Experiencing the fascinating Jabal Al-Qarah caves, Saudi Arabia

Jabal Al-Qarah is a cave system which is well known for its intricate and fascinating structure which is less known to people outside Saudi Arabia, but equally popular among the locals. These huge cave structures are made of sedimentary rocks like sandstone and limestone and are about 250 meters above sea level.

A two-hour drive from the south of Dhahran, to the town of Hofuf and I was at the Jabil Al-Qarah caves. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is divided into provinces and Hofuf is a city which is in the well-known oasis of the Eastern Province.

The Jabal Al-Qarah caves are steeped in spirituality, history and beauty. And the hills around Jabal Al-Qarah are equally amusing in their shapes and colors. Some parts of these hills do have an off-white color because of the composition of the lime stone. There are few other caves in Saudi Arabia which I have explored, but this was comparatively an easier experience, taking into consideration the tall cliffs and the sloping cave walls.

I skipped the breakfast at the expensive looking café outside and walked up to the entrance.

For the next three hours, I found myself exploring the gigantic rock formation from millions of years ago, walking through the narrow, low and dim pathways. There were a few local Arabs who voluntarily helped me find my way through the vast cave interiors.

It is indeed a marvel and I’m glad that I could experience it. There were light rays coming out from random openings, inside the cave. A majority of the pathways are lighted up, with rays coming from these spots. But, there were areas in the caves where there was absolute darkness for a few meters. Apparently, the cave remains cool from inside during summers and warm during winters.

I was drained out completely after exploring these massive structures. Outside the cave, on the road, there were a few vendors selling garden-fresh, locally available fruits, vegetables and berries. I satisfied my hunger and thirst, relishing them.

Between the jaw dropping views, the food at a local restaurant, a visit to the camel farms and of course, the good vibe, this place offers more than enough reasons to justify a visit even if you have absolutely nothing else to do in Al Hassa!


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