Asia survive, to the mountain lakes, and many more.
The minimal group are four people. The trip will take place on 01 – 22 July 2013. The basic price is 2500 US $ per person + air fare.
The detailed plan of the tour can be downloaded here: Click here
Interested knowledge seeking hamdins can avail of this opportunity.
Yazdaan Panaah Baad.
Rustom M Daboo
Being young ladies many of the sites and places were inaccessible or off limits to them, hence as stated by her below, most information is taken off the net
Navroze is indeed celebrated in Afghanistan today, the amazing thing is that they don’t quite know why or what the origin of these celebrations are! Other than in Kabul, there are still around 9 Zoroastrians families living in Afghanistan in the province of Balkh. Their physical and facial features are of the region. They hide their identity by having two names – one local and one Zoroastrian, they wear the local garb, speak the local language, yet retain their Zoroastrian identity. A fire in the hearth is also the holy flame! The celebration of Navroze is an affirmation that the Zoroastrian presence was so strong in the past that a major festival is still celebrated as a national one. Not only was the presence strong, as you will see below, most historians believe that Zarathustra died there; some also believe that he was born there. The following (most parts taken of the net) is a brief history of the Zoroastrian presence in Afghanistan:
A major part of Northern Afghanistan was under the Zoroastrian influence during the middle period of Aryan history – as the Aryans moved west from Airyana Vaeja towards present day Iran – Bakhdhi (Balkh as its is known today) became the principle kingdom of the Aryan confederation of kingdoms called Airan, and the city of Balkh was its capital. As the seat of Aryan rule moved westward to what is the Iranian province of Khorasan today, Balkh became part of greater Khorasan and remained an important regional capital as well as a cultural and trading center
According to Firdausi’s Shahnameh, it was during this middle period of Aryan history that Zarathustra came to the kingdom of Bakhdhi. According to some accounts, Zarathustra made Balkh his home after King Vishtasp of Bakhdhi became a patron king of Zoroastrianism. By these accounts Zarathustra also died in Balkh at the hands of a Turanian invader. Some authors conclude that in addition to Bakhdhi / Balkh being one of the areas of Zarathustra’s ministry, that he was also born in Bakhdhi / Balkh. Today, the site of the kingdom and its ancient city is called Balkh, and the once mighty kingdom has been reduced to the fairly small province in Afghanistan. Balkh’s provincial capital is now Mazar-e Sharif, a city some twenty kilometers east of Balkh city.
The Naubahar / No Gombad ruins located just south of the city of Balkh are variously described as being those of a mosque, a Zoroastrian fire temple, and a fire temple that was converted into a Buddhist temple and then into a mosque. ? Various Islamic authors such as twelfth and thirteenth century CE Islamic authors, Yaqut Ibn-Abdullah (al-Rumi) and Shams Ibn-Khallikan, note that the Naubahar structure was a Zoroastrian temple. An earlier tenth century CE author, al-Masoudi, adds in Muruuju dh Dhabab that Barmak, the ancestor of the renowned Barmaki (also Barmakiyan) family was a Magian (magi, Zoroastrian priests – a name that Islamic authors gave Zoroastrians) and high priest of great fire-temple at Naubahar.
Cheshm-e-Shafa. The City of Infidels
In the spring of 2008 French and Afghan archaeologists announced that they had uncovered the ruins of a vast, hither-to unknown, ancient city at Cheshm-e-Shafa, the City of Infidels, some 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the ruins of Balkh fortress. They found centuries-old shards of pottery mingle with spent ammunition rounds from the recent civil war on Cheshm-e-Shafa’s wind-swept mountainside.
The name, City of Infidels, suggests the locals knew that this was once an important Zoroastrian city. The team uncovered a 6-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) anvil-like stone believed to have been an altar at a fire temple dating back to around the 6th century BCE. An Afghan working at the excavation was anxious that media coverage could bring the unwanted attention of extremists to the site.
In the predominantly Tajik northern Afghan province of Baghlan, about 32 km (20 miles) on the road to Mazar-e-Sharif, are the ruins of the Atashkadeh-ye Sorkh Kowtal a 1st century Zoroastrian fire temple believed to have been built by the Kushan emperor Kaniska whose statue was found within the temple. ?The ruins have since been plundered, statues stored in a museum smashed by the Taliban, and artifacts looted. French conservationists have pieced a statue of the king together.
Built on the top and side of a hill, the temple complex would have been an imposing site, before its destruction, towering over the vast valley plains below. It was accessed by a long flight of steps leading to a stairwell, above which was a monumental stairway some fifty five meters high, rising in four flights, flanked by four terraces, to the temple on top of the hill. ??The stairs led to a temple containing an 11m. X 11m sanctuary – a cellar – in which there was a platform flanked by four columns, and on which rested a fire altar.
Rusi Sorabji notes:-
It is like an odyssey through two millennia and more, discovering the discoveries made by others, of once what was ours.. ..Zoroastrians……but sad to learn that in 2009 “French archaeologists said they had been forced to stand in front of earthmovers to prevent Korean contractors building a road through a historic gorge.”
Read about the Ancient Fire Temple of Naubahar / No Gombad, also watch a video and see pictures
Are the ruins of the Atashkadeh-ye Sorkh Kowtal (also spelt Surkh Kotal), a 1st century CE Zoroastrian fire temple?
The Zoroastrian princess Roxanne that Alexander the Greek married in in 327 B.C., there is strong indication lived in Bactria / Cheshm-e-Shafa
With Best Greetings to you and your Family for the NEW YEAR 2013.
Attached you will find the Iran Tour Itinerary as well as the cost.
Basically this is a Private Tour of Close Friends and their Families and Relatives with the sole purpose of getting the BEST at the COST.
It is a well planned Itinerary taking the trip to some places which I think no other tour operators from Mumbai or Pune have taken the Parsis.
The tour will be Professionally handled and it will be the BEST at COST with Full Value for your Money with no compromise on the Quality of the Tour
The Price has been calculated on Cost to Cost Basis and care has been taken to get the Best of the Tour at the Minimum possible Price.
Other Tour Operators from Mumbai & Pune offer US$1500 for a 14 Nights / 15 Days Tour. But considering our 22 Nights / 21 Days and the Price, it shows the good margin of profits that the other Tour Operators make. So there is good savings in the Cost.
Our Tour will be limited to only 40 Persons because this is a Private and Friendly Tour.
It is better we book up the air tickets at the earliest because May is a peak Tourist Month & the Spring Season at its BEST. The Tourist Season of Iran starts in the month of April because it is the Spring Season. The Climate of Iran is Superb – Cool & Pleasant and far away from the Maddening Heat of India.
Also remember if 14 Tickets are booked the airlines gives 1 ticket free. So the 1 ticket saving can be equally distributed among the persons i.e. it is nearly a saving of 7% for 1 ticket purchased.
Please note that since I will be managing the tour, I should be entitled for my one free air ticket.
Our friend Homi Sukheswala who started with the Idea of a Private Tour of Friends and Relatives will hold a meeting once our target number is reached.
This is a once in a life time opportunity to join this very well planned and cost effective tour. Kindly inform your Relatives and Friends about this tour. They will be interested in joining the tour. I am sure you will also take this opportunity and join our Tour to IRAN.
So, if you are Cost Conscious & Want the BEST, please book early to avoid disappointment.
Please be free to email or call me on my Mobile Number: 8097003993.and book your name for the tour now.
In the LIGHT of HARVESPTAVAN,