Your Free CopY
Volume 5 - 2008
Sailing to glory
A slice of
24 Arabic Calligraphy:
The art of literacy
28 Laugh your
way to good
place history health
From the Ceo’s desk:
Welcome on board this Oman Air flight today. We look forward to providing you with a comfortable and enjoyable
experience on this and every flight that you take with us.
Oman Air continues to record remarkable growth against a background of unfavourable economic conditions prevailing
in world markets. During the first six months of 2008, we carried nearly 1million passengers, an increase of 50% over the
same period last year.
With the addition of two Boeing 737NGs joining our fleet in the coming months, we plan to introduce new regional
routes and increase frequency to several existing destinations.
In order to provide round-the-clock service to our customers, we have recently opened a new Call Centre in Muscat,
located at Knowledge Oasis. Manned 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, this facility is equipped with state-of-the-art
communications capability, and will in future, provide our customers a full range of reservations and travel services when
calling from anywhere on our fast expanding network.
In this issue of “Wings of Oman”, we bring you articles featuring places to visit both home in Oman or overseas to one
of our latest destinations – Bangalore, a dynamic city at the heart of “New India’.
The Wings of Oman has been featuring the hidden gems of Oman and this time we focus on Al Ashkarah as the ideal
getaway for you. The area manifests a unique suffusion of the sea and the desert, the azure expanse of the Arabian Sea
skirting the spectacular Sharqiyah Sands, previously known as the Wahiba Sands.
The Samayil valley – our main Oman feature – with its beautiful landscape and water channels on the banks of which
lush green date palm gardens are situated, can be a dazzling spot for expeditions.
Laugh your way to good health, redefining management in the knowledge era, are only some of the many interesting
write-ups covered in this edition, besides the other regular columns.
On behalf of the entire Oman Air team, I thank you for choosing to fly with us.
Sailing to glory
The happening place
A dynamic city at the heart of the
“new India”. Here the pace of change
24 A slice of
The Samayil valley with its beautiful
landscape and water channels on
the banks of which lush green date
palm gardens are situated can be a
good spot for excursion
The art of literacy
From the beginning of the Islamic era
(A.D. 622), calligraphy was considered to
be the most revered medium of artistic
expression, because it was used to
transcribe the word of God
Al Ashkarah: Quaint
little fishing town
26 The coastal town of
Al Ashkarah is considered the
jewel of the Sharqiyah region
Laugh your way
to good health
Laughter is a refreshing tonic
that elevates the mood, gently
releasing us from tensions and
Silk - a history of nature's
Silk...the very word conjures up
potent images of prestige and
luxury, sumptuousness and
Oman Air’s inflight magazine is issued by:
Corporate Communications & Media Department - oman Air
P.O. Box: 58, Muscat International Airport, For regional/international advertising enquiries contact:
Postal Code 111, Sultanate of Oman
Tel: +968 24519616, Fax: +968 24510771 Media Score Services
E-mail: email@example.com Dubai Media City,
Website: www.omanair.aero P.O. Box 502023, Dubai, UAE.
Tel: +971 4 3908030,
For Oman advertising enquiries contact: Fax: +971 4 3908031
Publishers: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
National publishing And Advertising LLC (NpA) The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for errors or omissions
P.O. Box: 3112, P.C. 112, Ruwi contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers.
Tel: +968 24793098, Fax: +968 24708445
E-mail: email@example.com All copyrights are reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced
Website: www.npaoman.com without our written permission.
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WingOfOman.indd 1 8/6/08 10:52:01 AM
Muscat International Airport
Among Top Me
Muscat International Airport took the fourth place (Best and commitment of the team, as well as the organisation
Airport by Region Category) in the Middle East, with regard to its structure, which has been approved for the aim of upgrading
level of service quality, according to the Airport Service Quality all company activities, he said. We are extremely pleased not
(ASQ) Survey, conducted by the industry body Airports Council only to be recognised for our quality services, but also to be
International (ACI). The survey proclaimed the top performing once again internationally recognised for our customer service
airports in Service Quality throughout 2007. This signifies the efforts. This clearly vindicates every member of our staff's
efficiency and the successful strategies implemented by Oman ongoing commitment and endeavor to maintain the highest
Air, the sole service provider for Muscat International Airport. level of services at Muscat International Airport. Al Bahlani
Furthermore, it confirms the excellent record of professional expressed the management’s gratitude to all employees at the
and high quality service standards that have also been airport who worked very hard to provide the best service, and
recognised, by various international organisations worldwide. assured that he, along with the employees would continue
efforts to retain this spot.
The Corporate Communications and Media Department of
Oman Air highlighted that Airports Council International based The Corporate Communications and Media Department of
in Geneva, Switzerland is the only global trade representative Oman Air acknowledged that IATA has recognised Oman Air
of the world’s airports. ACI was established in 1991 and counts as an accredited member of AHS 1000, for compliance with
580 members operating over 1640 airports, which collectively IATA/AHM 804 measurement of service delivery standards.
handle around 96% of the world's air passengers, in 175 It further noted that since 1997, the company was the first
countries and territories. ground handler in the Gulf region to achieve this recognition
and to uphold it to this day.
They notified that ACI represents airports interests with
Governments and international organisations such as ICAO, They explained that Airport Handling Standard 1000 (AHS
develops standards, policies, recommended practices for 1000) is a dominant quality measurement and control system
airports, and provides information and training opportunities introduced by experts of the airline industry, in compliance with
to raise standards around the world. IATA AHM 804 for ground handling agents of airlines, adding
that AHS 1000, which not only is now the most extensively used
The survey which sensor customer service efforts made by
quality measurement and control system worldwide involving
airports captured immediate appraisal of 34 airport service
handlers and carriers, but is also IATA AHM 804 compliant.
factors, through 200,000 passengers at 99 world airports. The
factors included airport access / navigation and connectivity, They concluded saying that at Muscat International Airport,
airport services / facilities, security and immigration, airport the Oman Air team takes pride in delivering quality airport
environment, arrival services, value for money and overall service and sees it as being part of the overall tourism value
satisfaction with the airport and airline services. progression, which is good for their airport and their nation.
That means that the commitment is given main concern
Mr. Hamood Bin Mohammed Al Bahlani, Oman Air’s
politically as well as operationally by the airport.
Divisional Manager Service Delivery, stated that Oman Air has
been playing a significant role in ensuring that customers’ The hardworking and dedicated staff genuinely look to
expectations using Muscat International Airport are met, create the uppermost quality of service environments across
according to the highest international standards. He confirmed the airport, for all out clients, on a day-to-day basis - this is a
the commitment towards continuing to improve performance reward that everyone working in the frontline services at the
in this area. No doubt, this recognition reflects the efficiency airport can be proud of.
oman Air Sindbad FFp
Tie-ups With More partners
At Oman Air we believe that your journeys with us should be Integrative Wellness that is housed in a four-storey building and
a rewarding experience, especially if you are a frequent flyer. combines medical technology with traditional healing therapies,
Sindbad's unique offerings include more generous bonus miles as well as nutrition and fitness programmes. The philosophy is
per journey. Oman Air takes its Sindbad Frequent Flyer Programme
that all-round health requires the harmony of three components:
even further by adding more partners worldwide.
the elemental, structural and emotional.
Al Nahda resort & Spa oman
Al Nahda Resort & Spa is a holiday destination by itself. Set Sultan Center LLC
amidst exotic fruit trees and enhanced by ample lawns with Sultan Center LLC is a leading retail chain across the Middle
flowering plants and exotic palms, Al Nahda Resort and Spa is East with its presence in Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon. TSC
in every sense of the phrase, sheer paradise. The 30-acre resort,
opened its first full-service store ‘TSC Sultan Center’ in Muscat,
which opened in December 2006, boasts over 100 villas.
