Land of ghosts: a journey to the 'Bermuda triangle' of Iran

April 24, 2021 - 19:25

TEHRAN - Imagine traveling through a bizarre-shaded desert full of golden dunes that locals believe to be once home to evil spirits and demons, and for this reason, whoever steps on it will be swallowed up and never returns! That’s why the area is known as the "Bermuda triangle" of Iran!

Eastern Iran is dominated by vast deserts known worldwide for adrenaline chasers. Rig-e Jenn assumed its name from whom believed that it was haunted by spirits and the devil. The bizarre desert can be reached after hours first on asphalt roads, and then for some hours through uninhabited terrain.

Rig-Jenn is situated in a border area between Semnan and Isfahan provinces. In another world, it is part of Dasht-e Kavir (the central desert of Iran). The bizarre desert can be reached after hours first on asphalt roads, and then for some hours through uninhabited terrain.

Narratives say that even caravans used to skip passing through Rig-e Jenn, believing it to be a place where evil spirits and “jinn” dwell. A “jinn” is a spirit in Islamic culture and Rig-e Jenn was once (and in some places still) believed to accommodate evil spirits!

Even today, amongst the neighboring towns and villages some still hold this belief. Sources say that Sven Hedin, the famous Swedish desert explorer avoided the area during his 1900s travels to Iranian deserts and in the 1930s, Alfons Gabriel only managed to cross the southern ‘tail’ of the desert on his way from Ashin to Aroosan.

According to Visit Iran, an official travel guide to the country, Rig-e Jenn marshes are among the most dangerous parts of this desert coming out of which is not easy so that it can even lead to death. 

But apart from these dangers, most of the statements about Rig-e Jenn are related to fiction. Locals believe in some fiction and stories that left many questions unanswered. However, the cause of most of these phenomena has today been recognized. For example, a sound is heard in the desert that is known as the Cry of Stone. The cause of this natural phenomenon is the expansion and contraction of stones and breaking them as a result of the temperature difference between day and night.

However, you can enjoy, regardless of these fictions, an exciting journey to Rig-e Jenn. Also, you can experience attractive travel across the desert by off-road equipped vehicles or by motorcycle. One can also cross the desert barefoot and enjoy being touched by the hot sands of Kavir. If you want to stay for a night in this region observing the desert sky that is full of stars is highly recommended.

If you still dare to visit Rig-e Jen (“Dune of the Jinn”), a name given to the mysterious desert by the locals, to have some adventure, you have to be careful about safety tips. 

Experienced adventurers say one should not choose this desert as their first hiking and trekking destination and they should not travel alone; it’s in the middle of nowhere and the only way to access it is by passing through a harsh train with almost no phone coverage. 

If you are planning to pay a visit, bear in mind that sometimes fierce winds howl throughout Rig-e Jenn voicing fears to passersby!

People who have been there saying it feels almost like walking across an ocean floor without water. It is where eye-catching structures and shapes are only formed by constant winds blowing across vast areas of sand that can almost look unreal and “too” smooth.

Those who set up camps are well rewarded when the sun sets. It’s the right time for a very bright moon and extremely vivid stars to show off in the absolutely clear sky of the desert.

Like other deserts of the country, autumns and winters are the best time to travel to Rig-e Jenn. However, it is a must to carefully check the weather forecasts before traveling to this area.

Finally, a feasible path through the Rig-e Jenn was found some years ago by trial and error using modern equipment such as 4WDs, maps, aerial photos, laptops, GPS devices, and aids.
AFM

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