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, you just need to get lost to explore the lost city of Jordan.

 

But before heading to Petra, we spent some time in Downtown Market, Amman which is famous for shopping in Amman. From spices and fruits to clothes and souvenirs you can find all in here. With vehicles bustling through the road, it was fascinating to cross the wide roads in there. It’s that place from where my shopping in Jordan kick started.

 

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Then we headed to the Royal Automobile Museum which was established in 2003 by King Abdullah as a tribute 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 to BMW, they were all so amazing that I almost swooned. King Hussein used his motorbike only on private occasions. The tour was amazing and in the end we all posed for the museum guys.

 

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Passing through the highway no. 15 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) it’s just I was in the bus and not the cute Blush, a vintage Cadilla.

We travelled and travelled but finally reached where the one among the 7 new wonder reside. It was time for the lunch but with a twist. We arrived directly in the kitchen of “Petra Kitchen”. To eat we had to cook too. To know more on our little stunt in the Petra Kitchen, stay tuned.

Post our foodie extravaganza we checked in the Petra Guest House in the afternoon and after not more than 10 min rest left for Little Petra (the trailer before the premiere i.e. Petra – the Treasury).

 

Little Petra is a Nabataean site, with buildings carved into the walls of the sandstone canyons. It is a free site but ironically usually less crowded. Initially used to house the merchants on the Silk Road, post decline of Nabateans the area was used by the Bedouins for centuries.

It was a breezy eve when we reached little Petra, also known as Siq al-Barid. Entering through the pathway which is nothing less than a desert than took us to the magnificent architecture. It is also called cold canyon for the huge, tall carved architecture which doesn’t allow sun light 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 and as we moved inside what welcomes us was a wonderful big area. At the end of the canyon there is this stairway which takes you the other side where people usually go hiking but it is advisable not to go without a guide.

 

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Then we finally left the place with heavy heart. Little Petra was mesmerizing, nonetheless, the sunset behind the mountains made the area look mysteriously awesome. While leaving through the curvaceous road we witnessed the beautiful sunset ever. Our Salah, happily stopped by the road side for us to take away some shots of that beauty with us.

 

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We reached back and then gorged on the Jordanian Shawarma and cold drinks. After a brief wait which actually felt like forever we ascended towards the Treasury (also known as Al Khazna) to witness Petra by Night. 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 the world feeling and that itself is a major attraction for the visitors. I actually felt like a fresher in that boat rowing towards Hogwarts.

As we reached treasury, oh my god, what welcomed us 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”.

Soon followed a beautiful composition. The artists played lovely music and the ambiance was surreal with the lights and the music. It went on for quite some time. Post the show we left back for the guest house.

 

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In the morning again we had to leave for the 40m high Treasury to watch it in day light, Indiana Jones style but then we thought why not go an extra mile. We had heard about this monastery a hike of about 822 steps. So to cover that we left around 6 am. Walking through the Siq in the morning was so dramatic and it felt like we had entered an ancient city with sand, the sandstone and beautiful architecture carved out of the canyon. On the way we saw the street of facades, various tombs which are actually huge intricate structures carved out of sandstone, tunnel, the Great temple to name a few. Walking up to monastery was tiring but a journey worthy of all the sweat we had spilled. It is huge and carved out perfectly, one of the largest structures in Petra measuring 47m high and 48.3m wide. The view from top and the valley behind, no part was less than a mystery. No matter how many pictures I took, the beauty of the Petra city is indeed unfathomable.

 

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After a few clicks we started descending. As promised to the shopkeepers on the way, we did buy a few trinkets and souvenirs. I was feeling so proud with my friend Sudeshna, we stick by each other the whole way. Tired but we had made so far fulfilling our wish and we did make to guest house on time. We finally bid adieu to one among the 7 new wonders, “Petra” and left for Wadi Rum with our troop but not before having lunch at Al Qantarah Restaurant, a marvellous option to dine at.

 

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Titbits:

  1. 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)
  2. Please do not purchase any antiquities, be they rocks or coins. You may not know if they are real or not.
  3. Say a polite “no thank you” if you don’t wanna buy something, don’t get in to argument.
  4. 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.
  5. Ticket costs: 30 JD

 

Stay tuned for rest of the journey.

Written by – Stuti Shrimali, contributor, The Brown Scooter

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