A day before the Oman Indian Roadshow 2015 I got a call from their office. Dency, the lady at the other end told me, “I want you to see how much Oman has to offer, and change the perception that it is just a desert.” After attending the show yesterday night at the Hyatt Regency, I have to say they succeeded 100% in changing my opinion. In fact they have got me hooked.
Lubaina Sheerazi, the Oman Tourism representative gave a comprehensive presentation on Oman at the event. I found an old clip of hers on Youtube where she defines the vision of the ministry. Yesterday night she said, “Oman can offer you Arabian Nights in a modern context!” She also stressed that culture is an integral part of the experience and they cherish it. I got to experience a small part of the culture right here in India.
In the course of her presentation Lubaina mentioned frankincense and looking at the blank reaction of the audience she added, “people from the Christian fraternity would know about it.”
Today when I opened the information bag they gave to the attendees, I found a beautiful frankincense candle in the bag. Holding it in my hand made it so much more real. As I was one of those blank people, I went off to learn more about it.
*Frankincense finds a mention in the Bible as one of the three gifts given to baby Jesus by the three wise old men, the other two being gold and myrrh. I now understand the Christianity link mentioned by Lubaina. I read that is still burned inside the Vatican.
Made from the bark of Boswellia Sacra tree, it is said to have medicinal properties. BBC reports its use in cancer research as well. The tree is found in the region of Dohfar in Oman. The Oman Tourism website says for the people of Dohfar frankincense is life itself!
Humanity has known the frankincense tree since ancient times, and a special relationship has grown between the two. Frankincense is a symbol of life, or rather it is life itself, for the Dhofari people. It is not a mere tree, but an embodiment of culture, history, sociology and geography.
The history of frankincense trade makes for a fascinating to read as well. My introduction to frankincense has ignited my curiosity about Oman, the land of ‘The Empty Desert’, dunes, wadis, mountains, canyons, beaches and much more! I hope I get to go there one day.
* All the information about frankincense has been taken from the three sources (BBC, Oman Ministry of Tourism and Kew.org) linked in the post.
PS. I was invited to the roadshow by Oman Tourism.
17 thoughts on “Frankincense- Carrying Home a Bit of Oman”
“Frankincense is a symbol of life, or rather it is life itself, for the Dhofari people. It is not a mere tree, but an embodiment of culture, history, sociology and geography.”
How lovely! Lucky you to get a piece for yourself.
Thank you so much Preethi.
Great account on frankincense. Well researched, Dr. Mridula. I knew a lot about Oman from Sunaina’s blog. She lived there for a long time; only this year, she settled in Delhi.
Thank you so much Ravish. And nobody calls me Dr. Mridula, I forbid it 😀 I will now go and earch for her blog1
Oman looks like such a fabulous place to visit. Lucky that you got to attend the roadshow!
Thank you Chaitali.
Wow! I learnt something new today! 🙂
Archana new for me too and take care!
Thanks for sharing, my former school principal had served as principal of Indian School in Oman, nice to find this piece! Wish I could visit one day…
Piyush I too want to go! Let us see if and when!
The road show was fun and indeed Oman is beautiful. I was transported to my 6 days of visit there.
Hope you visit it soon. I am sure you will love it. I had bought some Frankincense from the souq.
Manjulika you said you would write more about Oman now 😀 waiting.
Wow. How do you use it?
Paramvir it is like a candle in a holder, I just need to light it to get the perfume wafting through my room!
Oman is sure a dream destination… but on a side note…
Mangar Bani in Gurgaon / Faridabad belt being destroyed by building mafia has some of the last surviving Frankincense ( Boswellia serrata ) trees in India as per Pradip Kishen, the author of Trees of Delhi. It is different species as the one found in Oman but used in India for Frankincense.
I didn’t know about having the trees right in Gurgaon, Sad to know that they are being destroyed.
Interesting new find – frankincense. I am sure Oman must have a lot of undiscovered treasures for outsiders. Look forward to knowing more about it 🙂