By Farhad Nibir, a participant of this one of a kind academic excursion
Link to An Architectural Marvel: https://tripnownet.wixsite.com/eatsleeptravelrepeat/post/an-architectural-marvel
On day 6, we had a very hectic schedule, which consisted of visiting a Hindu temple and two churches, Wakan Village and Nakhl. For that reason, we all had to wake up early in the morning and start our day.
First, we went to a Hindu temple and two churches, which are in the same area to learn more about the religious harmony in Oman as well as how the religions were introduced in this country. We had a brief conversation with a Pastor in the Baptist church, to know more about the history.
After the visit to the churches, we started for our first destination of the day, Wakan Village. Wakan Village is situated in the hearts of the mountains outside the city of Muscat. Gary had a wrong turn, which took us through some amazing roads of Oman, with picturesque views of the mountains. We had to climb up roughly 2500ft above sea level with on the car to reach Wakan. Then we had to climb up more 1500ft or thereabout to reach the viewpoint. On the way to the viewpoint, we saw lush greenery up in the mountains, which was a farm operated by the villagers of Wakan Village. Going through this farm was an amazing experience. They had a very good irrigation system to supply water to the farm.
We had to climb the stairs for about 20-25minutes to reach the viewpoint. From the viewpoint, we had picturesque views overlooking the Wakan Village, the valley we came from and the mountain range of the other side. We spend a little bit of time here in the viewpoint since we had to leave for Nakhl. We clicked some pictures in the viewpoint and started for Wakan Village to board our cars. We had a light lunch, since we had a feast at night.
Then we started for Nakhl. Going downhill was an adventure for us. The road we came from, we have take that road to go to Nakhl. But we had the best views from that road while going to Nakhl. The views from the road were awe-inspiring. I was mesmerized to see this picturesque views whilst going through the mountains.
We reached Nakhl at around 4pm. Muhammad Ali, friend of Al Amana Centre and founder of Ask an Omani, picked us up and lead the way to his home. Nakhl is a small yet beautiful town, decorated very nicely. Muhammad has a date farm surrounding his house in Nakhl. He also has a bigger date farm in Bahla. We had a discussion with Muhammad about the history, culture and tradition about Oman until it was dark.
Then we took the opportunity to stroll around the farm before it was too dark. We never expected to walk amidst a farm in this trip. In this farm, besides dates, they produce ginger and lot of other herbs.
The yard of Muhammad's house is decorated delightfully with a small kid's zone and lots of date trees. The yard looks stupefying at night with the lighting all around the yard. And the farm surrounding the house adds an isolated feeling.
After all the chatting, Sumaiya, wife of Muhammad, applied henna to all the girls of our group. Sumaiya is an amazing henna artist. Then Muhammad brought in the feast. He had ordered four dishes of "Ghouzi", a traditional omani dish, which is basically aromatic rice, or "Pulao" as we say, topped with a quarter of a goat. The moment Saif bhai and Tasnim unwrapped one of the dishes, the smell just left me mesmerized. The dish smelled to good! The dish also tasted amazing. This dish comes with a type of spicy sauce which complements and enhances the taste of the dish.
After dinner, we spent some time at the yard and clicked some pictures. Then we had a dessert which had a milky core and wrapped with vermicelli and tasted delicious. This sweetness of the desert was balanced, not less not much. A perfect balance.
Then we spent a some time chatting with each other and started for Al Amana Centre again. Muhammad packed some left-overs for us to eat later.
In this trip, I have seen how hospitable Omani people can be. During eating, Muhammad and his brother-in-law, pumped us by saying "eat more, eat more... you are not eating much". He also provides this experience as a service through Ask an Omani. If you ever visiting Oman, do not forget to book an excursion with Ask an Omani.
About Al Amana Centre:
Al Amana Centre is an inter-faith dialogue centre, established in 2013 in Muscat, Oman. They host various groups for inter-faith dialogues from all over the world. We were there on their “Inter-cultural Exchange Program”. They also have some other programs. For more details check out their website.
Al Amana Centre Website: https://alamanacentre.org
About Ask an Omani:
Mohammed Ali, founder of the company, has worked as Arabic teacher and as Cultural tours guide for People visiting Oman. In 2015 the company started to offer Cultural sessions for expats living and working in Oman. In 2016 the company started offering Cultural tours for tourists coming from all around the world.
Ask an Omani Website: http://askanomani.com/