Little Petra | Petra

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Backpacking Jordan: Day 007 (21-April-2024)


Wonders Of The World

Breakfast served at the hotel was basic. There was Pita bread with the three most popular dips available in Jordan – Hummus, Mutabal and Labneh. After having breakfast, we checked out and drove towards Petra. On our way, we saw the salt pans and salt factory along the shores of the Dead Sea. The closest town to the Dead Sea is Gor Al-Haditha. If there is a lodging option here, I could not tell as there were no signboards in English. I stopped here to buy some local sweets. 

We headed towards King’s road. King’s road from Amman to Petra is considered one of the most beautiful driving routes in the country. On the way, I decided to stop at a small village called Nejel to buy a Keffiyeh. I wanted to buy it from a local store that is not meant for tourists. I had found one in Nejel but the google review left by one foreign customer mentioned that they had overcharged him but it was still a better deal as compared to the ones available at tourists spots. 

When I went in, I was attended by a little boy. The boy took me to the section containing Keffiyehs. He was very excited to show me the collection and kept speaking to me in Arabic. I had a specific design/colour in mind - a chequered Keffiyeh with yellow ochre and beaver colours. I had seen a local wear it and wanted something similar. After making the little boy show me almost every scarf they had in the store, I finally found the one that was close to what I had in mind. I was Happy! The boy was happy too. He told me that it cost 3.10 JD. Jose bought a white and red coloured Keffiyeh. When we approached the cash counter the two ladies managing the store realised that we were tourists. The cost of my Keffiyeh increased, all of a sudden, to 4JD. They then said something in Arabic to the little boy and the excitement on his face suddenly faded. I reckon they had scolded him for telling me the actual price. Even if it was a bit more, I was happy with the deal and bought it. However, I was worried about the little boy because I know that he would no more remain the same. His innocence would be lost, little by little, thanks to the corrupt adult mind. 

We drove past Dana. I was initially planning on doing the famous Dana to Petra trek. I had contacted a local guest house there in this regard. They had agreed to do the trek for 250JD per person but wanted at least two people. Since I did not find anyone else, I decided to let it go. 

We reached Little Petra around 1PM. There were no visitors there. Apart from us, there were a few locals running one or two shops at the entry point. We had the whole place for ourselves. Since we went there first, before visiting Petra, it seemed impressive. We were able to admire the beauty of this place without being biased towards the majestic architecture in Petra. We walked to the end of the trail and returned back. 

In these regions, it is common to see camels by the road; as we see cows on Indian streets. Also, there is a monochromatic tone to the landscape here. The whole place has various shades of yellow ochre. 

We then drove to Wadi Musa, the town where Petra archeological site is situated. We headed directly to the Nomads Hotel and checked into our dormitory. After relaxing for a bit, we headed out again to explore Petra. We had bought a Jordan pass with 2 day entry to Petra. I think it would be good to spend some quality time here. The beautiful sandstone canyons with grooves and patterns are highly impressive. Along the way, there are several Nabatean architecture and carvings to observe. 

The Nabateans were one of the several nomadic Bedouin tribes that roamed the Arabian desert and moved with their herds to wherever they could find pasture and water. Petra was the capital city of their kingdom around 4th century BC. 

We walked to the treasury. The monument was so impressive that I decided to sit there and sketch while Jose planned to go ahead and explore few more places. 

Picture Credit: Jose

It is interesting how during sketching en plein air, we notice such minute details. Sitting in front of the treasury, I studied the beautiful design and the dilapidated sculptures, visualising how they might have been. 

There were very few people there. Though the entry to Petra closes at 6PM, once in, you can stay back till however late you want. The guards are not strict. Jose returned with a Spanish group. I find the Spanish people to be very friendly and outgoing. They were all mostly from a small village in Spain. They had hired a guide earlier that day, so they helped us identify some of the carvings and explained their importance. Their guide had made some cool videos of them walking to the treasury which I decided to try making the following day. 

Jose and I had dinner at a small local restaurant on the main road, opposite Petra entry gate. I had a falafel wrap and some Arabic coffee. We headed back to the hostel. In our 4-bed dormitory, there was a German man who spoke very less and a young Australian boy. His bag had flags from all the countries he had visited and there were a lot of them. He told us about this secret trail to a viewpoint located on a cliff opposite to that of the Treasury. From there, we would get a top view of the monument. Since we had to begin our day early next morning to explore Petra, we decided to go to bed and get enough rest for the following day. 

Jordan Roadtrip Day 03: Dead Sea -> Petra (190KM)