Mahan has two big draw-cards and best of all it's located only 35 km southeast of Kerman city. The UNESCO Bagh-e Shahzdeh Gardens might best resemble botany on another planet. Step away from the semi-arid desert to the tall trees and flowing qanat water of the royal gardens built for one of the last Qajar princes. The other draw-card, and also special, is the Aramgah-e Shah Ne'matollah Vali mausoleum, a well known Sufi dervish, mystic and poet who died in 1431 aged more than 100. The splendid dome is a famous landmark for eastern Iran, so worth checking out.
Shahzdeh Garden Flowers. Mahan.
The historical Qajar-era royal gardens of Bagh-e Shahzdeh are beautiful and pleasant to explore. More than 100 years old, the gardens were ordered to be constructed by Abdul Hamid Mirza.
There are two floors of construction towards the east and west of the gardens, connected to each other by handsomegardens, ponds, and cascading fountains. The fountains lead up to the palace that was once the residence of Abdul Hamid Mirza, one of the last princes of the Qajar dynasty and also the Governor of Naseraldole.
This is why Mahan's Shahzdeh Gardens (Prince Garden) was added to UNESCO's list for being one of thirteen classic examples of Persian Gardens across the world. The other UNESCO Persian Gardens include Pasargad (Shiraz), Chehel Sotoun (Isfahan), Fin Garden (Kashan), Eram Garden (Shiraz), Dolatabad Garden (Yazd), Abbasabad Garden (Sari), Akbarieh Garden (Birjand), Pahlevanpour Garden (Yazd), Taj Mahal (India), Humayun's Tomb (India), Shalimar Gardens (Pakistan), Generalife (Spain).
Regardless of it's unique historical background, the gardens have many special features to worthy of a visit. The palace is now a grand souvenir store, and to the left part of the complex has turned into an appealing traditional teahouse/ restaurant (Sofrehkhaneh Bagh-e Shahzdeh). There is a small bathroom on the southern side that resembles theGanjalikhan Bath in Kerman. There are also many long trees that line the gardens, each carrying unique stories about the past.
The garden was renovated in 1991, and today is becoming increasingly popular destination for wealthy Kermani's during weekends along with other growing tourism. The best time to visit is Spring to Autumn, and if you time it well, just as the sun disappears the fountains and palace become floodlit. It's a truly wonderful sight and remarkable atmosphere.
Evening at Mahan's Shahzdeh Gardens.
One of the most beautiful and magnificent monuments to see in Iran is the Shah Namatallah Vali mausoleum in Mahan. Standing after 6 centuries, the tomb is an important place for pilgrimage for lovers and a place of meeting for love madness. The great mystic poet and writer in the 13th and 14th centuries, Shah Namatollah, was born in Kuhbanan and died in Kerman in 1431 AD. According to his will, he was buried in Mahan.
It was originally built by an Indian king who was adherent to the teachings of Shah Namatallah Vali, and many rulers added to the complex most notably Shah Abbas I who added the turquoise tiled domes. The central base stone of this complex was put by Ahmad Shah Dekeni and the year of construction was entered by inscription at 840 EC (after Mohammad). The courtyards of the building are named to reflect the significant history: Atabaki Vakilalmolki, Moirolmolki Portal, Shrine, Shah Abbas Portal, Mirdamad, and Hossienieh courtyards.
Shah Vali himself was contemporary with Hafez (mystic tongue), and Hafez paid special attention to his poems and responded with lines such as:
They whom change the soil into alchemy in one glance - they should give us a small view in one glance.
Shah Vali's response to Hafez was:
We changed the soil into alchemy in one glance. We cured a hundred pains by one glance.
The mausoleum was famous for it's seven intricately carved doors from India, though two have recently been stolen. The highlight for lovers include the tiny prayer room where Namatallah Vali is said to have meditated. The plaster walls and ceiling are covered with beautiful calligraphy in a beautiful spiral wheel pattern, if you act nicely you should be let in.
Ceiling of the Shah Nematollah Vali Tomb
The entrance ticket allows you into a small museum, and onto the roof for some pretty special views of Mahan. Look out for nearby Safavid-era cupola and Qajar-era minarets - which can be climbed. Other parts of the threshold includes the Shah Vali Library and Sufi books and music.
Shah Nematollah Dome in Mahan. Up the road 5km from Bagh-e Shahzdeh.