Category Archives: Iran

Derak – Mount Mother, Shiraz Iran

Derak name – because it looks like A Pregnant Woman which means Mother, so it is called as Derak

Height – 2900m, 9514 ft | Location – Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran

Peak at – Zagros | Type – Sedimentary (loose mud and stones mostly)

Grade – Easy – Moderate – Difficult (depends on the height, season and route)

Best time –

Early morning in winters as evenings get freezing cold, negative temperatures

Late evenings in summer as summers are really hot in Shiraz until late in the long days

Our Climb – 9 November 2017, 5:00 a.m. local time | Trekkers – 6 | Temperature – 7°C

Spectacular view of the city seen between the engulfing ends – from a few hundred meters
High up, too many cuts, beautiful nature – mountain, tree, musical birds

My Experience – Accepting Fear – It’s okay to be Afraid

It’s impossible to climb these fascinating mountains that lay for hundreds of kilometers, I exclaimed when I saw them from the aeroplane, while arriving at Shiraz!

Mr.Reza arrived at 4:30a.m. to take us – Sachin and me, to Derak. Everyone said “it’s an easy trek”, so I excitedly join in the group of weekend trekkers to Derak, at early morning in the chill weather. On arriving at the foot hills we meet – Mr. Mojtaba and Mr. Mehrdad and the walk begins on a nicely laid path at an inclination of 10°-15° up. Only when my nose started running, I understood my body is working to warm in and that is the sign of normalcy. We are lucky to have the beautiful moonlight, saving us from holding a torch with our hands outside the jacket.

The hour before the dawn is the darkest hour of the night, someone had once said, yet in this darkest hour, the shining moonlight is giving us a good view of the light brown mountain that seem to shed itself on us anytime it desires. The unpreparedness is taking over me, making me feel tired even before the actual climb but the curiosity of stepping on the “impossible” that my mind believes is driving me. Mr. Cheetah,  I would prefer to name Mr. Mehrdad, as he is the fastest trekker, the records say, he is far ahead while Mr. Mojtaba, Sachin and Reza follow. Reza is slowed down to accompany me. Breathing becomes difficult and the urge to inhale through mouth increases but the biting air dries the throat quickly thereby making it difficult to breathe.

Walking on the zigzag path of stones, skeptical about reaching the destination of 800m height, Sachin and Reza jump back to help me as I am struck on the wrong route I have stepped in, finding it difficult to get down three steps of the cut rock. I am wearing my Himalayan trek shoes yet the fear of falling down by slipping from the rock as the edgy zigzag path has space enough for just one person to stand. Fear takes better of me, until Sachin shouts at me pulling me to safety while Reza holds my other hand.

The view is beautiful, the path high, dawn setting in, birds chirping. We are late, we are far, we are together. Sips of water and the view of Shiraz city, the valley view between the two edges of engulfing mountain, raises the spirit to go high up.

Wow. look at the yellow line, the hot man, the Sun is rising, it’s spectacular”. 

Rays of hope and life
Hottest man ever seen

Sachin, Reza and I are awestruck with the magic the yellow rays spell on the design of clouds in the subtle blue sky.

Sachin, Reza and I

Normally, Reza would reach the destination 40 minutes earlier to our current time but I was holding him back. Sachin is unbelievably faster in his sports shoes, which I would never attempt climbing up with such shoes.

Reza, Reza, help, I am struck, my feet are drifting back and there’s nothing to hold ahead” Reza pulls me one step up and I find a safe landing place.

I quit! I told. Reza you go, I don’t want to come up anymore, because it will be difficult for me to get back. Sitting here I’m thinking, I can actually go up and complete it, I may never get a chance to climb Derak up but I’m glad I stopped. I know I am on a mission here, mission to fulfill my professional goals, Derak, I have come for my love of mountains, the fascination of climbing the unclimbale I had once thought. I am glad I know my body better than anyone else, I underestimate it often but I will not force it to where it does not belong. My body is precious, it represents my mind and my soul. It’s OK to say no. No. I can’t do this. It’s slippery.. But it’s just 3 steps, I know I can. But I don’t want to. One slip, and I’m all down on the stoned levels. I am in Iran for work and that’s my purpose. Mountain is my love, my passion. I shall not lose my purpose for my passion. But if this was a mountain trip meant only for trekking, I would have still required help from other people. It’s okay to seek help. It’s okay to not to be strong as others. It’s okay to accept your limits. It’s okay to be what I am. Only I know my horizons better, only I know when to push them far, only I am the best the way I am. I shall improve step by step, yet I may never climb such a path of stones and mud, loose or strong, or I may just do it as bad as now. I am glad I am struck here in my fear.

