Destination Oman: Hinai, a lively wadi

15 Nov 2017
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Impromptu trips are the best. How often do you plan extravagant excursions with your friends before they fail you by bailing out in the last second? Many of you may have had such crushing disappointment at some point in your life.

This is the very reason why I refrain from telling my friends about my trips… at least until I reach my point of interest with them. I’m evil that way. And my latest Destination excursion to the outskirts of Oman was very much in line with that – but with a major twist.

It was still early morning when Imran and I were heading back from Yiqa (which I wrote about last week), and I realised that we had adequate time for a quick detour.

The area that caught my eye was Hinai – which was denoted by a brown board – on our way to Yiqa. For those of you coming from the capital, Hinai will be to your right, and only a few metres ahead of Yiqa.

We quickly took the turn to Hinai. There’s a sudden dip in the road, which implied that we had entered a wadi. And that’s what Hinai is – it’s a gigantic wadi that feeds life on either of its sides.

There are quite a lot of families residing there, so it is wise to not disrupt their day. I was pleasantly surprised to see many Omani women at work, running their daily errands.

It was quite fulfilling to see people up early in the morning to do their chores. It’s something I practise myself and would like to see in more people in and around the country.

As the saying goes: “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man (or woman) healthy, wealthy and wise.”

My thoughts about that were overshadowed by the sheer beauty of the place, though. I understand that I do say that about every place I visit, but there’s a certain quirk about Hinai that I grew to admire – the people’s reliance on the wadi to fuel their lives.

It’s almost like the wadi is the sole provider of natural resources for the sustenance of the residents of the area. The wadi itself is dry – currently – but the areas surrounding it is lush green; meaning that there’s likely an afalaj that is driven from the source of the wadi to feed the agriculture in the area.

Oh, and before I forget, Hinai roughly translates to “here” in Arabic. Isn’t that amazing? I mean, I would love to tell people that I stay “here” when they ask me where I stay.

Imran and I tried to dig a bit deeper into the roots of the land, trying to understand how it was eminent in the history of Oman. But, watching the people work there made me coy away from asking any questions. I thought it would be rude to interrupt them while they were at work.

I’m sure the lands have been inhabited for a long time, though, and that it acted as an extension to the Yiqa village. I could find some ruins – though scarcely – of buildings and so on.

I grabbed my camera gear and started clicking photos. I found it amazing to see that the lands looked like it had just rained a few days ago. It was that damp and fertile. But the dry wadi gives the whole setting away.

The weather was cool, too. The temperature stood around 24°C but the cold breeze had me shivering. Still, it’s one of those feelings that I loved and rarely got to experience.

In any case, those of you looking to visit Hinai should definitely head there with an Arabic-speaking friend just so that you can blend with the locals. The village is a perfect spot for sitting down with your family and friends and relaxing, but it’s best to refrain from camping there lest you upset any locals.

Still, Hinai is one of those places that get you hooked. The layout of the wadi and the lands surrounding it is unique and is unseen elsewhere in Oman, and the lush greenery in the middle of barren land is nothing short of a miracle.

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