Nomads of Bakhtiari tribe in Iran

02 May 2021
Nomads of Bakhtiari tribe in Iran
Written by Maryam Rahimi

Nomads of Bakhtiari tribe in Iran


The migration of Bakhtiari nomads and nomadic life with its customs and traditions is one of the attractions that many tourists are interested in seeing. The culture of the Bakhtiari tribe is very wide and diverse. This diversity of culture is both due to the long history and antiquity of this tribe and due to the geographical extent of the Bakhtiari tribe.

The Bakhtiari lands of the country include parts of six provinces, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Lorestan, Fars, Isfahan, and Khuzestan. But Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kohkiluyeh, and Boyer-Ahmad provinces are considered as the mainland of Bakhtiari tribes and the main residence of the population of these folks.

Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province has large tribes and clans that have lived in this region since ancient times. The most important tribes of the province are Bakhtiari, Qashqai, Jarghuyeh, and Boyer-Ahmad Sofli, and the largest of which is the Bakhtiari tribe. In Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, nomads have preserved their ancient way of life and customs. Stay with us to learn more about the migration of Bakhtiari nomads and nomadic life.


Bakhtiari nomads

The life of Bakhtiari nomads is completely different from life in cities and villages. Nomads are usually engaged in animal husbandry and are always migrating in different seasons to find better pastures to feed their livestock.

The Bakhtiari tribe is divided into two large tribes, Haft Lang Bakhtiari and Chahar Lang Bakhtiari. The Haft Lang Bakhtiari clan lives mostly in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province and includes the Duraki Behdarvand, Janki, and Bab Babadi clans. The Chahar Lang branch also includes the tribes of Mohammad Salehi Mogui Kendel Zoo-Meymund and Zalki. Haft Lang branch has the largest population of the Bakhtiari tribe.




Nomads house

The main, traditional and simple house of the nomads in the black tent, which is called "Bohoun" in the local term It is usually woven from goat hair. This type of tent is strong and rough and resistant to moisture and cold. The length of the Bakhtiari black tent is about 9 to 12 meters and its width is 5 to 6 meters. The size, area, quality, and ornaments of the tent vary according to the economic situation and social status of the household living in it.

The tents of the Bakhtiari tribe are somehow different from the black tents of the nomads in the south of the country. Bakhtiari black tents are usually raised and maintained with 4 to 5 wooden poles like a pillar, and on the sides of the tent, a steep slope is created so that when it rains, its water does not penetrate the tent. 


Migration of Nomads  (Yaylak and Qishlaq)

The Yaylak (summer highland pasture(  territory of Bakhtiari tribe (Haft Lang and Chaharlang) has been varied in different historical periods. In the past, this area included a large part of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Isfahan, Kohgiluye, Boyer-Ahmad, and Lorestan provinces, but now it includes Bazaft, Doab and Birkan and Tang-e-Gazi and Shurab areas in Farsan cities. And Koohrang and Choghakhor, Pishkuh, Miankuh, and Dinaran areas in Borujen, Ardal, and Kiar counties and a small part of Bonn county.

In the past, the Qishlaq ) wintering place (areas of Bakhtiari tribe included not only the eastern and mountainous areas of the Khuzestan Plain but also other parts of this plain and extended to the shores of the Persian Gulf. Today, the winter territory of nomadic Bakhtiari tribes includes eighteen cities within the cities of Izeh, Masjed Soleiman, Shushtar, Ramhormoz, Haft Gol, Lali, Ahvaz, Indika, and Gotvand.


Bakhtiari Nomads migration routes

Bakhtiari nomads use different main and secondary routes for migration. The sub-branches connect the nomadic settlements to the main roads of Taraz, Hezar Chameh, Kuh-e Sefid, Do Ab, and Dez Part. Bakhtiari nomads in the migrations to summer and winter, have to pass through these five tribes the main road that connects the Yaylak and Qishlaq areas of Bakhtiari.

The Bakhtiari nomadic route passes through the impassable and steep heights of the Zagros Mountains and the rivers full of water of different branches of Karun, and for this reason, it is one of the most rugged nomadic roads in the country, and crossing it is still one of The important problems of Bakhtiari nomads.


Time of Nomads migration

Mid-April, when winter fodder is not enough to feed livestock and the temperature gradually rises Nomadic families prepare to move to the summer lands. Carry the necessary supplies and food along the way using purses, chests, and millstones (tea storage boxes) and leave the extra furniture in the homes of relatives and those who stay in the tropics. Property families are usually scattered in the Qishlaq, and cold families wait in the second and third houses until other property joins.




From past times, temporary houses have been designated along the migration route, and the nomads live in these temporary homes along the migration route. The choice of the home depends on factors such as adequate forage, security, water, and, most importantly, the privacy of the expropriation area and distance from agricultural land. Moving from house to the house starts in the early hours of the day and ends after about five to six hours. The herds are moved in a separate direction for grazing. It should be noted that middle-class homes are not owned by a particular tribe or clan and their use is universal.


When the Yaylak weather gets colder (usually from the middle of September), the nomads start migrating from Yaylak to Qishlaq, considering that in this season, there is not enough fodder to feed the animals along the way and the weather is temperate and the water is flowing. Rivers are also few, the migration process is faster and therefore it is done in a short time and more easily than the migration from winter to summer. Horses and mules are the main means of migration and transportation of nomads. Older men and women and young children, along with their belongings and furniture, travel by cattle, and young men and women walk by.


The women have to carry light loads and take care of children, and men and teenagers accompany property and herds. Due to the difficult and mountainous routes of the Bakhtiari tribe, the mule is the best means of transportation and during migration, it plays an important role in moving people and household goods. Having mules and horses is less common among Bakhtiari people, and in recent years, few families have used motor vehicles to transport cargo, furniture, and household members due to the development of rural roads and their connection to nomadic territories.


Today, most affluent nomadic families migrate by car. It is not common to use a car to transport livestock, except in a complete emergency. Another factor in the mechanization of migration is the lack of forage and pasture in the road tribe, which Bakhtiari nomads also face this problem.


Read more on Taymaz Adventure.