Woah, look the cheetah of the mountains, is here. “Are you okay?, come with us, Mr. Reza shall come with Mr. Sachin behind”
Mr. Cheetah takes the left. Phooof!!!! I am struck here in fear of the path on right and here it is, the way down on left! See, fear is indeed a blessing in disguise, had I gone down to challenge my fear, I would have been lost maybe for a while or forever, but now I have Mr. Cheetah, the trekking pole from Mr. Pole (Mr. Mojtaba, because he lends me one of his trekking pole gauging my fear) and the company of Mr. PhD

I am glad I didn’t challenge myself. I didn’t succumb to my fear. I paused.

Peace! nothing can describe it

Sitting at the spot where I quit, I feel calm and satisfied.

these few steps that I wanted to take but fear didn’t let me to
Thankfully, I didn’t, I realized this when Mr. Cheetah took the other route and not this. Had I taken this up, I might not have found my way ever.

The journey down is fun, ironically I wonder why did I take so much time to climb up, funnily, at this point where I’m standing, I was so afraid while going up that Reza and Sachin pulled me forcefully for me to step out of my fear of sliding down from the laterally cut rock. I am enjoying the company of Mr. PhD (Mr. Farzad, aspires to pursue PhD and that’s inspiring enough to keep learning) as he shares his pride on Indians being the most intelligent people with the highest resumes, degrees, students and professionals in the USA, his dream destination for Doctorate.


The zigzag path is now heading to the straight route at approximate downward inclination of 10°. My feet are hurt by the stones underneath but the knees are spared from the shocks. Families with children climbing up in the chill wind and warm Sun. Our plan of climbing early morning is commendable as we don’t have to sweat and dehydrate like late climbers. Mashallah! Soon we can savor the cookies and cake we’ve bought for this trip. Mr. Cheetah and Mr. Pole are waiting for me.


I thank Reza, for making my dream come true, of climbing the mountain, I once thought would never be possible. Thank you Reza!!

Reza and Sachin arrive an hour later, all credit goes to me for their delay, with a scratch on Reza’s forearm, as he slipped exactly at the same place where I quit. While I am writing this, I didn’t know that a fascinating journey would end in so much taste –

Delicious, healthy and filling Farsi Omelette

Yes, It’s okay to be afraid sometimes, as you are the best judge for yourself, you know when to challenge the fear and when to let it be. Peace with your own-self is all that matters in the end.


Men with long nose, women blessed with beauty, full of heart is the land of Tehran, Iran. “Athithi Devo Bhava” translates to “Guest is God“, though stated and practiced in India, it is felt in the eyes of everyone in Iran. Farsi or the Persians have a deep history marked in red and black and white, yet the glory over the centuries remains in the “Respect and Love” for thy neighbor.


People! It’s “People”, all that I talk of Iran though it has amazing weather, history, monuments and lifestyle. This blog is more on the wonderful-ness of the people, richness of food, nature blessed beauty, fun at work, along with other cherish-able experiences one must be lucky for.

The chill winds freezing my toes urge the wanderer to walk fast on the unending lanes leading from one to another and another. It’s beautiful. Temperature is 1°C at 12 noon but the warm smiles from the unknowns make one at ease. A stroll across the streets of my hotel is my introduction to this beautiful city.

Goodbye my friend, we shall meet if you come back” chuckled my Indian friends because of the inhuman political powers creating terrorism around Iran. When I met my chauffeur at the airport to drive me to hotel, I was relaxed. Excitement grew when Mr. Jabbari personally visited me to ensure I am at ease, on a Friday, while he was supposed to be enjoying his weekend with his family.

Vegetarian?” Mr. Yaghmai confirms as he is in a shock since I ruined his joy when he exclaimed “we have a variety of Kababs for you for lunch Mr. Hinduja“. I had no idea that this marks the beginning of mission “Vegetarian Hunt” for Mr. Jabbari and team. They would have long discussions almost everyday on planning to introduce me to the best vegetarian they can offer. For dinner, after several failed attempts at many restaurants asking for vegetarian or eggs, one boy understood the sign language to get me egg and rice, thus a successful round of dumb charades in the land of unknowns, I made friends with the owner of the restaurant, “Kasra“. Happy faces and Happy stomach is a happy day.

