Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Travels through Oman – Nakhal Fort

Our trip to Nakhal Fort happened during Eid 2015. We had a week long holiday and we decided to explore Oman with a few of our friends. This dates back to the time when little Ishaan was not even in our scheme of things and we were blissfully enjoying our honeymoon period. I mention this, because after having a baby there are no unplanned trips. Everything is planned to a T before we leave the house, whereas this particular trip was the exact opposite. When we left the house, we didn’t even know where we were going.

My husband’s friend suggested we go to Nakhal and Nakhal it was. It is approximately 120 kms away from Muscat and we must have taken an hour to get there. Once you leave Muscat, the roads stretch out endlessly with nothing but mountains or barren lands. The roads are smooth as butter and that ensures a smooth trip.

Before I bring out the 4 year old pictures, let me give you a brief on the history of the fort. Also known as Husn Al Heem, the fort is named after the state of Nakhal. It was originally built by the Sassanids (last empire before the rise of Islam) against invasions by Arab tribes. Over the years, it has been through several renovations. It was reconstructed by Omani architects in the 17th century. The gateway and towers seen now were extensions built in 1834. In 1990, it was fully renovated. 

It was built to fit around an irregularly-shaped rock, so you can find some rocks jutting out into the interiors. The fort has exhibits of historic guns, traditional furniture, handicrafts and artefacts. 

The fort built around rocks
 We saw this as we entered, a quick brief for visitors. I wish it was more detailed because the day we visited there were no guides to fill us in on the history. 

There are plenty of steps to climb, and Eid is when Oman is at its hottest. I remember how we ran up the stairs to escape the hot sun. There are many rooms in the fort, each with some remnants of history, and we eagerly entered the rooms for respite from the heat. And believe it or not, even without air conditioning or fans, these rooms were pretty cool! 

Lovely artefacts we spotted as we climbed the fort
Our family friend's little daughter came hopping up the stairs with me.

And then the shutterbugs overtook us :-)

The rooms as I mentioned earlier are really cool and beautifully decorated with colourful cushions. The cushions I guess are later additions but the wooden chests and other articles have a rustic feel to them.

I also spotted some books and cutlery.

One room had the guns on display.

After climbing our way up through various chambers and separate rooms for men, women, and prayers, we reached the top. And the view that awaited us was worth the long climb.

View from the top
Another view of the fort

 By the time we came out, it was time for lunch. We had a nice picnic lunch ready and we decided to go to the springs for it. We left the fort with a feeling of having used our holiday well. Also to be mentioned is how well maintained the public washrooms here are. Brownie points to the authorities for that! 

A couple of pics from the springs.

The trip doesn't end here. More on it, in Part 2!


Let me know what you think! :)