Chal Nakhjir, Delijan.
8 km from Delijan. Southeastern part of the Markazi province.
APR to SEP daily 9-19.
OCT to MAR daily 9-17.
Adults IRR 30,000, Foreigners IRR 200,000.
|Karst cave. Tertiary limestones.
|Incandescent Electric Light System Coloured Light
|L=4,000 m, T=7-14 °C.
|Chāl-Nakhjir Cave, Bijegān, Markazi Province
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|cave discovered accidentally during an investigation for water by the Water Organization of Delijan.
|registered as a National Natural Heritage site.
|start of development.
|first phase opened to the public.
|declared a Cultural Heritage by the Cultural Heritage Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
غار چال نخجیر (Chal Nakhjir) is known for its exceptional white dolomite sediments, covering the floor of major corridors of the cave. The speleothems are exceptional too, looking like white popcorn. There are calcite crystals, dogtooth spars, helictites, cave popcorn, and cave coral in abundance. Even regular stalactites and stalagmites have this pure white cover of calcite and aragonite crystals. A cave lake is located 140 m inside the cave, 70 m below the entrance. The passages reach heights of more than 20 m.
The cave is named Chal Nakhjir after its location. In the past this area was used as a hunting ground, and hunters lead their prey to this area for the hunt. Chal means down, Nakhjir means hunting ground, together Chalnakhjir means below the hunting ground. Sometimes it is called غار دلیجان (Delijan Cave) after the nearby town.
The cave was discovered accidentally during an investigation for water by the Water Organization of Delijan. It seems in 1989 they were digging a well, with the help of explosives, and when they reached a depth of 40 m they found the cave. The first who explored the cave was Kamran Soleimani. It seems he feared not to find back, so he used a cord to mark the way back When he had used up the 500 m of cord on his reel, he had to return.
The cave was developed as a show cave from 2002, until 2004 $5 Million were spent on trails and electric light. It was developed by Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO). It 2004 they wanted to lease the cave to a domestic or foreign contractors, to operate it as a tourist attraction. It seems they found one and the first part of the show cave was opened in May 2006.
There were plans to continue the development and extend the size of the tourist part. The original plan included another artificial entrance to the cave, a tunnel which would be the exit for the tour allowing through trips. But it seems they did not have the knowledge to do this, as there were severe difficulties. The project was started on 18-JUL-2007, but it was stopped soon after by the provincial Department of Environment, to avoid damages to the cave. It seems the constructor tried to illegally resume the project on 25-JUL-2007. Staff of the Department of Environment rushed to the cave right after they were informed about this. The discussion soon resulted in some physical struggle with the workmen. As a result the Markazi Governor Office disapproved the illegal activities. The case was taken to court which ruled to arrest the contractor.
The cave is entered through an artificial entrance, then a round trip along the main passage follows, and finally the cave is left through the entrance. There are actually two different tours offered, both are about 1.3 km long. For the first 600 m both use the same trail, then tey split up. One follows a passage toward the northeast and the other a passage toward the northwest. Both tours are so-called in-and-out tours.
Beware of the local cave descriptions, this cave has the worst descriptions we have seen for some time. That they tell the cave was 70 Million years old, while this is actually the time when the limestone was sedimented at the bottom of an oxygene rich sea. This is actually harmless and quite common, still it is stupid. All journalist tend to mix up the age of the rocks with the age of the caves, despite the fact that its quite simple to understand why they differ so much. But here a rather dangerous fairy tale about a self-healing cave is told. It started with the wish to explain that there is dripping water which still forms speleothems. This is actually the case for most caves on Earth, even in the arid Iran there is rainfall now and then and the water fills the cracks and drips into the cave over time. But someone thought it's a good thing if the speleothem heal by themselves. The result are statements like "The unique features of this cave is livelihood of the cave which it can repair cracks automatically." And the next step would be collecting speleothems, because they grow back. Unfortunately they took several 100,000 years to grow the first time, regrow would require identical conditions and the same amount of time.