Archive | July 2013

Omani History at a Glance: The Omani Khanjar

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The Omani Khanjar or Dagger, for the people of Oman has always been more than just a crude weapon used for self-defence in the harsh conditions of the desert; it’s a beautiful piece of art that symbolises the very soul of the nation: beautiful, tough and eternal. It’s a part of the national emblem of Oman and is given as a ceremonial ornament to the male members of the family by the household elders; upon reaching puberty as it denotes manhood and courage.

Fun Fact: Before the 1970’s it was considered taboo to remove the dagger from its sheath as one was only meant to do so if they were seeking revenge or for self-defence, and the dagger could not be returned to its sheath until one’s revenge was complete.

Today no traditional Omani formal wear is complete without the khanjar worn in its sheath at the front of one’s body by means of a special belt called a shal.

While one can easily get a souvenir imitation for OMR 30 a real one could cost anything up to a whopping OMR 800. Considering the fact that this fine piece of tradition takes craft smiths up to a month to make and is intricately designed upon layers of gold and silver upon its jewel encrusted scabbard, it is well worth every baisa.

In the past the silver used to make the Khanjar was obtained by melting down used Marie Theresa silver coins while the hilt is made from a rhinoceros’s horns or substitutes such as sandalwood, marble or in some cases pure silver. Similarly the sheath is traditionally made of plain leather with silver threads worked into it while the more expensive ones have a combination of gold and silver. It’s interesting to note that despite the gold and silver inlay the worth of a khanjar is indicated by its blade and old blades are never thrown out but rather worked into new ones.

Contrary to an outsider’s belief there are several different design styling’s of the Omani Khanjar based on the region in which they are made, the basic types are Saidiyah, Dakhiliyah (Omaniyah) , Nizwany, Sharqiyah (Suriyah) and of course the full pedigree, Royal Khanjar or Sa’idiyyah Khanjar.

The Saidiyah khanjar is distinguished by its narrow hilt covered by silver, while the Dakhiliyah khanjar is characterised by a very thick handle of ivory or horn. The Nizwany on the other hand is distinguished by its large side and is also considered by some to be a short sword while the Sharqiyah or Suriyah (called so as it is made in the Wilayat of Sur) is distinguished by its small size.

The Royal Khanjar or Sa’idiyyah Khanjar, considered by some to be the most charismatic dagger, is generally handmade in the capital and is believed to be designed by the previous Sultan’s wife; it is noted for its 7 rings called the hilqah and its highly ornate hilt and scabbard, another striking feature of this Royal Dagger is its odd little triangular link attached to it from the top of the chape to the belt.

So the next time you’re in the region be sure to keep a keen eye out for a piece of our Omani heritage.

25,000 Sindbad Miles Giveaway!!

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Life is a celebration and what better way to celebrate it than treating yourself to a holiday or a shopping spree that is taken care of for free? What if Oman Air could give you that very opportunity by asking for nothing in return other than your name? Sounds like a dream come true? Read on…

Who doesn’t like free stuff? The whole concept of getting something for nothing has always enticed even the most devout of workaholics, but sadly everyone who hears of such an offer will always ask “what’s the catch?” So when people ask why we’re giving away 25,000 free air miles to lucky winners for just a click and registration, we sometimes get a little tried to saying there is no catch!!

Another thing we keep having to do is explaining the concept of air miles itself, well to start off air miles is something you earn whenever you fly with us and can be used for benefits such as flight upgrades, free tickets, free extra baggage allowance, etc. The added advantage of earning more Oman Air miles is that when you earn more your eligible for a Sindbad card upgrade which allows you even more benefits such as duty free discounts, business lounge access (regardless of ticket) and many more

But the question you should be asking is “What can I do with 25,000 Air miles?” well apart from a side benefit of an instant upgrade to Sindbad silver, which in turn means duty free discounts, access to the business class lounge, 15 kilo extra baggage allowance etc, there is also the fact that even the furthest places covered by Oman air is a mere 24,000 air miles which means, you literally have a ticket to anywhere, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, you not only can get a free ticket to any of Oman air’s destination, which include London, Milan and Switzerland you’ll also have enough left over  for extra baggage allowance and duty free discounts!!

