Doroud, at the foot of Oshtoran-Kouh
The word Do-roud literally means "two rivers" in Persian.
The train stops. The drive through the green fields of wheat, the snow-white mountains and the red tulip plains was not particularly tiring, but I was eager to discover the destination; the beautiful Doroud, at the foot of Oshtoran-Kouh.
The word Do-roud literally means "two rivers" in Persian. This town in the Lorestan province is located at the confluence of the two rivers Marbareh and Tireh that come together to create the Caesar River, one of the main sources of the Dez River in southwestern Iran. The river Marbareh is fed by the waters of Mount Oshtoran-Kouh east of Doroud. This mountain of Zagros massif is located between the cities of Azna, Aligoudarz and Doroud. These eight 4000-meter-high summits attract each year several Iranian and foreign teams of mountaineering and hiking. The most frequented access goes through the village of Tyan at the edge of the Azna-Doroud road. Mountaineers will have the opportunity to cross the valleys and glaciers in the wilderness, meeting on their way the black wool tents of the nomads welcoming them with rustic cheese and traditional bread.
However, one must be a little cautious about the dogs of their flocks that do not have the courtesy of their masters. The foothills of Oshtoran-Kouh are the cradle of the Atabakan Lor dynasty that dominated a vast territory in southwestern Iran from 1184 to 1597, before being overthrown by Shah Abbas Safavid. The Atabakans, contemporaries of the Timurids, were originally a Kurdish tribe from ancient Syria, immigrants and integrated in this region populated, at the time, by the Iranians of the ethnic group Kurd and Kurd. This dynasty is known in the history of Iran by its two branches; the first consists of the great Atabakans On (Hezaraspians) whose territory corresponds to the present provinces of Chahaarmah-Bakhtiari and Kohguilouyeh goes Boyer-Ahmad; and the second of the small Atabakans, whose territory coincides with the present province of Lorestan. Today, apart from these three provinces, mostly Lor, there is also a minority of this ethnic group in the provinces of Ilam, Hamedan, Markazi, Fars, Khuzestan and even Tehran which together form a community of nearly six million people. Added to this are the Diaspora residing in eastern Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman. Two refuges are planned for hiking programs at the peaks of Oshtoran-Kouh: a stone shelter at 2700 meters of altitude next to the Gol Gol water source and another, smaller, in metallic material provided at an attitude of 3600 meters at Kaboud-Chāl. The highest peak is Sonboran at 4150 meters. During the winters, the expedition is risky because of the abundance of snow in this part of the Zagros massif. After the ascent of the summits, some teams take the western slope of Mount Oshtoran-Kouh to descend to Lake Gahar which is already visible from the peaks, such as a green emerald set by the ring of mountains. Gahar Lake, at an altitude of 2350 meters, is undoubtedly the first tourist attraction of the city of Doroud. This lake is visited each year by more than 50,000 people, especially during the summer. In winter, access is difficult and the lake surface largely freezes. Gahar is also the name of the Doroud football team that, a few years ago, represented the Lorestan province in the Bartar League, the first division of the championship of Iran.
In Western documents, this lake was identified for the first time in the 1880s, during the reign of Nassereddin Shah Qadjar, by British and Austrian geology teams in search of oil and underground deposits. The first photograph of this lake is taken in 1891 by the French Jean-Jacques de Morgan, a mining engineer and delegate of the French Ministry of Education, known in Iran as having been a great orientalist and Iranian! This lake is 1800 meters long, 500 meters wide and has a maximum depth of 28 meters. During the night, the lighting of the camping area is provided by some solar-powered street lights. A temporary police station, a seasonal food store and a solar electricity terminal to recharge laptops are the only facilities provided for tourists. The mobile phone network can be picked up at this height of over 2000 meters. The forest located north of the lake is threatened by tourists who do not respect the site at campsites. The lake water is clear and clean, and you can swim there. Fish species such as trout live in good numbers and attract fishing enthusiasts. Fortunately or unfortunately, the road between Doroud and Gahar Lake is not tarmac nor accessible to cars. Visitors must walk 18 km to reach the lake. This route, more crowded than the others, offers tourists magnificent views of the untouched nature of Lorestan. Visitors can enjoy the mules of the villagers to carry their luggage. The way is quite secure, however, it is advisable to be accompanied by someone from the area. The long Nigah Valley halfway to the Pir Abdollah Mausoleum is home to wildlife such as grizzlies, foxes, wolves and wild boars. It is sometimes the scene of illegal hunts. One of the former mayors of the city of Doroud has given this city the title of "nature capital of Iran". Given the natural wealth of Doroud, this title does not seem exaggerated. At the places already mentioned, such as Mount Oshtoran-Kouh, Lake Gahar, and the Valley of Nigah, we should add the Bisheh waterfall located 35 km south of Doroud. The oak-covered hills and the plains of wild violets and overturned tulips (a typical flower of Lorestan and Chahaarmahal Bakhtiari) reflect another aspect of Doroud's rich fauna and flora. The inverted tulip with red flowers, or its scientific name Imperial Fritillaria, is even mentioned in the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. According to Persian mythology, it is the flower that testifies to the death of Siavash and is reversed because of this sadness. The tulip also symbolizes the theme of martyrdom among the Iranians. The province of Lorestan is also the only place in the world where ultra-rare species like the cave blind fish or the salamander of Lorestan live.