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Mashahad-e Ardehal Qalishuyan (Carpet Washers) are the Avengers of the First Ambassador of Guardianship

Mashahad-e Ardehal Qalishuyan (Carpet Washers) are the Avengers of the First Ambassador of Guardianship

Mashahad-e Ardehal Qalishuyan (Carpet Washers) are the Avengers of the First Ambassador of Guardianship

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Once upon a time the stones of this place was red by the throat’s blood of Ali ibn Baqir and his companions and it received the name of Iran’s Karbala, evoking the epic of Hossein. A shamble that has been shown an episode of epic and mystics for more than 1300 years in order to be vitalized the vengeance of the first ambassador of guardianship in Mashhad-e Ardehal.

Qalishuyan (Carpet Washing) Ritual in Mashhad-e Ardehal (Kashan Province) is a ritual ceremony that is held every year in the second Friday of Mehr in Ardehal, located 40km to Kashan. A ceremony that was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1388 SH. 

The region’s inhabitants start their traditional ritual from the prior day of the ceremony and walking from Kashan to Ardehan; therefore, if you are interested to see this ritual walking you should get yourself to Ardehal one or two days before holding the ceremony because the entrance to the city is almost impossible in Friday for the overcrowding.

Why Carpet and Washing it?

It is an appropriate question that what is the ritual of Mashhad-e Ardehal? And why did people choose the carpet and washing it in this ceremony?

According to the historical narratives, Fin people in 113 AH sent a courier named Amer ibn Naser Fini to Imam Mohammad Baqir, in Medina to request a guide. By his order, his son, Sultan Ali (Ali ibn Mohammad Baqir), Imam Jafar Sadeq’s brother, departed to Iran and Kashan city. The Imam’s son settled in Fin district in Kashan and since Ardehal has cool summers, he spent his summers in this city. Sultan Ali reformed in his region for about three years and he found a special place in the heart of people and it was exactly then that the government sent an army to kill him.

The people of fin moved toward Ardehal immediately after hearing about the decision of Ummayid army carrying woods in their hands and being headforemost, but they arrived when Imamzadeh was martyred. Sultan Ali was killed in Aznaveh valley that is today famous as Qatlegah (a shamble, literary meaning the place of martyrdom). His head had been cut and his dead body had been left; this incident was the funereal reminder of Ashura and being cut the head of Imam Hossein and so the name of Iran’s Karbala was taken for this region.

Fin people carried his body in a carpet, considered the most precious thing in that time, on their shoulders to wash the bloody carpet in a stream and bathe the body before burying in the water of a nearby stream that is today famous as Shahzadeh (prince) Hossein Fountain.

Every year from then on, the religious ceremony of Qalishuyan is held in the second Friday of Mehr, with the presence of thousands of Fin inhabitants. They raise woods by their hands as a symbol of vengeance and the carpet is carried indicating the body of Sultan Ali ibn Mohammad Baqir. It is in such a way that the ritual ceremony of Qalishuyan-e Mashhad-e Ardehal is held and welcomes the lovers of Ahl al-Bayt. This event is accompanied by reading Rhode and mourning.

Every year one of the carpets existed inside the Sultan Ali holy shrine is washed in rose water and then it is carried on the shoulders of the participants, as the symbol of the mentioned carpet by which the dead body of the prince had been covered, for the mourning. Fin people receive the carpet from Khaveh people taking it to Shahzadeh Hossein fountain. The carpet is returned to the courtyard of the shrine and delivered again to people of Khaveh who keep it until the next year.

How to reach?

If you choose Tehran, the capital, as your starting point, there will be two ways in front of you for reaching Mashhad-e Ardehal. The shorter one is moving from Tehran-Qom road toward Persian Gulf freeway. Proceed the path after Shour lake and Qom city to see Ab-e Shirin (meaning drinking water) and Sen Sen. Needless to enter Kashan, you can go on through a sideway and you will be in Mashhad-e Ardehal after Chenar and Hosnaroud.

The second rout passes through Tehran-Saveh road by which you can move toward Valman and Gale’ Shirkhan after Ervin and Robat Karim. Proceed the way in Save-Salafchegan road and reach Delijan after crossing Selfchekan and Hesar-e Sorkh. Continue in Naragh ring road and you arrive in your destination after Naragh and Laran. You can stop in Khave and see this city, too.   

Meeting Sohrab Sepehri

Try to walk fine and gentle when traveling to Mashhad-e Ardehal to don’t break up the fragile lonely of Sohrab Sepehri. Mashhad-e Ardehal has not only a reputation for holding the ceremony of Qalishuyan, but also if you are interested in the poetry and poets of Iran, you should know that Sohrab Sepehri, the notional Iranian poet, has also been buried in the shrine of this city. If you love Sohrab, plan to take a visit to Barzak city and Chenar village, too. Because these regions have been the places of composing some of Sohrab’e poems that become recently an attraction for the presence of the literary tourists.

Since it is a short distance between Niasar and Mashhad-e Ardehal, you can also stop by Niasar. Although there are not the fields of roses and the ritual of rose-water extraction in that period of the year, you can visit the rose-water studios that are permanently active there and buy Niasar’s rose-water.

Don’t forget to see Alexanderia fountain, Veis cave, Safavid Belvedere and Niasar Waterfall. One of the other attractions of this region is Chal-e Nakhjir, close to Naragh city. 

Where to stay?

If you prefer Hotel, you can return to Kashan, however, Mashhad-e Ardehal region is a pioneering place in terms of ecotourism and traditional houses in Iran where you can choose among many old houses that have been turned into the residential places. So you have many options.

The nearest ecotourism house is Khorshid-e Ardehal complex that is a residential and recreational center along with restaurants, conference hall, herbal tea house, traditional Bazar, amusement park and five-dimensional cinema. There are also several hostels namely Zaer Sara (pilgrims’ residences) close to the shrine of Sultan Ali.  

Interesting among the spiritual attractions and holy places of this region is Aznaveh that has been famous as Qatlegah and that is located four kilometers to the holy shrine.

What to eat?

You can try different pottages, Kufte and Abgusht in Ardehal. However, the most highlighted food here may be Abgusht or the dish of meat and bean that is cooked using white bean. Totally, the foods made of bean have a special place in this region and there is also a food namely chickpea of Ale. Abgushet (broth) of chickpea, chickpea of spinach and even Kufteh of chickpea are other cuisines of the region you can try during your travel.