Oman in 1999. The center also features an in-store restaurant,
A day or two or longer at the resort is a great way to get close to
nature and make best use of the wellness treatments. Jeans Grill that serves a wide variety of cuisine from local dishes
piyavate Hospital of Thailand to international favourites. TSC is Kuwait’s largest independent
retailer and a leading supplier of supermarket items, perishables,
Piyavate International Hospital is a publicly owned health care
services facility listed on the Securities Exchange of Thailand. and general merchandise in the Middle East.
Since it began serving patients in 1993, the 27-story hospital on TSC is a joint-stock company listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange
Rama 9 Road in Bangkok has continually developed the expertise
for more than 12 years. Furthermore, it has 30 years experience in
of its health facility, soon to reach 300 beds, and offers a range of
specialized services. They have been ISO 9001:2000 certified since retail business. Sultan Center has 47 stores in Kuwait, Oman and
2001 and are licensed by the Royal Thai Government’s Ministry Jordan, and with their new acquisition in Lebanon recently, the
of Public Health. Part of the Piyavate Hospital includes the TRIA number of its stores will reach 53.
Omani sailors are making waves around the world in sailing competitions
Sailing to glory
oman Sail is an initiative to develop and train a core team
of omani sailors who will represent the Sultanate both in
europe and in oman at key sailing events and carry forth
the victorious sailing legacy started by Shabab oman
The Arabs were not only master navigators, but also experienced
meteorologists and geographers - true scientists of the sea. Their sea
adventures have become legendary. For Oman, Sindbad the sailor is
everyone’s hero. Sohar, a replica of a ninth-century Arab dhow which
sailed from Oman to China in 1980 covering 9,600 kilometres
retracing Sindbad’s trail is fresh in everyone’s memory.
The key to Oman’s maritime success, however, was the
ancient secret of the monsoon winds: the fact that they could
rely on prevailing winds to carry them eastward in winter
and westward in summer across the Indian Ocean. So,
it is no surprise if Omani sailors make waves in sailing
competitions around the world.
Image source : Kat Birtwistle
Shabab Oman is the striking symbol of Oman’s glorious maritime heritage
Shabab Oman, the Royal Navy of Oman vessel, recently stood France was next in her sights when the multi-masted,
13th at the Sailing Boats International Race held in July this year in ocean-going tall ship set sail on 1 April, 1989 to take part in the
which 35 sailing boats from various countries participated. celebrations marking the anniversary of the French Revolution and
Shabab Oman is the consummation of a dream project the international declaration on human rights.
envisioning a splendid tall ship that would serve as a striking En route, she took part in a pageant of tall ships held in
symbol of the Sultanate’s ancient and glorious Britain on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of
maritime heritage. She was built in Scotland London's mayoralty.
in 1971 from solid oak and an assortment In April 1992, Shabab Oman sailed
of other fine Scottish timber, and is from Italy to join tall ships in the 500th
ranked among the world’s tallest ships anniversary celebrations of Portuguese
today. Little wonder then she has
explorer Christopher Columbus'
participated in scores of events
discovery of America in 1492. Two
worldwide winning admiration
years later, Shabab Oman again
from maritime fans. Over the years,
sailed to France to participate in the
she has taken part in numerous
50th anniversary of the Normandy
international regattas and historic
landing during the Second World
voyages, having visited over 30
countries and logging thousands of
nautical miles. Following His Majesty's directives,
Her maiden mission was a tour of Shabab Oman sailed for St Petersburg in
GCC states as part of the Year of the Russia in 1996 to participate in the 300th
Youth celebrations. Three years later, in anniversary celebrations of the founding of
1986, Shabab Oman embarked on her first the Russian Navy.
transoceanic voyage to the United States as a Shabab Oman also took part in the international
participant in the maritime show organised to celebrate the Cutty Sark race for tall ships in Germany which concluded
anniversary of the construction of the Statue of Liberty in New York. at Copenhagen, Denmark.
Oman Sail team was in action with their Extreme
40 racing boat, Masirah, during the fourth leg of
the European iShares Cup from 29-31 August in
Kiel, Germany. The Omani team competed against
Olympic Gold Medallists and America’s Cup Winners.
In glorious sunshine, 10-15 knots of breeze had Oman
Sail’s Extreme 40s often powering off the start line
and soaring into the shore on one hull.
With the completion of the Kiel leg, Oman is now
placed fifth overall, as they head towards the last leg of
the competition in Amsterdam from 19-21 September.
Omani sailing team getting ready to venture into the sea
The contest has so far completed the legs in Lugano,
(Switzerland), Hyeres (France), Cowes (England) and
The iShares Cup 2008 - a series of five events that
place in Europe – not only provides competitive close-
Her participation won her a prestigious award — a silver shield
for the best tall ship to travel the longest distance without penalty quarter racing with swift Extreme 40 catamarans but also thrilling
points. viewing to the public. Each three-day regatta hosts as many as 18
In winning the silver shield, Shabab Oman became the first Arab races with most lasting 15-20 minutes in duration.
tall ship to have bagged an award in Cutty Sark regattas, breaking The Oman Sail Team’s pre-selection was based on completing
a long tradition of awards hitherto being claimed exclusively by gruelling land and sea assessments and intensive sail training. It
European ships. comprises talented members of The Royal Army of Oman, The
Royal Air Force of Oman, The Royal Navy of Oman, The Royal
The Omani Police Force and The Sultan’s Special Forces, as well as an
key to exceptional crew of professional British sailors.
maritime Omani nationals, Abdullah Al Busaidi and Ahmed Al Maamari
success, were the first of the Omani team aboard Masirah – skippered by
however, British yachtsman, Pete Cumming – to take part in the prestigious
ancient iShares Cup competition recently at picturesque Lake Lugarno on
secret the Swiss-Italian border and also in Hyeres, France.
of the The Oman Sail Team had an excellent opportunity to rub
winds shoulders with some of the best professional sailors in the
world. Musandam, formerly Dame Ellen MacArthur’s world record
In February 1997, it added another feather to her cap by winning breaking B&Q/Castorama, is the Sultanate of Oman’s flagship
a prize in the 1997 Cutty Sark regatta in Osaka. sailing boat. The second boat is the Masirah, a catamaran with
Buoyed by Shabab’s phenomenal success, Oman is going full two hulls and a deck that is made from a trampoline-like netting
steam in the sailing arena. stretched between the hulls. This sailing machine, innovative in
Oman Sail Team has been set up under the guidance of Her design and cutting edge in racing ability, can reach exhilarating
Excellency, The Minister of Tourism, to develop and train a core speeds and yet still provide a great ride flying around on one hull
team of Omani sailors who will represent the Sultanate both in
in light winds.
Europe and in Oman at key sailing events.
One of the principle objectives of the
Oman Sail Team is to reignite Oman’s
maritime heritage and help promote
the Sultanate as a world class sailing Team spirit to the fore in facing international competition
destination and a place for inward tourism
and investment from Northern Europe.
The project will also play a pivotal role in
developing a Festival of the Sea as part
of the 40th National Day Celebrations in
Keeping in tradition with its revered
maritime heritage, the Oman Sail Team has
gained world recognition by participating
in the iShares Cup Extreme 40 Series. The
One of the many splendid temples that dot Bangalore
The happening place
A dynamic city at the heart of the “new India”. Here the pace of change is extraordinary.
