Lose yourself in Petra
The rose red city, structures carved out beautifully from the rocks, watching lights & a musical night, posing with Bedouins or hitting a conversation with a local, to explore the city of Jordan, there are more than many ways.
Before heading to Petra, we spent some time in Downtown Market, Amman which is famous for shopping. From spices and fruits to clothes and souvenirs, you can find it all in here.
With vehicles bustling on the road, it was fascinating to cross the wide roads in here.
Then we headed to the Royal Automobile Museum which was established in 2003 by King Abdullah as a tribute to his father Late King Hussein, who was considered always ahead of his time in all aspects of life. It houses a rare collection of Jordan’s vehicles ranging from Hussein bin Ali‘s cars that came to Amman in 1916 to modern sports cars and also the ones used in world war. But what took my heart away were those awesome bikes ranging from Harley Davidson to Honda, BMW to Lamborghini, they were all so amazing that I almost swooned. King Hussein used his motorbike only on private occasions.
The tour was simply amazing and something that I haven’t experienced before.
Highway no. 15
Passing through the Highway no. 15 also called as the Desert Highway, was an experience in itself. Both sides’ brown and the grey road piercing through the desert… it felt like experiencing the song Hairat Hai from the movie Anjaana Anjaani (I have this uncanny habit of connecting real with reel). We travelled and travelled but finally reached where one among the 7 new wonder reside. It was lunch time and an opportunity to cook at the ‘Petra Kitchen’. To know more on our little stunt at Petra Kitchen, stay tuned to our next blog.
Post our foodie extravaganza we checked in at the Petra Guest House Hotel and soon after, left for Little Petra.
Little Petra is a Nabataean site, with buildings carved into the walls of the sandstone canyons. The site is free for entry and yet was less crowded. Initially used to house the merchants on the Silk Road, the area was used by the Bedouins for centuries post the decline of Nabateans.
Also known as Sig al-Barid, it was a breezy evening when we reached Little Petra. A desert looking pathway took us to the magnificent architecture, known as the Cold Canyon – huge, tall carved architecture which doesn’t allow sunlight to come in. Some places wide and some quite narrow, the entrance to the inside of the complex was in fact through a very narrow passage, welcoming us to a wonderful big area.
At the end of the canyon there is a stairway which takes you to the other side where people usually go hiking but it is advisable to not go without a guide. We left the place with a heavy heart.
Little Petra was mesmerizing and the sunset behind the mountains made the area look mysteriously awesome. While leaving through the curvaceous road I got a chance to witness the most beautiful sunset ever. Our Salah, happily stopped by the roadside to let us capture & take away the beauty with us.
Al-Khazneh (The Treasury)
We reached our hotel and gorged on some Jordanian Shawarma and cold drinks. After a brief wait we ascended towards the Treasury (also known as Al Khazna) to witness Petra by Night. This is one sight that I had been longing to capture since a long time. People say that, the Petra visit is incomplete without the light and music show at the Treasury.
It was pitch dark with stars twinkling up high and the path lit with around 1500 candles. The experience of walking the entire Siq to treasury was out of this world. (I actually felt like a fresher in that boat rowing towards Hogwarts.)
What welcomed us at the Treasury was totally impeccable. Numerous candle-lamps on the ground were lit between us and the treasury. We were asked to sit on the carpet and were served “chai”. It was soon followed by a beautiful musical composition. The artists played lovely local music and the ambiance turned surreal.
In the morning, we left for the 40m high Treasury to watch it in daylight, and go an extra mile. Including a hike of 822 steps, we left at 6 am for the famous Monastery. Walking through the Siq in the morning was theatrical; a natural sandstone gorge that gently winds towards the ancient city of Petra, the city of sand, sandstone and beautiful architecture… the sight is still afresh in my mind.
The journey from the Siq up to the Treasury is around 2 km. Passing through huge canyons and witnessing the manmade work, left me in complete surprise.
From the Treasury to the monastery was quite a journey. On the way we saw the street of facades, various tombs which are actually huge intricate structures carved out of sandstone, tunnels, the Great temple, etc.
Walking via different trails viz. Al-Khubtha, the Royal Tombs trail we reached monastery, the hike was tiring but worthy of all the sweat. It is huge and carved out perfectly, one of the largest structures in Petra measuring 47m x 48.3m. The view from top and the valley behind, every bit of it was nothing less than a mystery. No matter how many pictures I took, the beauty of the Petra city is indeed indescribable.
On our way back, we bought a few trinkets and souvenirs. We made it to the guest house in time and bid adieu to “Petra”, only to leave for another beauty – ‘Wadi Rum’. We had our lunch at Al Qantarah Restaurant, a marvellous option indeed!
Things to plan your trip well:
- Ticket to “Petra by Night” – 17 JD, tour duration around 2 hrs. Runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday each week (reach Petra visitor centre by 20:30 hrs)
- Please do not purchase any antiquities, be they rocks or coins. You may not know if they are real or not.
- Say a polite “no, thank you” if you don’t want to buy something, don’t get into any argument.
- Carry lots of water, don’t forget your shades and scarf / hat. Better carry dry food / snacks too. While at night, carry a pullover, it may get a little cold.
- Ticket costs: 30 JD
Stay tuned to know about the rest of the journey.
article by Stuti Shrimali