Thursday, September 28, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 12, 1445 H
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The 'Green Mountain' beckons..

Farmers in Jabal al Akhdhar have kept the tradition of making rose water for generations

The month of April continues to see pleasant weather in Oman with upper air trough bringing rain, wind and cooler temperatures. Almost on daily basis one comes across the Al Hajr Mountains in weather reports.

The mountain range plays a significant role in deciding the weather pattern experienced in the Sultanate of Oman. One of the main reasons being it’s ability to form local clouds. They have always been fascinating whether seeing the images of the mountain ranges in a coffee table book, on screen or looking at them with your eyes because they narrate the geological story of Oman.

Today is different, I am sitting on top of Al Hajr Mountains as this article is being written.

With heavy dark grey clouds with the effect of ‘almost touching’ look casts the Al Jabal al Akhdhar on a different mood. It was not the usual playful mountain that has showcased reflection of sunny rays, and echoed the wind. And before we knew the raindrops were running up the windshield as we drove against the wind.

At 4.30 pm it was 14 degrees Celsius. So here we were experiencing first hand the weather of Jabal al Akhdhar. This makes Jabal al Akhdhar obviously an attractive summer destination. The rocks of the mountains look different in each season and by the time pink roses are being harvested pomegranates have begun to bloom. Life’s a full circle and nature tells us so often.

Walking between the rose bushes is a treat, but it is not enough just to see it, but it is an interaction with the farmers and picking roses with them that makes it a memorable experience.

Farmers in Jabal al Akhdhar have kept the tradition of making rose water for generations, and what is heartening is to see the youth carrying on the legacy, an ancient art.

Rose water is an integral part of Omani hospitality as it is used in the making of halwa, Omani coffee, and cooking especially while making sweets and beauty products and cosmetics. Today’s generation says it is a treat to use the combination of rose water and frankincense water for face. The best part of all of these products made at traditional factories and homes are available at popular tourist places.

In fact, the way from Muscat to the Green Mountains is full of historical landmarks. A place we have read about so much is the first mosque in Oman. And this is Mazin bin Ghadoubah Mosque, located in Samayil, which is on the way to the mountains. As we move on it is Izki that is full of heritage.

Just before taking the road up to the mountain, one can explore Birkat al Moz - the name is catchy and it has a lovely story. Birkat means pool and Moz means bananas. A friend explained the story that goes like this - There was a big pool and the plant that was growing there was a banana plant and there were many because of the water from the pool. The pool - there is not much information about where it was located, but bananas were grown in many farms and were also sold in other villages and the name remained.

Is it not fascinating to see history staring at you. The Samayil's nature is unique in its own way because of the rainfall it receives. In other words, a terrain that was difficult to access is now easily approachable today as Jabal al Akhdhar has resorts, hotels and fine roads.

The step farms of Jabal al Akhdhar were legendary, but today there are also impressive cafes and restaurants that cater to visitors and travellers.

A holiday destination, the Wilayat of Al Jabal al Akhdhar is all set to receive holiday-makers during Eid vacation.

While discussions and plans have been taking shape among families, here is a destination within the country, and there are attractions in its radius to be explored.

But while we plan holidays, families are here enjoying the days of Ramadhan at almost 3,000 metres above sea level. Some preferred watching the sunset to reflect until the call of the prayer, while others just wanted to enjoy the togetherness while breaking the fast. Then again there is that special moment when one realises this too was meant to be.

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