Bangalore software exports touched Rs. 700,000 million Wodeyar III as the ruler of Mysore State of which Bangalore
(US $ 16,640 million) last fiscal year and still continue to lead in was the administrative capital. But in 1831 the British took over
the IT industry. Among the prominent ten software exporters are and continued to be at the helm till 1881. In 1882, the British-
Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Digital, I-Flex Solutions, Mphsasis BFL, Lucent administered Cantonment became a separate unit. Bangalore
Technologies, Hewlett Packard, IBM Global Services and Philips was made into a Corporation in 1949.
Software. Now, you can imagine the standing of Bangalore,
capital of Karnataka and known as the Silicon Valley of India, and Gowda, a
the attention it deserves worldwide. visionary
Bangalore is certainly one of the most happening cities in statesman,
India. With all its natural beauty, pleasant climate and many tourist
attractions Bangalore is known as the ‘garden city of India.’ foundation
History: This multicultural, hi-tech city made its beginning of the fort
from a mud fort (near Victoria Hospital, City Market) in 1537.
Kempe Gowda, a visionary statesman, had laid the foundation From being a key centre in the manufacturing economy and
of the fort. The mud fort was later rebuilt and enlarged by one later as an information technology hub Bangalore has come a
of Karnataka’s greatest freedom fighters, Hyder Ali. Since its long way. The public sector, in particular, are the most active
foundation in 1537, Bangalore was ruled by several rulers, like sectors because it is home to many heavy industries, industries of
Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar of the Yadava dynasty, Hyder Ali and telecommunications, aerospace industries, readymade garments
his son, Tipu Sultan, known as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’. The British factories, many software companies and even a number of
came to play their role in 1799 by installing Krishnarajendra defence establishments.
Image source : Gallo Images/Getty Images
Lonely Planet Images
The Cubbon Park, city’s green space A butterfly at the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
Sight-seeing: Any tourist brochure of Bangalore cannot do displays the personal collection of the artist Venkatappa. Adjacent
without a photo of Vidhana Soudha, housing the State Secretariat. to these buildings is the octagonal-shaped aquarium, home to a
It is a marvel of modern architecture and is a fine amalgamation wide variety of fishes.
of traditional Dravidian and modern styles. With four floors, it has Yet another splendid edifice is the Bangalore Palace set amidst
beautiful stone carvings, ornamental motifs and wood work. Its over 430 acres and has Gothic windows, fortified towers, arches,
annexe, the eight-storey Vikas Soudha, is another splendid edifice. turreted parapets and carved woodwork. Some portions are open
In the evenings tourists swarm the area for lazing around. On to the public. The Fort and Tipu Sultan’s Palace is must-see sight
Sundays and public holidays Vidhana Soudha is illuminated and for those inclined towards history. The Tipu’s Summer Palace is
it becomes a visual spectacle. Just facing the Vidhana Soudha is made mostly of wood with finely embellished balconies, pillars
the High Court building (called Attara Kacheri), a red-brick colonial and arches. The two-storey structure, a replica of Daria Daulat Bagh
structure that was originally the headquarters of the East India in Srirangpattana, served as a summer retreat of the great freedom
Company. To the left is Bangalore’s cricket ground, Chinnaswamy fighter, Tipu Sultan.
Stadium. The High Court
The entire area comes under Cubbon Park laid out in 1864 by building (called
Attara Kacheri), a
Sir Richard Sankey, the then Chief Engineer of Mysore. It is named red-brick colonial
after Sir Mark Cubbon, Bangalore’s longest serving Commissioner. structure was
Lawns with vibrant flower beds, shady bowers and flowering trees, originally the
headquarters of the
make this an ideal place for fitness freaks and the elderly to take east India Company
their morning jogs or evening walks.
Just a stone throw from the Chinnaswamy Stadium are the Among the jewels of Bangalore is the Lalbagh Botanical Garden,
Visvesvarayya Industrial and Technological Museum, Government one of the biggest lung spaces in the city, which contains more
Museum and the Venkatappa Art Gallery (all lined next to each than 2,000 species of trees spread over 240 acres. It was founded
other on Kasturba Road). The museum, developed as a tribute to in 1760 by Hyder Ali and later expanded by the British, who added
Sir M. Visvesvarayya, one of the architects of modern Bangalore, a glasshouse, a replica of Crystal Palace, to make themselves feel
showcases modern science and has a mobile science exhibition at home. At the north side of the garden is a granite mound, at
that goes around the state throughout the year. The Government the top of which is one of the watchtowers of the original city. The
Museum is a repository of art and artifacts made of pottery, tower itself is closed, but from the rock there is a view over the
terracotta models, copper plates, etc. The Venkatappa Art Gallery rapidly developing city skyline.
Lalit Mahal Palace Hotel in Mysore
Apart from being every photographer’s dream destination,
the Lalbagh flower show held every year on Republic Day
and Independence Day, organised by the Department of
Horticulture, attracts visitors from all over the State.
St Mark’s Cathedral on Mahatma Gandhi Road is the most
important of the many churches built in Bangalore by the British.
The Bull Temple is another important monument built by the city’s
founding father, Kempe Gowda. The Jumma Masjid in City Market
serves as a religious centre for the city’s Muslim population.
The ISKCON or Radha Krishna Temple on Chord Road houses
four gopurams, an amphitheatre, a library, a museum, etc.
Among other sights worth seeing are the Jawaharlal Nehru
Planetarium, Ulsoor Lake (boating is available), Indira Gandhi
Musical Fountain and the huge statue of Hindu deity Shiva on
Just 22kms away from Bangalore is the Bannerghatta National
Park spread over 25, 000 acres and has a zoo, a butterfly park,
a museum and a sanctuary. Safari rides are available for tourists
where one can see tigers.
There is a plethora of sights for those interested in venturing
out of Bangalore: Mysore, Sriranpattana, Chamundi Hills, Nandi
Hills, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, etc. The Daria Daulat Bagh in Srirangpattana
Shopping: An area of shopping where Bangalore excels
is the silk. Sandalwood handicrafts are also widely available.
A profusion of silk shops can be found in the city’s major
shopping areas like Mahatma Gandhi Road, Commercial Street,
Brigade Road, Gandhinagar. Wander through the narrow streets
of the City Market district, where traders barter, carrying goods
in vast packages on their heads or pulled by buffalo carts. The
main market is now housed in purpose-built premises, where
colourful spices are piled high, and marigold flowers are sold.
The city boasts of scores of elegant malls where branded
items dazzle on its show windows. Some of the famous malls
include the Forum, Central, Garuda, Eva, Orion, etc.
Hotels and food: There are countless hotels, resorts and
guest houses in all parts of the city of Bangalore. If you are
The Tipu Fort and Palace
looking for an expensive and luxurious stay, the five-star hotels
or five-star deluxe hotels in Bangalore are perfect for you. If you
How to fly: Oman Air flies 5 times a week.
do not want to put much pressure on your bag, you can stay in
When to go: Throughout the year, though April-
cheap or budget hotels in Bangalore. May is slightly hotter.
And for food buffs, there are restaurants/international fast Time Zone: GMT + 5 ½ hrs.
food joints to suit every palate. Currency: 100 Indian Rupees = US$ 2.33454
So, if you want to be at a happening place, Bangalore is the 4,284 Indian Rupees = US$ 100
right destination. Dialling Code: For India +91, for Bangalore (80)
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The town nestles amidst lush date plantations
A slice of history
The Samayil valley with its beautiful landscape and water channels on the banks of which lush
green date palm gardens are situated can be a good spot for excursion
The history of Oman would be incomplete without a mention southeast. Pools of water and running streams enliven the
of Samayil. For, it was the place from where the rays of Islam stony grey wadi floor, lined along its bank with palm plantations
radiated throughout the country. and villages. This fertile, accessible wadi has always been a key
route, the link between the mountains and the coast.
