Dara e Ajdahar: Dragon Valley, Afghanistan
Updated December 2023, Dara e Ajdahar: Dragon Valley, Afghanistan was originally written in February 2019
7 km west of Bamyan lies a spine of volcanic rock, rising from the valley floor near the predominantly Hazara village of Dara e Ajdahar. Legend has it that this spine of rock split in two is that of a dragon who terrorized the village beneath it. This is where the name Dara e Ajdahar derived from, translating out to Dragon Valley, Afghanistan.
In ancient times, Bamyan Valley was populated by pagan villages. It was in these times the Ajdahar or dragon, set up residence next to this particular village. With a taste for virgins and camels, the dragon feasted on the village residents.
Countless attempts to slay the dragon by failed heroes from near and far all ended in fiery demise. That is until Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed arrived in Bamyan after damming off the Balkh River and successfully freeing a family from a local king in Band e Amir.
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Where other warriors met fiery deaths taking on the ajdahar, Ali prevailed. The dragon’s flaming breath turned to tulip petals in Ali’s presence.
Ajdahar stood no chance as Ali drew his trusty sword, Zulfiqar. The dragon faced on trying to burn Ali as he sliced the dragon into two, driving Zulfiqar into forehead, right between the horns.
Two spring pools can be found near the 2 meter high horns of the dragon, one clear filled with dragon tears and the other red with dragon blood.
Read more: Ali & Zulfiqar’s epic quest in the creation of the lapis lazuli lakes of Band e Amir
After slaying the dragon that plagued the Dragon Valley, the residents converted to Islam.
In reality, the spine of rock was probably cracked in two by an ancient earthquake given the seismic activity in the region.
Start here: The Afghanistan Travel Guide
The Village Of Dara e Ajdahar
The new village of Dara e Ajdahar is actually a newer development. It was created and built by the UN for Hazara refugees to return to after fleeing for Pakistan and Iran.
Under the 1996-2001 Taliban rule Hazaras were targets of many attacks and harsh persecution (the harsh treatment of and atrocities against Hazaras dates back further in history to the time of Abdur Rahman Khan). During the Taliban years, many Hazaras left the Afghan Hazarajat provinces of Bamyan, Wardak, Ghazni, Daykundi, and Uruzgan for neighboring countries to escape persecution and even death. As Bamyan has become more stable some of them have returned home.
Want to visit all of Bamyan? Check out the Bamyan Travel Guide
How To Get To The Dragon Valley
The village of Dara e Ajdahar is located about 7 km west of Bamyan Bazaar. You can reach Dragon Valley on foot if you don’t mind a long walk. Otherwise, you can grab a shared taxi from the Bazaar that will drop you off in the village for about 30 AFS per seat, and continue up on foot.
If you want private transport, or just don’t want to wait for the shared taxi to fill up you can hire a taxi from the Bamyan Bazaar (or have your accommodation arrange a taxi for you) for about 500 AFS return, including waiting on you.
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