Mahan Kerman

Mahan Kerman
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Apart from Bam which you might have put it down on your list of visits, we recommend you to add another name, i.e. Mahan, 35 km south of Kerman on the Bam road, renowned for the sanctuary of a saintly person said to have lived for a hundred years, from 1331 to 1431: Shah Nur od-Din Nematollah Vali, poet, sage, sufi, and founder of Nematollahi order of dervishes, who are quite numerous in Iran and meet in the sanctuary of Mahan. They are peaceful people of the Muhammedan faith. To them life means being uprooted; their striving is for the return through death to their “native land, relying on their activities, patience and tolerance.”

Nematollah was born in Aleppo, spent much of his life in Iraq, seven years in Mecca, then traveled to Samarqand, Herat, and Yazd, spending the last years of his long life here in Mahan.

The greenish-blue faience on two Qajar minarets and the mighty Safavid cupola stands out against the unremitting deep blue of the sky and the elephant gray of the surrounding mountains as a token of mans spiritual intrusion into the majesty of nature. The tomb and the great assembly hall next to it do not present any particular decoration, except for the ceiling, which one could easily take for a Kerman rug. The little oratory, however, where Nematollah Vali used to meditate, deserves attention owing to its extraordinary interlaced script work decoration, divided into twelve sectors, all of different colors.

Inside the courtyard there is a well designed small lake or body of water surrounded by cypress trees. On the perimeter of the shrine are glorious colonnades which lead to the central shrine itself. Here is a dub-shell dome, and on the tomb itself a beautiful chest is installed.

Mahan has also an attractive historical garden from the Qajar period, called Bagh-e Tarikhi (Historical Garden). The combination of delightful scenery and the charm of its mausoleum is very restful.

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