Relish the tranquillity of a mountain village and bask in its reflections of human tenacity and resilience at Bilad Sayt
Bilad Sayt, which has been described as a tranquil mountain hamlet, is a paradise for those seeking to savour the old world charm of village life. The village has retained its traditional mien, even the air is redolent with the years that have been trapped in its ramparts.
Located on the north-eastern slope of the Al Hajar Mountains, near Jabal Shams, Bilad Sayt can be reached through Wadi Al Sahtan and Wadi Bani Awf or via Al Hamra on a four-wheel drive vehicle.
As the unspoilt beauty of the village beckons, you can be assured of a time away from time experience and feel the stress and monotony of city life ebb away to get lulled by the nature laden vistas. The stone and mud homes, clustered together to resemble an unsteady staircase along the sloping terrain, is reminiscent of most villages in Oman. But what makes Bilad Sayt stand apart from others is its esoteric ambience, as if the village has been crafted by nature itself. With labyrinthine pathways connecting the homes and some of them even stretching to a storey or two high, the village belies its old status. In the neighbourhood is a square tower, which apparently played a strong role until it turned into a ruin. The tower stands on top of the hill that oversees the village, making it look like a sentinel.
To add energy to the drama unfolding in the horizon, nature has endowed the place with its very own bounty. Contrasting sharply with the sheer earthy tones of the dwellings and the rugged hills that it is holding on to, are the lush date palms and the terraced fields in the foreground. The village looks as if it is sharing an embrace with the rugged hills in the area, creating that scenic enigma for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. With Jabal Shams mountain range creating value addition to the village trip, it is bound to be a visually gratifying experience.
Adventure enthusiasts can look forward to an off-road trip, with the striking landscape of canyons, deep gorges and valleys along the way opening up panorama of options to explore and indulge the driver in you. However, experienced or otherwise, caution needs to be exercised as the rugged terrain could hold unexpected surprises. Hiking is another matter though. Bilad Sayt is an excellent hiking place with its interesting landscape and the village life it opens up.
With most travellers describing Bilad Sayt as one of the most picturesque villages in Oman, the onus is on all visitors in maintaining its sanctity. And that means respecting the wishes of the villagers, who prefer to see visitors trekking in rather than driving through.
As you near the village, you will come across the open grass field, which, obviously, acts as a football ground. You could park your car here and trek along the cliff paved with natural black granite, to have an eyeful of the breathtaking scene before you. You could trek on and feel the mesmerising effect of the village or give the villagers their privacy and enjoy the vistas of the village from the cliff.
But with hospitality running in their veins, the villagers are bound to welcome your presence and even be willing to chat up. You could also experience the falaj system, which runs throughout the village. The gentle burbling sound of the water, in cadence with breeze, creatings a harmony to this visual fare…