Photos by Adnan Dhaish
Right after khareef, residents of Dhofar also look forward to the spring season or locally referred to as serb. During this time, the pastures become shades of different colors not only green but as nature takes it regular annual journey, starts to fade to brown.
Dhofar is known for its astonishing mountain ranges with their unique terrains, on which the autumnal “monsoon” wind blows with its rain, mist and wonderful fog, making the slopes, plains and valleys look like green gardens that delight the beholder with their vibrance.
When the spring sun finally rises, those trees and herbs acquire a bright golden colour, announcing the beginning of the spring grazing season which is locally called Khateel Al Ibil.
The owners of camels in the Dhofar Mountains start preparing for the various rituals of the season, heading their herds in groups to the grazing places that were closed at the beginning of autumn. Many lovers of these rituals from different regions of Dhofar join them. While grazing the camels in the pastures, Dhofaris carry different heritage Arts such as Habot and Al Nana.
Like other wilayats of Dhofar, Rakhyut celebrates this season, when the camels are released to graze in nature among the green forests. Rakhyut is one of Dhofar’s wilayats that is well-known for Al Khatla season with more than 30 sites for spring camel grazing, which is accompanied by a prior preparation of Al Mabarek which is the local name for the places where camels are released to graze and the expansion of grazing paths that were affected by the rains.
Khattlat Hejailan in Rakhyut is considered one of the most important sites of spring grazing, because of the ancient traditional rituals that coincide with it, and the presence of visitors to enjoy that wonderful atmosphere, where fire stoves ignite at night away from the city, the place is very calm, where the camels eat, while the wonderful voice of some chanters who chanter the amazing Omani traditional songs with which silence prevails. After a while, the camel’s owners start milking the camels.
The milk is served cold and fresh to the guests, which is favoured by many, or sometimes boiled on the fire or by placing pebbles on the fire and then placed in the milk pot until it reaches the boiling point, and it is called locally ( Ma’atheeb milk).
Khattlat Hejailan is distinguished from others by having Al Badh plant, which is a small coconut-like seed that is abundant in the spring in “Hejailan” region, where many residents of Dhofar Mountains flock to this place in order to reap this fruit, which is extracted by simple digging in the ground. Where it is cooked with methane gas found in animal fertilizers and served after being peeled to be eaten with ghee, and it is considered one of the delicious spring meals preferred by most Dhofari people, and many of its extractors sell it in cans worth about 50 Omani riyals.
The grazing season lasts for about a month until all the herbs and trees dry up and it becomes difficult for the camels to climb to the grazing places where they cannot stand on those herbs because they might fall, leaving the grazing place for the cows to graze throughout the winter.
This interesting season is considered a relaxation and purification from the pressures of life, as some employees take vacations during this season to enjoy the most beautiful moments that combine wildlife and charming nature.