So where would you go? Would you time your trip perfectly in time for the Milan fashion week? Spend December under the Parisian night sky? Have a blast spending Diwali in Jaipur? Take a tour of the chocolate factories in Switzerland? Or simply take a series of short trips and explore the Middle East? Whatever you decide just know that the world is open for you, so be sure to enjoy the journey!!

To register for the lucky draw simply go to the Oman air Facebook page (http://bit.ly/131gZnL.), like, register and hopefully win. Good Luck!!

-Please note that the lucky draw is only open until 4th August 2013.

Europe at a Glance with Oman Air:

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Europe, a continent forever romanticise in books, movies and by millions visitors around the world, it’s a place where several thousand years’ worth of world changing history can be explored, where an architect’s dreams have been brought to life and yet is small enough for the intrepid traveller to say that he has visited several countries at once (sometime in the span of a few weeks) with only one ticket!

Oman Air has always been a gateway for the residents of Oman and European Nationals and covers most of its major cities, so here’s a list of destinations and attractions that you can explore with us.

1)      Paris (landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport):

Paris: the city of love, you’ll arrive at this famed city (via Oman air) by landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport, featured in several classic movies and music videos including French Kiss, Rush Hour 3 and the U2’s Beautiful day.  Apart from visiting Disneyland the Louvre and the famed Eiffel Tower we recommend you to view this beautiful city in its entirety via a boat cruise along the city’s network of canals, even if you have a limited time on your journey this would enable you to see all of the city’s scenic sights while taking in the soft glowing light of this mystical river.

2)      Frankfurt (landing at Frankfurt Airport):

Frankfurt:  You’ll enter this international centre of commerce and culture through one of Germany’s busiest and ever expanding Frankfurt Airport. When visiting this great city, be sure to plan your trip to attend the Berger Strasse festival, one of the city’s most popular street festivals, in the first week of June and be prepared for a weekend of food from all cultures, drinks, stalls and music!! Apart from that be sure to explore the famous performing arts at the Frankfurt Opera and the English Theatre which also ranks high among Germany’s top famous landmarks.

3)      Munich (landing at Munich Airport):

Munich: You’ll be entering the cosmopolitan city with a heart through Germany’s second busiest Airport, while I’m sure that most will definitely be visiting the publishing hub to experience the famous October Fest and the culinary delight of the famous Munich restaurants, we also recommend for our non-beverage enjoying passengers to visit a temple of technology named the Deutsches Museum, where one would be thrust into an eye opening journey of interactive displays and live demonstrations. Who knew physics and engineering would be so much fun?

4)      Milan (landing at Malpensa Airport):

Milan: What can we write about the centre for Italian fashion without spilling over onto several pages? Should I start with Santa Maria delle Grazie home of Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings? Should I begin with it being the Home of the AC Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano football team? Or should I simply recommend one to visit the city for the Milan Fashion Week (Last week of February) and the Milan Furniture Fair, held in the second week of April it is largest of its kind in the world. None the less, whatever your reasons for visiting this city with us, you will be entering the original home of the Godfather through the Malpensa Airport, the largest airport in northern Italy.

5)      Zurich  (landing at Zurich Airport):

Most of us simply know Zurich as the home of the Swiss banks, but apart from visiting banking giants and skiing on snow peaked mountains; we recommend that one also take a gander at some of the lesser known attractions that Zurich has to offer such as the Zurich Botanical Garden which covers 53,000 square mile of meadows, fruit trees and home to over 3 million plants. Another must see for families with kids is the Zurich toy museum which is home to more than 1,200 antique toys dating from the 18th and early 20th century.

6)      London (landing at London Heathrow Airport):

You’ll be visiting the hometown of the British Royal Family through a gateway to the  southeast of England, London Heathrow Airport, while there is no shortage of tourism, a must see should be the Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Marble Arch, Big Ben and the iconic red double-decker bus. We also recommend one to visit the famous Madame Tussaud’s London wax museum, where one would come face to face with some of the world’s most iconic faces.  Apart from that, be sure to buy tickets to visit London Dungeons, a tourist attraction aimed at recreating (via plays, special effects and rides) some of the more gory and macabre parts of Britain, a must see if you’re not squeamish and a fan of gallows humour.

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