Friday, January 22, 2016

Oman - An Arabian Wonderland

Ochre Yellow Landscape and Celeste Blue Waters of Oman 
If you guys are Bollywood buffs like me, you would remember how Making of Gerua was trending everywhere a couple of weeks back. I had never really seen making of any songs earlier so thanks to Gerua I started binge watching makings of Bollywood tracks and there I came across – Making of Jiya (Gunday). Okay are you guys wondering why I am talking about this suddenly? Jiya was shot in Musandam, Oman and so it transported me back to the Sultanate Dreamland!


If you have been following my blog regularly you would know about my Omani Love, if not, well no issues cause I am here to talk about it all over again. Oman is a travel destination in my bucket list and so when I saw the video of the song again I was lost in the rugged terrains of this Arabian wonder. Oman enjoys a prime spot in the Arabian Peninsula due to its geographical diversity and rich historical significance, and given the fact that this is the prime season the visit Oman and Muscat is holding the Muscat festival, I think the panorama of Sultanate of Oman is stuck in my travel wonderland for now. Anyways if you are puzzled with the thought – How can Oman be a travel destination? Here is my answer to your queries.

Terrains of Oman

Why Oman over other Arab Land Travel Destinations?
Dubai and UAE specially, have become a huge travel hub of the Middle East. But if you ask me, people who make their way to Dubai can definitely consider Oman as a cheaper, quieter, more natural and diverse option. While Dubai is known to be a shopping hub, famous for Jumeirah Beach, Al Burj and desert safari, you can get it all, except for the very expensive Al Burj, and much more in Oman.

Glimpse of one of the oldest markets in the world
Oman was a major trading port in the history of Asia and as mentioned in my last post about Oman, it was mistakenly considered a part of India and grew rapidly in trade. This led to a well-defined port network and the oldest market of wester Asia – Mutrah Souq. In this era of Malls, while Muscat flaunts huge malls with luxurious products, it also preserves the essence of olden days in Mutrah Souq- lanes of old mud houses adorned with Turkish lamps and metal works calling to you with enchanting fragrance of frankincense and spices. So Muscat is a perfect place to satiate your shopaholic alter ego. But if you have an eye for architecture, Muscat has a beautiful alternative to Al Burj for which you will not have to loosen you purse strings either.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (Source)
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is world famous for its modern architecture with typical Islamic aesthetics. Perfect blend of the new and the old can be seen in the vast structure. From white marble work to artistic handwoven carpets and huge, literally huge and exquisite chandeliers – this mosque has it all and you are allowed to explore and also get inquisitive. People there would happily answer your queries. No huge lines, peaceful ambience and architectural wonder that takes hours to covers – still thinking of Al Burj? And why just this mosque in Muscat, Oman owning to its ancient heritage, has a lot of forts to interest the history buffs in you. Oman is steeped in history and is the perfect blend of the modern and the traditional in every corner. Think about exploring Nizwa fort, Bahla fort and Castle of Jabreen. All made of mud or old rocks and sand and are brilliant examples of Arabic interiors. Get ready to be lost in the real world Agraba! Where else would you get that?

Forts of Oman - Still standing with the traditional built
Okay, too many man-made attractions? What about the natural wonders? Oman is blessed with expansive coastline which is known for its turquoise waters and diverse marine life! From Musandam to Sur, beaches and fjords make for a very unique experience for every nature lover. Musandam, which is actually a part of Oman but situated UAE is known for its dhow tours and playful dolphin experiences. Imagine, Khasab is also called the “Norway of Arabia”. Need I say more why you must visit this sea town if you are a sea baby? Sur on the other hand is known for the turtle beach aka Ras al Hadd where one can experience turtle watching during this season. Sur is also the home to world’s cutest sink hole, the Bimmah Sink hole. And if you ask me about Muscat, corniche and almost all beaches in and around Muscat are enough to make you wonder – is this a desert country?

The clear pool of Bimmah Sink Hole
Talking about deserts - Wahiba Sands with its seemingly infinite Arabian Desert of sand dune and cloudless skies with shiny sun and bright full moon gives you an experience which is further enhanced by the tunes of Bedouin singers. What better way to dash the dunes and camp under a sparkling moon? And like every desert has an oasis, Oman has special oasis in forms of Wadis. Ochre yellow cliffs with aquamarine pools and lush green terraces are scattered all over Oman and are a pleasure to visit though the Khareef season till late February only. From the Snake Canyon aka Wadi Bimah to the gorgeous Wadi Bani Khalid and Wadi Shab, the Wadis of Oman are a must visit.

Snake Canyon Entrance
And when there are crazy networks of mountains present, there are bound to be caves in the area too. Lo! You have Jebel Shams - Lush green in summers, snowcapped in winters and Al Hoota caves at its base. Al Hoota cave network is one of the largest cave systems in the world but with only 5km long traversable area underground so far with a river which creates 3 large lakes, first of one with 800m length.

Colours of the Arabian Wonderland
Did I manage to answer your queries now? For now Oman falls under the offbeat wonderland list, so before it gets all commercialized and crowded like the other Arab destinations make sure you plans your trip to the Sultanate of Oman. Let me know if you agree with me on Oman or if you have an even more enchanting Arab jewel in your mind in the comments below cause I would love to go beyond the thousand and one stories of Arabia and see the best before it loses its essence to advent of modernity.

Offbeat still - Sultanate of Oman
P.S. – The best time to visit Oman is from November to February.
Thanks a ton to my Omani friends Mohit Rajadhyaksha and Franklin Patrao for so many amazing pictures of Oman.

And this post got featured in BlogAdda,s Tangy Tuesday Picks for 26th Jan. 2016.


10 comments:

  1. It indeed isn't a Desert! Beautiful pics and very informative post :)

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  2. The pics are gorgeous. One of my colleagues was from Iraq and he has told me its quite beautiful. Do look into it..:)

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    1. Please give me more details about how Iraq is more beautiful! :D

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  3. I loved the way you compared Oman to famous destinations in Dubai and around, convincing!

    I plan to visit them sometime. Thank you for the pictures too!

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    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it :) Even I haven't been to Oman but my friends have made sure I add it to my travel bucket list.

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  4. Congratulations! Your blog post was selcted as one of the best picks for our Tangy Tuesday edition on January 26, 2016 at BlogAdda

    Please view your post here:
    http://blog.blogadda.com/2016/01/26/tangy-tuesday-picks-january-25-2016-indian-blog-posts-blogadda

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  5. Hi,
    liked the virtual trip through your article. Great pics too. Congrats on blogadda pick.
    Please do visit my blog:
    https://burstofhappyness.in/blog/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. Glad you liked the article and pics :)
      And will surely visit your blog

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