It was in Samayil, Oman’s first place of worship, ‘Masjid Al
Mudhmar’ (meaning a domain) was built by a resident of the
Sights of interest: Of course, Masjid Al Mudhmar, being
the first masjid of Oman, is a major place of attraction. Masjid
town after he returned from Madinah having been inspired by
Al Mudhmar was reopened after renovations were carried out
a mosque there.
on July 11, 1979. Further restoration work was carried out in
Geography: Samayil is the name given to twelve 1990. The mosque at the far end of the town, set amidst lush
connected, but unwalled villages which lie halfway along plantations, attracts scores of visitors.
wadi Samayil. The sixteen kilometres of palm orchards, fields,
watchtowers and large homes create a picturesque and luxuriant Masjid Al Mudhmar, Oman’s first masjid
settlement. The town is divided into two parts – Sufalat (upper)
Samayil and Alayat (lower) Samayil. Located in the Dakhiliyah
Region (Interior Region) of the Sultanate of Oman close to the
Samayil Gap, a break in the Hajar Mountains, Samayil covers a
land area of 3,500 sq. km. across 55 villages.
The broad wadi Samayil runs through a natural break in the
mountains, between the limestone bulk of Jabal Akhdar to
the west and the volcanic peaks of the eastern Hajar to the
Image source : Khamis Al Moharbi
Abdullah Al Shuhi
Yousuf Al Zadjali
Overlooking the wadi in Upper Samayil is the Samayil fort standing on a
precipitous cliff rising 90 metres above the wadi. It is an imposing structure,
with a commanding position well suited to its two-fold purpose – to control the
passage of the Samayil Gap and to protect the whole settlement. The plan of the
fort follows the rise and fall of the surrounding rock. The massive barbican is on
the lowest side of the fort and contained the garrison captain’s living quarters.
The barbican is joined to the corner by low curtain walls of irregular shape and Such bountiful date palms are seen everywhere
considerable length. Samayil Wilayat has a total of about 115 castles, forts and
watchtowers. Suffice to say that Samayil offers an insight into the history of
famous for its
date palm trees
and the logo
of this wilayat
depicts just that
A beautiful, natural view
Samayil is also famous for its date palm trees which envelope most of its area.
The sight of lush date palms is a feast for the sore eyes. It produces some of the
best varieties of dates in Oman. There are a number of date palm processing
factories in the area.
The Samayil valley with its beautiful landscape and water channels on the
banks of which lush green date palm gardens are situated can be a good spot for
excursions. The springs, aflaj and green pockets also enhance the beauty of the
wilayat’s verdant landscape. The wilayat is blessed with 194 aflaj and 15 springs.
Weaving is also a traditional craft still practiced by its inhabitants. The most
important industries of Samayil are tanning, silver, leather products, jewellery
and Omani Halwa.
An old settlement
Samayil abounds in folk culture. Songs like Razha, Azi, Qasifiyah, Nadabi,
Masinia, Maradafa (Taghrud), Bushri, Dana, Rababa and Mizmar continue to
enchant the people of this fertile wadi area.
How to get there
Thus, Samayil combines culture and heritage with beauty that makes the place
a must-see destination. Take the Nizwa road and keep
driving until you get a left turn with
a signboard marked Samayil. It is
about 85 kms from Muscat.
Lush date palms line every road in town
Arabic Calligraphy: The art of literacy
Arabic calligraphy is art imbued with spiritual dimension
Though initially a means of expression, an efficient tool transcend figural limitations by placing the utmost emphasis on
to convey language, in all its richness of flowing arabesque pattern, colour, texture and design, to the point of metaphysical
form and crisp geometric design, it became "spiritual pattern abstraction.
formed by worldly tools", as Islamic sources define it. And The art of calligraphy wielded potent political power as the
what has become a supreme art form is alive - contemporary Arabic language evolved from a regional idiom to a lingua
calligraphic artists are continuing to push every creative and franca, the 'glue' that stuck varied people and an ever-expanding
symbolic boundary forward, way beyond the confines of the empire together. As early as the 10th century, words were used
Arab world, including some of Oman’s premier graphic artists, on objects as diverse as textiles, jewellery, steel and tile work,
who use Arabic calligraphy in their mixed media work. as well as buildings. Arabic calligraphy is exquisitely carved
From the beginning of the Islamic era, calligraphy was in stone at the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in
considered to be the most revered medium of artistic Muscat, as well as many other Omani mosques.
expression, because it was used to transcribe the word of God.
The stylised letterforms evolved as an art medium in order to
give visual emphasis to the verses of the Qur'an. The reason
why everyone finds Arabic calligraphy so inspiring and uplifting
is that they are consciously or unconsciously responding to a
numinous appeal. To this day, after arduous training, Arabic
calligraphers strive to attain aesthetic perfection, a balance
between beauty and meaning.
Calligraphy acquired both a divine and decorative significance
never attained in European culture, or even in the Asian Pacific.
Where it departs from sheer representation, is in its ability to
Image source : Mohammed Alsayegh
Early manuscripts were not heavily decorated for fear of The earliest copies of the Qur'an were written in the Jazm
allowing anything to intrude on the text. The arts of the Islamic script, but within the first century of the Islamic era, it was
book - calligraphy, illumination, illustration and binding came replaced by a group of more angular scripts known as Kufic,
of age during the middle period. At first decoration was used after the city of Kufa in Iraq. From about the 12th century, the
within Qur'anic texts to indicate the division between verses or Kufic script began to be superseded by cursive scripts, of which
groups of verses. The earliest Qur'ans do not seem to have had Naskhi became the most important, although Kufic continued
titles at the beginning of each chapter, but decorated horizontal to be used for decorative purposes.
bands were used to fill out the last line of the chapters at a
relatively early date. By the 9th century, illumination and
calligraphic decorative elements entered Qur'anic art, and the
letterforms began to be embellished to the point where they
became decorative forms in themselves.
Arabic script is written from right to left, and has an alphabet
of 28 letters, though their character may be altered according
to their position in the sentence, making Arabic an infinitely
rich and varied language. And there are apparently endless
modifications available in each script type, according to the
individual style of the calligrapher, with great masters of the art
exercising profound effects.
Each style of script required a different writing implement,
the most common of which was a reed pen, the qalam. The
raw reeds grew in swamps, of which the most prized came
from the Persian Gulf, and became valued trade items,
often beautifully decorated with ivory, bone or tortoiseshell.
However, for some styles of the Naskhi script, the hard, black,
thin branches of a Javanese tree were much favoured.
Although Arabic calligraphic designs may seem to be
uninitiated like an abstract carpet or, in the later Ottoman
evolution - a flurry of extravagant loops, they do in fact follow
an inspired system, a symbolic interpretation of the order of
the universe, in which the factor of change inevitably repeats
its cycles. Continuity of life is represented by meandering
lines; eternity by the circle; birth and maturity by rosettes and
palmettes. For the goal of this unique art of literacy is to achieve
a perfect balance between beauty and meaning, decoration
Sunset on Al Ashkarah coast
Al Ashkarah: Quaint Image source : Khalil Al Zadjali
little fishing town
Very few places in oman can be visited at any time of the year. For that, there should be
one criterion that the temperatures in that place should be cool all year round. Most of us
are aware about Jabal Shams and Jabal Akhdar but few people know about Al Ashkarah, a
quaint little town in the Sharqiyah region. A cool all year round destination, Al Ashkarah
can detox your stressed spirits.