Perceptions were that work might be tough due to the language barrier as very few people knew English but the barrier turned out to be a blessing in disguise, work is now fun because people here are fun.” MAS-TER“, Mr. Ali would look up to me with the hope that I answer all his questions, with the respect to the relationship between a teacher and a student. In Farsi,

the  elementary school teacher is called as Moallem

the High School teacher – Dabir

the University professor – Ostad translating Ostad in English got me a new name “Mas-ter“.

The warmth of people here makes me feel at home. I fear not of anything that does not happen anywhere else in the world. I have people to help, guide and accompany. Of 16 colleagues, I have 16 friends now. Iran is a globe in itself, having deserts, lakes, mountains of snow and boulders, forests, rivers, the Caspian Sea, and many monuments. I am excited that I shall go to one or some of these places of wonder on the only Friday that we have. But right now the discussions are on the food I must eat, here’s the Irani cuisine spread out to me –

Light green from the Peacock feather with a dash of white at the center, extremely dark green aromatic corner marked opposite to the woody tinge is my bowl of Kashk-e-bademjan, the rich, tasty, nutritious Farsi delicacy garnished with love, made of eggplant, egg and more, straight from the north Iran specially brought to me to relish the King of all no-meat Farsi food. 34 eyes waiting to capture my expression when my tongue feels Kashk-e-bademjan the first, like a Mother feeling joy in her child liking Her hand-cooked food, they are rejoicing my liking for Kashk-e-bademjan. Ms. Sara very responsibly explains the recipe and richness of Kashk-e-bademjan.


Each day, each colleague suggests the best for me – from food to places and after a lot of discussions Mr. Jabbari’s team would introduce me to the best of what they can offer. India is known for spices around the world but Iran, nonetheless has rich spices that fill the soul with aroma and taste – Saffron being the King of all. “Tachin” the Saffron rice cake is my favorite of all, yellowness of the Saffron held together by the smoothness of eggs with yougurt, steamed on all sides and roasted in Golden-Brown on one side, is definitely heaven for a foodie.


Nothing defines the blend of eating Khorma – Dates rice – “Adas Polo“, so rich in itself, with Zeytoon Parvardeh.


Zeytoon Parvardeh has a unique blend of Olives, Walnuts and Pomegranate, an unimaginable ‘hhhhhhmmmm..’combination that tastes so good that I eat one pack everyday yet the tempt for more does not fulfill. The freshly baked designer breads are more of appetizers as they have so many designs and variety in taste that eating one type of a bread a day can take up to a month to taste them all. Mr. Kazimi makes my plate everyday with lot of love for the food his country has and the respect he has for his Mihman – guest.

First Friday! First Feat! Newness is exciting, my First Friday is very new and uber exciting. Mr. Naser with his wife, Mrs. Elnaaz is driving us early in the morning to “Tochal”, the house of snow. We’re all set with our gadgets – jackets, glasses, gloves, scarf, muffler and food. Ms. Elnaaz and I converse in small English sentences and wide smiles while Mr. Naser brings us the tickets to “Telecobin”, the cable car. No language is required when you speak the language of kindness, love and respect and that is the medium of our conversation. Up we go in the Telecobin over the loose mud and rocky path and bang – it’s all WHITE, PRISTINE WHITE.


I just want to open the door of Telecobin and set my Foot on the snow. Woah! Woah! Woah! The 3 ladies slipping and falling and rolling on the ice is so funny and nice! I am too afraid to fall but the First Walk on the Snow is Magical! I am very happy and excited and Wow! It is just Wow! You must be here to experience it. I am so thankful to Mr. Naser and my friend Ms. Elnaaz that I am in loss of words, I am just enjoying the moment with them, they have made my dream come true of walking on the snow, knee-deep snow! Woooooaaahhh….my knee is struck down and with great effort I am trying to move out, Ms. Elnaaz smiles at me and is running to get me out. I wonder how is she running when I can merely walk! Mr. Naser is all smiles, clicking our pictures. Zooooom, Zoooop, Zoooo…fun-makers are sliding down on the plastic-sack, I would never try that though! It’s awesome to see but needs guts to go on an uncontrolled mission to nowhere. Santa would be fascinated, if he were here!


Ash Rishdey, at this height, nobody would imagine of one among the best soups in the world! Sour-cream, spinach and noodles with lot more taste makers, wow! It’s my favorite soup now, I can have any number of bowls of it.


