The Sultanate of Oman as the name suggests is a grand country. One of the best international getaways for a relaxing trip with choices of destinations that ranges from a calming ocean exploration or relaxing on beach side with turtles to living in the grand comforts of its posh city life. You choose what gives you nirvana and if you spend too much time at one place and need to try something else a wide variety of options are available within the country itself. This liberty and exclusivity makes Oman a destination I would choose for a holiday. For details visit this beautifully designed and efficient site of Oman Tourism that gives you a complete tour guide and would lure you to Oman http://www.omantourism.gov.om/.
Before you go to Oman and see it with your own eyes, lets see what I would love to see once there. What is the fun to visit any place if you do not visit its history? To not just travel but time travel into how Oman has been for centuries, I would love to visit what stands as a remembrance of those days, grandly transporting you back into time.
To begin with I must say, Its incredible for a country that was closed and underdeveloped till 1970's when Until Sultan Qaboos bin Said exiled the previous Sultan and brought about changes, to have achieved development at this magnitude. The history buff in me takes me first to "Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat"
In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque. A competition for its design took place in 1993 and after a site was chosen at Bausher construction commenced in 1995. Building work, which was undertaken by CarillionAlawi LLC, took six years and four months.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Doesn't this very image gives you the divine intervention you always needed? How about praying in it for real?
A major feature of the design of the interior is the prayer carpet which covers the floor of the prayer hall. It contains, 1,700,000,000 knots, weighs 21 tonnes and took four years to produce, and brings together the classical Tabriz, Kashan and Isfahan design traditions. 28 colors in varying shades were used, the majority obtained from traditional vegetable dyes. It is the second largest single piece carpet in the world. I so so so wish to see it now....
Here is a glimpse of it for now...
and here is an interior view of the mosque...feels divine....
While in Muscat another important place to visit is The Al Alam Palace: the ceremonial palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos of Oman. It is an architecture unique in its appeal and design.
The palace has a history of over 200 years, built by Imam Sultan bin Ahmed the 7th direct grandfather of the current Sultan.The existing palace, which has a facade of gold and blue, was rebuilt as a royal residence in 1972.
Now, the history buff in me wants to time travel so we head to one of the most ancient forts... Bahla fort and Jabreen Castle which is at a two hour's drive from Muscat.
Bahla Fort which became a UNESCO World heritage Site in 1987, is one of four historic fortresses situated at the foot of the Djebel Akhdar highlands. It was built in the 13th and 14th centuries, when the oasis of Bahla was prosperous under the control of the Banu Nabhan tribe. The fort's ruined adobe walls and towers rise some 165 feet above its sandstone foundations.
Bahla Fort: A UNESCO World Heritage Site
A short distance from this place is the Jabreen Castle
Jabreen Castle dates back to 1670. Its design and construction were supervised by the Al Immam BilArab bin Sultan Al Y`aribi (who now rests on the left side of the castle’s main entrance) and was built to resemble the most beautiful palaces of that period. More details about the same can be found on the www.omantourism.gov.om/JabreenCastle
(satellite image of Masirah Island)
Several species of turtles living for over 100 years swim the length and breadth of the Indian Ocean and return every year to lay their eggs on the beaches of Masirah island. It is the home of thousands of birds especially in the winter such as Greater Flamingo, Seagulls, Terns and Herons. Dhofar with its diverse terrain and monsoon rains is a true paradise for birds particularly African species. Masirah island is officially the top birding spot of Oman.
Though Kite Boarding is one of the not to miss adventure sports while being at the world best place to do it, Oman indeed, if you love other sports and wish more you could explore variety of options available at http://www.omantourism.gov.om/. See this
So much to do and so little time...isn't it? No worries plan a second trip ;)
Its time for bird watching now!!!
Various species of birds witnessed at Masirah island
Turtle: hundreds of years old at Masirah island
I just wish this journey to never end...for how can one think of leaving the bounty of Mother nature.
If you wish to further relax there are a plenty of world class hotels where one can relax at the end of the trip in luxury...find out more at http://www.omantourism.gov.om/Hotels
Now its time for me to dream of Oman as I have planned my trip thanks to http://www.omantourism.gov.om/, while you log on to it and plan yours. Let me know when you do, may be we'll land up there together!
This post has been written for #BeautifulOman contest by Indiblogger and the Ministry of Tourism of the Sultanate of Oman.