The coastal town of Al Ashkarah is considered the jewel of the The surreal scenery of the place is out of the world. As dawn
Sharqiyah region. In the past, the place served as a landing point approaches, the area gets bathed in pale moonlight, giving the
for merchant ships from Iran, Yemen and India. sand a blue haze and the water a grey mass with silver ripples. And
Al Ashkarah manifests a unique suffusion of the sea and then, the scene changes — from being bathed in soft silver light
the desert, the azure expanse of the Arabian Sea skirting the to being covered in sharp golden rays — in a matter of minutes.
spectacular Sharqiyah Sands. In the evening, a good crowd laze around the beach. As cool
The inhabitants live in the lap of nature and are closely associated sea breeze rustles across, one can take a deep lungful of air,
with the sea for their livelihood. But the best part of Al Ashkarah is savouring the freshness.
its nice weather. Even during the height of summer, when Oman The town is mainly known for fishing which mainly uses
is blazing, Al Ashkarah is really pleasant. Little wonder tourists and fibreglass boats for fishing activity. Nearby, you can visit Jaalan Bani
locals alike converge here to escape the heat elsewhere in the Bu Ali, known for its traditional dhow building, halwa, khanjars,
country. silk and for its 52-domed Jame Hamoda masjid.
How to go to
Take the Sur route and turn to Al Kamil at
221 kms from Sahwa roundabout. Follow the
Jaalan Bani Bu Hasan and Jaalan Bani Bu Ali
Birds at play at the Al Ashkarah beach route and then to Al Ashkarah.
Laugh your way to
Laughter is a refreshing tonic that elevates the mood, gently releasing
us from tensions and social constraints
It is said that laughter is the best medicine. But, do we take humour in stressful situations, we may be able to change our
this seriously? Perhaps we would if we know that even yoga responses to the threat. When we laugh, we simply cannot be
when mixed with laughter can be a great combination to worrying deeply at the same time.
reduce stress. Here we focus on plain laughter and what it can
do to promote your well-being and happiness. What research shows?
If you hate to do a regular workout, laughter may be the
Laughter is an affirmation of our humaneness, a face saving
exercise programme you’ve been looking for! Laughter is called
way to express our anxieties, fears and other hidden emotions
“inner jogging”. A robust laugh gives the muscles of your face,
to others. It breaks the ice, builds trust and draws us together
shoulders, diaphragm and abdomen a good workout. Heart rate
into a common state of well-being.
and blood pressure temporarily rise, breathing becomes faster
Humour may be one of our best antidotes to stressful and deeper and oxygen surges through your bloodstream.
situations. When confronted with a threatening situation, Sometimes your muscles go limp and your blood pressure
animals have two situations: either they flee or they fight. We temporarily may fall, leaving you in a mellow euphoria. A good
humans have a second alternative: to laugh. By seeing the laugh can burn up as many calories per hour as brisk walking.
Image source : Gallo Images/Getty Images
Laughter promotes well-being and happiness
During a good hearty laugh, your brain orchestrates hormonal can also trigger different thoughts that affect moods of sadness,
rushes that rouse you to a high-level alertness and numb pain. happiness and anger. So when we put on a happy face in times
Researchers speculate that laughter triggers the release of of adversity, we are actually changing our neurohormone levels
endomorphines, the brain's opiates. This may account for the and they change our moods. So if you can’t laugh, smile.
pain relief that accompanies laughter. Avoid negative humour: Not all humour is positive and
healthy. Watch out for scorn, sarcasm, ridicule and contempt and
Make sure inappropriate humour. And don’t joke about people’s names.
They have to live with them. It is important to be sensitive to each
occasion and know what humour really helps.
are fun to
be with Tell a joke: Having a good sense of humour doesn’t mean
you have to have a store of jokes or tell them perfectly. Do not
worry about how well you are telling it. Sometimes messing up
It has been long recognised that stress weakens the immune the delivery can create something that’s even funnier than the
system, thereby increasing the vulnerability to illnesses. Only original joke.
in the mid 1980s, however, did researchers study the impact of
Laugh at yourself: Focus on yourself rather than others. If
humour and laughter on the immune system.
you expect to do everything right all of the time, then you can’t
afford to have a sense of humour. But if you can allow yourself
How to use humour: the inevitable mistakes and stupidities then you can laugh
Here are some suggestions for repairing your sense of humour at yourself. Those who can laugh at themselves have a much
and regaining healthy laughter. stronger sense of self worth and higher esteem than those who
expose yourself to humour: There is a lot of funny can’t.
material around. Actively seek out things that make you laugh. Try humour instead of anxiety or anger: A stressful
Hang out with happy people: Make sure that people situation can sometimes be transformed into a bit of fun if you
around you are fun to be with. Certain people make you feel can see the humour in it. Next time you are livid about something
relaxed and happy. Others are too depressing, or relentlessly try to make your point with humour instead of anger. Humour
serious. Try to avoid getting bogged down by them. Spend more can also help reduce anxiety.
time with people who boost your mood. It’s reassuring in these days of deadly epidemics and sometimes
put on a happy face: Research has shown that just changing painful, expensive medical treatments that laughter is cheap and
your facial muscles can set off different physiological changes. It effective. And the only side effect is pleasure.
Different varieties of silk
Silk - a history of nature's
Silk...the very word conjures up potent images of prestige and luxury,
sumptuousness and yet purity
Travelling back in time to China some three thousand years, When the silkworm hatches, it's about the size and shape of a
Neolithic black pottery has been unearthed, decorated with grain of rice, and it takes about a month for it to become roughly
elaborate silkworm patterns. And around that time, during the as thick as a finger. When mature, the worm swings its head
reign of China's first Emperor, Fo Xi, silkworms were being raised, back and forth in a figure of eight movement, pushing
and mulberry trees cultivated to feed them. However, as is the two strands of silk out from the sides of its body.
way of the world and the stuff of legends - it was by a minor These merge together with
accident that happened to a fourteen year-old Empress, that the aid of a gummy substance
the technique of reeling silk evolved. In 2640 BC, Hsi Ling-Shi, called sericin, and the silkworm
the teenage bride of the Yellow Emperor, was sitting winds the strands round and round itself
beneath a mulberry tree, sipping tea. As she to form a cocoon.
looked down into her cup, she noticed The next stage is the crucial one for obtaining
something bobbing about. It usable silk for weaving into cloth. The silkworm
was the chrysalis of a changes into a chrysalis inside its cocoon and
silkworm, which had presently breaks through the silk network to
been eating the leaves emerge as a moth. But this tearing of the cocoon
above her. When the spoils the continuous silk thread. So selected
fibre was unravelled from this cocoon, it was found breeding moths are allowed to hatch, but
to be one continuous thread and was woven into a the rest are prevented from doing so by
tapestry. One of nature's more extraordinary miracles a blast of steam heat. The cocoon is
had been discovered - silk. then unravelled - or reeled - into a
From this accidental origin, sericulture became long silk filament between three
China's most valued product, dominating her trade for and six hundred unbroken metres
millennia. In early history, it was used as currency, and in length. During the degumming
numerous works of art illustrate the vital role of silk in process, the sericin gum is washed out,
China's economy and cultural life. In the five thousand and the yarn is dyed and then woven.
years or so that the cocoons of silkworms have been The first indication of the end of the Chinese
exploited, the science of actually extracting the silk has monopoly on sericulture seems to have been in 140 BC, when a
changed little. Today, even with improved strains of cocoon and Chinese princess due to marry an Indian Maharajah hid silkworm
more advanced processing techniques, six hundred silkworms eggs and mulberry seeds in her head-dress in order to take the
are needed to produce 1.7 square metres of silk cloth. ultimate refinement of silk with her.