Ms. Elnaaz happily peeling the boiled eggs in the freezing temperature of -40°C. Hot food in the cold snowfall is an experience out of the world. We’re lucky! Snow-fall it is! Unexpected, unimagined surprise by nature! Many people trek up to the 7th station but since we are on picnic mode, we are traveling up in Telecobin upto 5th station but who would miss trekking on snow, so we hike up! Just when the snow stopped, my buddy, Sun came up out of nowhere. The mountains and peaks shine bright, everything has come to life suddenly, smiling in their own way. The whiteness of snow on high mountains are greeted by the black rocks dotted around. It’s too risky to be walking on the edge but we do, the adrenaline junkie as Mr. Naser calls himself, we are blessed to be here. Slipping and sliding I walk while Ms. Elnaaz and Mr. Naser laugh and hold me up, it’s a day to remember and live again.


A day of fun, happiness, adventure, memories, from morning to evening, gifted by Mr. Naser and Ms. Elnaaz, who happily planned and spent their weekend with me. I am joyous and thanking my friend in India who told me a day before I start, about the snow in Iran, which I never thought of, thinking it would be hot as Iran is somewhere in the middle east, and to the whole group of my friends in Iran who discussed almost every day about the best place I must visit on the only weekend I have here, to make it memorable. I have to inform Mr. Jabbari, I am super fine and having lots of fun and he need not worry too much of my health. Of all the monuments and other options, I chose “snow” because I had never walked on snow and here I am, an Eskimo!


Iran is a beautiful country with warm people. World famous “Tehran Bazaar” is on any traveler’s list. I might not have gone unless Mr. Jabbari offered to be my friend and guide on a Bazaar tour for about 3 hours. 3 hours because I did not buy anything as the gifts given by my friends already crossed the weight on baggage allowance and I could dare to buy no-more but next time I go to Iran, I will definitely spend 8 hours buying a suitcase full of things for friends and family. Mr. Naser takes pride in representing his motherland, thus we go to “Tajrish Bazaar” where the vibrant colors of dry fruits, nuts, spices, sweets, pickles, marmalade


and colorful plates – “Lapis Lazuli / Mina Kaari / Sofale Hamedan“, handmade boxes  – “Khatam” with historic importance


and Nazar Ghorboni


are very attractive and artistic. The variety and richness in the bazaar is captivating, coming out of it empty handed is impossible. Ms. Azarnian is very happy that I am going to places she suggests and I am liking them. The lady at hotel feels pride in serving me the best breakfast and planning my outings.

Each human is different and so are my 16 friends but somehow we are all connected.

Mr. Naser – an adventure lover, Mr. Rabbani – my Farsi teacher, Mr. Ali – merry-maker – the “MAS-TER”, Mr. Behnam – intellectual, Mr. Tavalaie – a leader, Mr. Saeed – technically sound, Mr. Buddy – passionate artist and learner, Mr. Hassan – explorer, Ms. Farideh – quick learner, Ms. Mehrnaz – true Yogi (yoga practitioner who traveled to India to learn Yoga) and foodie (always eats in the class ), Ms. Minoo – very soft spoken and understanding, Mr. Bakht – leader, teacher and my translator, Mr. Nahal – logical, Ms. Sara – experimental, responsible, guiding, Mr. Farbod – technology savvy, experimental, Mr. Jabbari – responsible and caring.


One word is not enough to describe each person, though different yet they have these in common – respect, love, humbleness, caring for and honoring the guest – that’s Iran. I am lucky to live amongst the most adorable people. The concept of “honoring the guest” is so much in their blood that “a guest is a part of the family“, thus Mr. Jabbari though me being a corporate guest for him, honored me to dine with his family – his wife – Mam – the most beautiful lady with grace and elegance, their daughter – Camilie – sweet, friendly child.


Each one is so sweet that I had to fight with them to stop gifting me so many things as their warmth is the best gift they have given,yet they would not stop gifting – Gaz, Zeytoon Parvardeh, Dates Syrup, Khatam, Pistachios, Saffron and most delicious, melting in the mouth – “Sohan


…my mouth waters when I write about it, so delicious that it is specially ordered and made for a special guest / occasion. My ears sooth to listen to the music of Kamancheh, Persian classical instrument,


and the most beautiful surprise I ever got on my life – close to my heart is –



If you want to experience true humanity, go to Iran. India and Iran have a lot of history and lots in common like the words – “bazaar, nazar, mushkil, noor, ishq, roz, mehman, ..” and most of all “Athithi Devo Bhava”, we both practice. I keep saying to my Iranian friends and everyone “however far we are, we share the same roots, somewhere deep down we are connected”

Wishing all my friends –

Norozetan Piroz,

Har rozetan Norooz!!

I will come back to Iran again…