Saturday, April 08, 2006

a day-out, to the glory

With a bit of research on the net, I found contact info of many tour agenies in Tehran. Called one of them n booked for a one-day Tehran tour without thinking much..

It was a one-day tour which took us around the palaces & museums in Tehran. Mainly it gave us an insight about the life of Shahs who were ruling Iran before the Islamic revolution happened.

Sharp at 8.30 that morning the car arrived to take us, when we were busy gulping down the coffee…We got introduced to Ali, our guide & Hameed, the driver.

We headed towards National Museum, which was our first destination for the day. On the way Ali showed us many embassies; including the American embassy which is closed now. When the Islamic revolution happened they captured American embassy and took the staff as hostages (and kept them as hostages for more than a year to win some bargain with US, finally US had to give in I guess; this was a big news sometime in early 90s I think, I didn’t know anything about it). I could see “We will make America face severe defeat” written on now-closed American embassy compound wall.

We also saw oldest square of Tehran, which is now called Khomeini square, which was called something else earlier. Almost everything (airport, govt. buildings, etc) is named after Khomeini now.

The entrance to the building complex which contains National Museum, Islamic museum, and couple of buildings which belong to army looks like this, beautifully done I must say.

The national museum has stuff which is thousands of years old. Persian civilization is one of the oldest civilizations. It also has Shah Period (300 yrs ago) things. This pillar is a royal emblem of some dynasty I guess; doesn’t it remind you of our Ashoka Sthambha?

This statue of a Shah was destroyed during Alexander’s invasion time.

Next to the National Museum there is Islamic Museum, which came into existence after the Islamic revolution. It has beautifully painted and carved handicraft stuff. A jumbo-sized Quran is also there. What interested me is this oil-lamp.

Our next destination was Golestan palace-cum-museum complex. Very colorful one. The inner wall and ceiling are done beutifully with the use of colored glass.

They have extensively used glass, wood, and colored ceramic tiles to do the designs. See this outer wall of the palace which is done with ceramic tiles.

A closer look at those colored ceramic tiles and how they are fixed to get the designs. Ali told us that each of these small tiles are worth approx 10$.

One of the famous kings in Shah Dynasty who lived here is Nasser-ed-din Shah. There were lots of paintings and photographs of this king in the art gallery.

This is one of the ventilating towers a building in the complex has (it has 4 such towers). This tower is supposed to pump in the air inside and keep the whole structure cool; young princes used to live in this palace it seems.

Our next stop was a palace complex in the north of Tehran, which is closer to the mountains. This palace (I forgot the name) looks more modern than the Golestan palace.

These giant legs are the symbol of Shah’s power and strength. They are more than 10 ft tall.

This beautiful thing is a television box though there was no TV inside.

This room is called “War Room”, they discussed war strategies here. See the notepads, the globe, and the pen-stands. I wanted to flick one of those pen-stands :-)

After seeing this palace we went to another palace called the ‘Green palace’, true to its name everything is green in this palace, including the curtons. Ahmed Shah, another famous Shah, used to live here. There was another palace in the same complex where Ahmed Shah’s father used to live. But now army has taken it in for some reason and tourists aren’t allowed. Green palace was the richest palace we saw, with gold fittings everywhere. This dining room looks so fabulous.

Can you see the golden spoons and forks? The picture is blurred as things are inside a glass cabinet and because of the glaring light.

One thing which is very evident in all these palaces is the European influence. Shahs had close relationship with England, France, and Italy. The paintings in the palaces are done by French artists, the furniture is also mostly from Europe.

Another thing is these palaces are not very old (100-300 years old). Shahs were ruling Iran until Islamic revolution happened, which was at around 30 years ago.

Well, needless to say, that was a good trip. Got to know a lot; thanks to our guide Ali, who answered all our questions with great patience in his not-so-good English.

btw Ali’s son wants to go to Bangalore to study computers.


Subha said...

The architecture (tiles and its paintings) is very much similar to th palaces I hv seen near Agra and Jaipur!

And another thing in some of the consulting Orgs - they call the meeting rooms as "War rooms". No wonder why they used the term!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shri,
I feel Thehran is a cement city. Even though the pics u have have some snow covered mountain. But most of the snaps have the big buildings. unke aas pass doo door tak koi peed nahi hai.

The palace and museum are beautiful. u r already rich( women with lakhs in hand) and u want to flick penstand?!! che I am dissappointed. You should have told I will buy that and asked them the price:-).

Did they serve you food in that beautiful dining hall? No what shri they don't know how to do "Athiti satkara"?. I think u need to train them a bit before you return.

When u wanted to take the snap of a older ladies relaxing u took permission from them? how did u communicate with them?
Do most know english?

oh god Even Irani's want to come to B'lore? is it becoz of Leena?. If it was becoz of SRK/Aish he would have selected Mumbai.

Keep writing

Shrilatha Puthi said...

both the things u mentioned are news to me shubha...gosh, i wud never want to join such orgs, I am a peace-loving person u know...

smitha, yes, it's b'cos of leena n lots of other successful IT pros that they want to come to b'lore..

yes, i asked permission before taking pics, in fact that's a basic rule in photography. u shud always ask permission before clicking a stranger’s picture, some ppl (like me) may not like it...but ppl here are very nice, those ladies were happy when i showed the pic in my digicam after taking it...

well, communication is bit of a problem, but manageable with bit of sign language...the other day when i went to buy groceries i was searching for lemons. here the lemons are as big as oranges, so i was bit confused. but the guy in the shop helped me by enacting the sweet taste of oranges holding the an orange n sour taste of lemons holding a lemon and told me that was what i was supposed to pick up, too nice of him...

if i were to buy that pen-stand i wud need crores :-( anyways, i bought a pen-stand in a handicraft stall, so i am contented...

Anonymous said...

I welcome all Iranians with open arms :)

BTW Smitha, what about our 'Mission Pen Stand' in Shri's Bangalore office? we just have 60 more days left ;))

Shrilatha Puthi said...

no chance, ur mission wont be successful. i've made sure that my pen-stands are safe in bank-locker :-)

Satish said...

Dear shrilatha puthi,

Although I have visited your blog before, I just completely skimmed through it - I like the picutures of Tehran and the sequence you have placed them with your comments - I look forward to seeing more of Tehran through your posts.

I stay away from commenting on your SRK, Aish and likes... :)

By the way, what in the world are you doing in Tehran, if you don't mind (me asking and you sending an email) drop me an email.