Article by : Juliet Highet
Image source : Juliet Highet
Gallo Images/Getty Images
Silk is a symbol of prestige and luxury
Silkworms form cocoons
Silk reached Japan in 28 BC, and as in China, soon became Silk entered Oman as a luxury import along with Chinese
an integral part of the culture. By the Heian period (785-1185) porcelain in return for frankincense exported from the Dhofar
silk clothes were a significant region of the south, where
indication of rank, and both the trees grow. With their skill
men and women wore in maritime navigation and in
voluminous kimonos. building ocean-going dhows,
Silk was once as highly Omani sailors voyaged as
valued as gold - Julius Caesar far as China and Indonesia
ordered that only silk should for its spices. When these
be used for his togas (he precious commodities
favoured the colour purple); reached Oman, the majority
and Cleopatra is rumoured to was shipped onwards by
have worn a red silk dress the camel to the north along
day she met Mark Anthony. the famous Frankincense
Routes, in particular to the
By the time of the Persian
ancient Greek and Roman
Sassanian dynasty of the third
empires, where it was
century AD, the silk industry was
believed that the luxury
flourishing not only there, but
products originated in
also in Egypt, Syria and Palestine.
Oman. They called it Arabia
But it was not until the year AD
Felix – Fortunate Arabia.
552 that the art of silk production
really became established in the West. Nowadays, there are at least thirty-four types of silk available,
from Tussah or wild silk with its distinctive slub and lovely natural
oatmeal colour, to the sinuous silk crêpe favoured by Italian
couturiers; from the heaviest, most densely embroidered Indian
Nowadays, there are at wedding saris, to fly-away organza as delicate as a butterfly's wing.
least thirty-four types of And while silk will always retain its cachet of prestige and luxury,
silk available it is now within the reach of most of us. Down the millennia the
uses of silk have been as diverse and fascinating as its history -
to wrap corpses in ancient China, to fasten armour clasps for
Japanese Samurai, for the construction of musical instruments
Having moved his court to Constantinople, the Roman Emperor and telescopes, wig-making and surgery. Whatever next? In 18th
Justinian was determined that the cachet of silk production century Istanbul, a woman described her attire as, "My dress
should be added to the grandeur of his Byzantine Empire. He of rose silk damask brocaded with silver flowers matched my
dispatched a pair of Persian monks who had lived in China to trousers and coat; my waistcoat was of white and gold damask
return there to smuggle back silkworm eggs in their hollowed- silk with gold fringes and pearl buttons". What pleasure silk has
out canes. brought the world.
Fascinating designs in silk
Separate the music
from the noise.
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in the knowledge era
Knowledge-users are the people who apply and use such knowledge in their work
Management in the past was designed to deal with a totally Just as the proliferation of industrial workers in the old scheme
different set of circumstances than what the modern managers warranted the need for a professional management cadre, so
encounter. Until the beginning of the last century, workers also the emergence of the knowledge workers has been a
were operating only in tiny industries; they were not familiar challenge to the management in the new dispensation.
with large organisations. Most of them did not have the benefit Since knowledge is an invisible asset that is more
of education and external pressure and sometimes even threat metaphysical than physical or empirical, management can
were the only motivation for them to work. no longer be done or defined as a function of control and
Henry Ford articulated aptly and, also, in anguish the overview of employees. Further, because knowledge work can
summum bonum of the management philosophy prevalent at and is being done both by managers and workers, the line
that time: “What I want is a good pair of hands; unfortunately I of distinction between the two has blurred, becoming almost
must take them with a person attached.” extinct.
Image source: Gallo Images/Getty Images
Knowledge-creators are those who create new ideas
P.O. Box: 436, PC : 130, Sultanate of Oman. Tel: +968 24504504, Fax: +968 24594747
• Baushar • Darsait • Sohar • Al Burj Complex • Barka • Salalah
Today, knowledge workers are paid
premium salaries, they add the maximum
economic credibility, and they are the key
determinants of the commercial value and
worth of those organisations that employ
It is difficult to define or describe
knowledge workers, as they are not all
of a piece. Every worker employs some
knowledge to perform his job. Perhaps,
the proportion of time invested may be a
One obvious distinction, however, may
be between knowledge-creators, and
knowledge-users. Knowledge-creators are
those who innovate new ideas and avenues
for application by other employees in the Knowledge workers deal with big ideas which radically change people and organisations
organisation. This category may consist
of research and development personnel,
product development engineers, process
designers, systems analysts, and so on.
Knowledge-users are the people who apply and use such The working environment of knowledge workers does not
knowledge in their work. A chartered accountant, or a dentist, or offer them any scope for social interaction, and they seem to
a garden-variety engineer is an example of such a professional, function as “autonomous free agents".
who uses and applies knowledge created by others. What with the constraint of longer working hours — thanks
Another criterion to identify knowledge workers is based on to the 24/7 doctrine — employees may suffer for want of
the types of ideas they work with. Knowledge workers invariably social activity. Managers have a definite mandate to create a
deal with big ideas, which dramatically and radically change forum and fraternity for their employees to fulfil and satisfy
people and organisations — ideas for new products, new this need for social communication.
services, business models, and strategic course corrections — as A key component of management has always been
opposed to small ideas associated with incremental benefits, the system of performance appraisal. In the domain of
quality, upgradation and continuous improvement. The knowledge work, evaluating performance is not so simple.
conventional view had been that big ideas were the exclusive First, knowledge work activities are intellectual and therefore,
domain of a select few. Workers were branded as mere users not easily quantifiable, and this is what makes them difficult
of ideas; innovation was out of bounds for them. Catalysts and to evaluate.
change agents belonged to the elite cadre of management. Second, the gestation time for establishing the efficacy of
an improvement process may be long and indefinite. Third,
In modern knowledge workers by nature and outlook are nonconformist
times, the skills and defiant: They may resent and resist any value judgement
a knowledge of their performance.
worker involve Another major task for the knowledge work manager
acquisition, is recruitment and retention of competent knowledge
analysis, and workers. Whereas opportunities to learn new skills will be
application incentive enough to compel knowledge workers to stay on
in an organisation. In modern times, the skills required of a
There has been a radical shift from this mindset in the knowledge worker involve knowledge acquisition, analysis,
current commercial climate, wherein success belongs to those and application. Managers must encourage employees
organisations that make it every employee’s responsibility to to not only acquire relevant skills but also the teaching
propound new ideas. techniques to impart their knowledge to others. Knowledge
Today, managers need to adapt their activities to the new work managers must build and construct such corporate
dispensation of management, and the new scheme of cultures, which complement and correspond to the norms
things that they will encounter. Perhaps, a significant aspect of the new age.
characterising the future manager will be that he will have a lot Knowledge workers are expected to keep pace with the
more to do than merely “manage” in the conventional sense of rapidly-changing business environment. Flexibility is another
that term. He must himself be a knowledge worker, a down-to- virtue that a knowledge worker deems essential — companies
earth and hands-on executive, and not someone who sits in an must have adequate in-built competence to confront changes,
ivory tower. which are critical to their success.
King Fahd’s Fountain
The King Fahd’s Fountain (also called Jeddah Fountain) in Jeddah in Saudi
Arabia is one of the most striking landmarks of the sprawling city. A riveting
attraction, the Jeddah Fountain is a prominent feature of the city skyline.
Built to complement the magnificence of the Salam Palace, the Jeddah
Fountain is a spectacle in the Arabian Gulf. Unlike most other fountains
around the world, which operate on freshwaters, the Jeddah Fountain
makes use of seawater.
