Travel


Quaint and peaceful


Pic by AFTAB H. KOLA

The age of Habib Bin Sawood Al Abri said it all. He is 90 and still active. I found him resting on a pavement amidst old mud buildings and lush plantations at a narrow cul de sac street in Misfah Al Abriyteen.

 His knowldge that his ancestors also stayed in this cliffside village tucked deep within Al Hamra's rugged countryside suffices to believe that this Mishaf neighbourhood has been in existence for centuries.

To reach Misfah from Nizwa take the road to Bahla and at 12kms before Bahla take right turn to Al AHmra.

After reaching Hamra a signpost shows you the route to Misfa. Ascend the steep hill and then a warren of narrow lanes lead you to this picture postcard village of Misfah. Lay-bys along the ascent offers breathtaking vista of Hamra town located in the shadows of Jabal Shams.

A nature's jewel perched in the arms of Jabal Shams, Misfah is awesomely beautiful. For tourists like me who are more inclined towards art, culture and history of a particular area Misfah is a treasure trove.

The old mud settlements cocooned in lush plantations watered by a cold spring (with one of the highest discharge rates in Dakhiliya, about 23 litres per second) are a visual treat for the sore eyes.

As you enter the harat (old quarter) you will find boulders strewn all over the place. An abandoned settlement perching precipitously atop a massive tower boulder comes to view.

According to Habib Bin Sawood, this house belongs to Khamis Al Saeed who left the house about 20 years ago and moved to Al Hamra. I then got into the narrow semi-covered passageway of this quaint mountain village and was enamoured to find multi-storeyed units erected in closed huddle and hugging the rock cliff face. And all this amidst the verdant orchards.

I could locate besides date palms, banana and papaya trees. You can take a full round from the gate walking alongside the rim of the gorge. The walk through this passageway made me aware of the architectural heritage and living culture of Misfah.

You walk literally manoeuvering the winding path and over the aini falaj encountering stunning views around. Then there is an old masjid located on a steep vertical cliff.

The pace of life here is rather leisurely. The sedate pace, the serenity, and the lush expanse of date palms are sure to win you over the place. The ruins of an ancient watchtower which served as a sentinel to this enchanting village in the days bygone can be seen during the walk.

What catches the eye are the exquisite mud houses which have withstood the test of time. I was told that donkey was the mode of transportation in this cliffside village which attracts a reasonable influx of tourists. The Government has erected canopied areas with public toilets for the convenience of tourists. Trekking paths are marked for those interested in trekking.

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