The salinity and arenaceous qualities of seawater posed numerous hurdles
in the construction of the Jeddah Fountain. The resistance of water flow
could be best countered by using huge pumps and pipes close to the jet of
the fountain. However, these pipes were not to be displayed to public, and
hence came the idea of placing them under the water.
The Jeddah Fountain operates with the help of three centrifugal and 18
auxiliary pumps of 3.5 MW each. Every second, these 18 pumps deliver 625
litres of water each. Two of the main pumps jet the water at the same time,
delivering 1,250 litres per second.
On a calm day, seawaters jet up to a height of 312 metres (1,024 feet approx.)
from the Jeddah Fountain. The plume of this fountain is supposedly taller
than the magnificent Eiffel Tower of Paris. This plume of water weighs more
than 18,750 kilograms when hanging in the air for about 15 seconds.
• "Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less
than you need." - Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese poet and philosopher
• "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the • Astronauts get taller when they are
charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." - Marcel Proust, in space
• A volcano has enough power to
• "To succeed, we must first believe that we can." - Michael Korda, shoot ash as high as 50 kms into
author the atmosphere
• "When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes • An olive tree can live up to 1500
others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner years
happiness and peace." - Dalai Lama, Tibetan leader • Giraffe has the highest blood
• "Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to pressure
be." - Henry David Thoreau, US naturalist • All porcupines float in water
• "Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you • The only moon in the solar system
really love." - Jalal-ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Persian poet with a significant atmosphere is
Saturn’s moon Titan
• "There is no happiness for people at the expense of other
people." - Anwar Sadat, former Egyptian president • The lion costume in the film Wizard
of Oz was made from real lion
The olive tree Giraffe A volcano
The Deccan Festival,
Hyderabad Sept 1 -7: Delhi Book Fair. The Delhi Book Fair brings together high-profile
The Deccan Festival is celebrated in Hyderabad every works and new editions recently published in India. Proceedings take place
year in February. This five-day long festival reflects at the vast Pragati Maidan. As well as books, magazines, maps, teaching
the culture of the Deccan and highlights Hyderabad’s aids and computer software are also on display. The fair is organised by the
arts, crafts, culture and the popular Nawabi cuisine.
India Trade Promotion Organisation, known as ITPO.
This festival brings the choicest talent from the Sept 12: onam, Kerala. The annual Onam Festival transforms Kerala with
field of Music, Song, Dance and Theatre. Ghazals,
colourful processions, feasting, boat races, singing and dancing. The state
Mushairas, Qawwalis (poetry sessions), Classical
takes a ten-day holiday surrounding the event, so wherever you are, there
Dances and Music which are typical of the city are
the highlights of this festival. The festival reflects the is sure to be noise and colour! The Vallamkali (boat race) is one of the main
love the Hyderabad always had for art and literature. attractions, and is best seen at Aranmulai and Kottayam.
The festival essentially mirrors the glorious Qutub Sept 20-23: Kerala Travel Mart, Cochin, Kerala, India. KTM has
Shahi epoch. The Deccan Festival is organised by the become a synergy between the public and private sectors, promoting
Andhra Pradesh tourism department. tourism in the state.
The festival also comprises a Pearls and Bangles Sept 25 - 28: Alexandria Film Festival, Alexandria. Organised by the
Fair displaying creations of lustrous pearls and multi- Egyptian Association of Film Writers and Critics, the Alexandria Film Festival
hued bangles that are local specialities and a food
aims to broaden film culture and strengthen the relationships between film-
fair with items covering both Andhra and Hyderabadi
makers throughout the world.
cuisine. Cultural programmes, food stalls, arts and
craft shops etc. are also organised. oct 1: Horse racing in Bahrain. Bahrain’s love of all things equestrian
The festival next year will be held from Feb 1, 2009 is evident in its splendid Sakhir Race Course, which has a grandstand for
to Feb 28, 2009. 3000 spectators. During the racing season, from October to March, you can
see beautiful Arabian purebreds and thoroughbreds hurdle and flat race
oct 1-8: Beirut International Film Festival, Beirut. The Beirut
International Film Festival aims to encourage interest in films and serve as a
platform for young talent from the Middle East.
oct 1-Nov 30: London Film Festival, London. Already firmly established
as Britain's biggest and best movie event, the London Film Festival is one of
the most popular events of its kind in the UK.
oct 1–30: Metro Ski and Snow Board Show, London. The largest
winter sports show in Europe, this event offers something for everyone,
from the most eager beginners to the hardiest enthusiasts.
oct 5-12: Abu Simbel Festival. Held at Abu Simbel Temple, egypt.
The combination of human endeavour and natural phenomena provide
what must be one of the most spectacular sights in the world.
oct 8-11: Beauty & Fitness exhibition, Cairo. Egypt’s annual Beauty &
Fitness Exhibition takes place at the Cairo International Conference Centre.
The world’s top cosmetic, health and beauty companies reveal their latest
products, and visitors can test lotions, potions, make-up and more.
oct 13, 14: Marwar Festival, Jodhpur, rajasthan. The popular Marwar
Father: Have you taken your maths test, son?
Festival is a celebration of traditional music and dance from the Marwar
Son: Taken already. region of Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Father: Did you get them all right? oct 14-19: ubud Writers and readers Festival, Bali, Indonesia.
Son: Only five wrong. Around 80 writers from 16 countries gather in beautiful Bali for the Ubud
Father: Not bad! By the way, how many sums Writers and Readers Festival, one of the premier literary events to be found
altogether? anywhere. Events during the festival range from seminars and talks to
dinners and workshops.
oct 24-31: Klaver-Tallinn’s International pianist Festival, estonia.
Pianists from all over the world work their musical magic at Klaver, Tallinn’s
Bus Inspector: Where’s your ticket? International Pianist Festival, held at Estonia Concert Hall. The musicians
Traveller: I think I have lost it. focus just as much on contemporary piano-playing trends as they do on
Bus Inspector: Well, that’s not a good excuse. classic tunes from well-known composers.
Traveller: All right. You suggest a better one. oct 29-30: Travel Technology Congress, Dubai. Two days of networking
with an audience comprised of highly influential decision makers. It has
intensive workshops and one-to-one business meetings.
Abdul: Dad, can you write in the dark?
Dad: I think so. What do you want me to write?
Abdul: Your name on this report card.
Partygoers rejoice! The Nokia N78, Nokia’s
Camera packs features latest multimedia phone, has a built-in FM
transmitter that allows you to share your
at a less-hefty price favourite whale-call-based dance tracks with
the group over the home stereo or car radio.
Then, when your friends send you out, its
integrated GPS mapping gets you home.
The phone also plays back MP3s and
includes an FM radio tuner and a
system for streaming live radio from
the Internet. It has a 3.2-megapixel
camera that geotags photos with the
help of the GPS, and another camera
on the front for making video calls.
A tiny thumb drive
with big capacity
The one-inch Imation Atom
comes in sizes of one,
two, four and eight
gigabytes and is not
much bigger than a paper
clip. It works with Windows, Apple
and Linux computers, and it lets users protect data with a
password and split the storage space into multiple virtual
“drives.” Most interestingly, these tiny drives support
Windows Vista’s ReadyBoost technology.
A laptop that stands out
Dell’s Studio line comes in seven colours and offers some
Nikon’s D700, packs the considerable abilities of the impressive computing power inside.
company’s flagship, the D3, into a more svelte 2.2-pound The laptops use Intel Core 2 Duo processors and have up to
device. It uses the same 12.1-megapixel sensor and 320 gigabytes of hard drive space. Optional Blu-ray or DVD
processing electronics, similar weather-resistant sealing recording drives ensure you can watch a movie under your
and a magnesium frame. beach umbrella, while built-in Wi-Fi, cellular broadband and
Both digital single-lens reflex cameras use “full frame” Bluetooth keep things connected.
sensors the size of 35-millimetre film, letting a wide-angle The Studio line comes in two sizes with 15- and 17-inch screens,
lens really see a broad view. Larger sensors are also more and, like most Dell computers, the laptops can be modified
sensitive. The cameras shoot low-grain, colourful, sharp and configured online at http://www.dell.com/. Dell also offers
pictures at a light sensitivity. colour-coordinated accessories like bags and mice.
A milkmaid was on her way to the market to With these happy thoughts, she began to skip
sell some milk from her cow. As she carried and jump.
the large jug of milk on top of her head, she Suddenly she tripped and fell. The jug broke
began to dream of all the things she could do and all the milk spilt onto the ground.
after selling the milk. No more dreaming now, she sat down and
'With that money, I’ll buy a hundred chicks cried.
to rear in my backyard. When they are fully Moral: Do not count your chickens before they
grown, I can sell them at a good price at the are hatched.
As she walked on, she continued dreaming,
“Then I’ll buy two young goats and rear them
on the grass close by. When they are fully
grown, I can sell them at an even better price!”
Still dreaming, she said to herself, “Soon, I’ll
be able to buy another cow, and I will have
more milk to sell. Then I shall have even more
Wel co m e to
We extend to you a warm welcome to Oman, a country where hospitality is legendary.
The Sultanate of Oman is located on the south-eastern shores of Arabia and covers 309,500 sq. kms. Flanked
to the north-west by the United Arab Emirates, to the West by Saudi Arabia, and to the south-west by the
People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, Oman is divided into 9 administrative regions: Muscat, Al Dakhiliyah,
Al Batinah, Al Wusta, Al Sharqiyah, Al Dhahirah, Musandam, Dhofar and Al Buraimi. Mythical home of Sindbad
the Sailor and dubbed as the Gulf’s favourite getaway, Oman delights with its blend of modern elegance and
the historic charm of a sea-faring nation. A nation of warm people, Oman is emerging as a favourite haunt
With eco-tourism catching up fast all over the world, Oman has its own share. The Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserve is
known for turtle nesting beaches while the oryx is found in its natural habitat at the Haylat Jaaluni. The Arabian
Oryx Sanctuary was established in 1994 to help protect the oryx and to conserve desert habitat and threatened
species. The Al Saleel Park is a nature reserve located in the town of Al Kamil wal-Wafi, in the interior of Oman,
and was established to protect gazelles and plantations of Samr and Ghaf trees (Acacia tortilis and Cineraria).
Beaches like Qantab, Shatti Qurum, Azaiba, Shatti Bahja and Sawadi beach offer quiet retreats.
Forts: Oman’s strikingly beautiful landscape is punctuated with several impressive forts, castles and watch
towers. Dotted throughout Oman, these edifices add a picturesque element to the country’s landscape.
Aflaj: It is the splendidly-engineered aflaj, the system of underground and surface canals, that have watered
the country’s agriculture for millennia, which will astound visitors. These aflaj still course like arteries beneath
the hills and plains of Oman, twisting along precipitous cliffs and threading villages and date-palm groves,
bringing to the parched land water and coolness and life itself.
The Omani culture has its roots firmly in the Islamic religion. Hospitality is legendary as any visitor to homes is
offered kahwa and dates. The bukhoor which perfumes the house is usually burned in a mabkhara, traditional
incense burner. It is traditional in Oman to pass bukhoor amongst the guests in the Majlis, this is done as a
gesture of hospitality. Oman is permeated with frankincense. Government buildings are perfumed daily, even
the elevators. The annual Muscat Festival, held during the early months of the year, is a celebration of the
cultural heritage of Oman. Another period of festivity is the Salalah Tourism Festival, starting from the mid of
July till the end of August. The National Day, celebrated on November 18, is also a day to rejoice.
LeISure/eNTerTAINMeNT oMAN - AT A GLANCe
Shopping: Oman is a great place for shopping CApITAL: Muscat
as it blends the new and the old. The snazziest AreA: 309,500 sq. kms.
shopping malls stand alongside the wonderfully TIMe: GMT +4 hours
quaint traditional markets like the Muttrah Souk, LANGuAGe: Arabic is the official language.
Nizwa Souk, Haffa Souk in Salalah and Sinaw Souk. English is widely spoken.
Malls include Al Araimi Complex, Al Harthy Complex, CurreNCY: OR = Omani Rial
Al Khamis Plaza, Al Masa Mall, Al Sarooj Complex, exchange rate: One US Dollar = 0.384 OR
Al Wadi Commercial Centre, Capital Commercial VISAS: Single entry visit visa, Multiple entry visa,
Centre, Centrepoint, Jawaharat A’Shatti Mall - new, Express visa
LuLu Hypermarket, Markaz Al Bahja, Muscat City eLeCTrICITY: 220/380 volts
Centre, Sabco Centre, among others. HourS oF WorK/BuSINeSS: Government
Hotels: Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Hotel, departments are open from 0730 – 1430 hrs and
Muscat InterContinental Hotel, The Chedi, Shangri- closed on Thursdays and Fridays.
La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, The Grand Hyatt, Private sector offices are open 0800 – 1300 and
Hilton Salalah Resort, Al Nahda Resort & Spa, from 1600 – 1900 (except on Thursdays, till 1400
hrs), closed on Fridays.
Crowne Plaza Resort – Salalah, Crowne Plaza
CLIMATe: The hottest months are May through
Muscat, Corel Hotel Muscat, Radisson SAS, Ramee
August. The summer monsoon just touches the
Guestline Hotel, Al Sawadi Beach Resort, Golden
southern coast of Dhofar during these months
Tulip Hotel – Nizwa, Safeer International Hotel,
bringing regular light rain to Salalah and reducing
Safeer Continental Hotel, Sur Plaza Hotel, Al Buraimi
the average daytime highs to 25°C.
Hotel, Al Qurum Resort, Hotel Muscat Holiday,
The most pleasant months to visit Oman are
Majan Continental Hotel, Ruwi Hotel, Ramada mid October through March when daytime
Qurum Beach, Golden Tulip Hotel – Seeb, Golden temperatures fall into the lower 30s and below.
Tulip Resort - Khasab, Sheraton Oman Hotel, Al Falaj AIrporT: Muscat International Airport is the
Hotel, Sohar Beach Hotel. main airport. Salalah also has an international
Museums: Bait Adam, Bait Al Baranda, Bait Al airport. There are domestic airports at Sur,
Muzna Gallery, Bait Al Zubair, Children’s Museum, Masirah Island and Khasab (Musandam).
Currency Museum, Frankincense Land Museum,
Muscat Gate Museum, Nakhal Fort Museum, INForMATIoN
National Museum, Natural History Museum, Ministry of Tourism, P.O. Box 200, P. C. 115,
Planetarium, Omani Heritage Museum, Oman Madinat Al-Sultan Qaboos, Muscat,
– French Museum, Salalah Museum, Sayyid Faisal Sultanate of Oman
bin Ali Museum, Sultan Armed Forces Museum Tel: +968 24588700,
Cinemas: Al Nasr Cinema, Ruwi Cinema, Star Call Centre: +968 80077799
Cinema, Al Shatti Cinema, Al Bahja Cinema, Al Wafi Fax: +968 24588818
Plaza (Sur) Website: www.omantourism.gov.om
Dive Centres: Oman Dive Centre, Bluezone Water E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports, Marina Bander Al Rowdha
For detailed information on visa requirements, log
omantel enquiry 1318
Talking pages 24600100
Dialling Code +968