Jordan: Souvenirs from Faraway Lands

After every journey you are left with a wealth of memories, lessons, and experiences. But they aren’t the only things you take back with you. Blogger Lakshmi Sharath found curious items and sought out the stories behind them while travelling through the ancient lands of Jordan.

“A little bit of the Romans, a little bit of the Bedouins, a journey into Biblical era, a trip down the ages into the world of Nabataeans – Jordan is a fusion of many ancient cultures.” -Lakshmi Sharath, blogger

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Sand Art, Petra

Sand Art from Petra

Sand art is multicoloured layers of sand arranged in bottles to paint designs like wavy dunes of the desert, birds in flight and palm trees. Some say the practice of making sand art goes as far back as the 1920s, though most agree it started about 60 years back. “They almost look like delicate paintings inside a glass bottle,” Sharath says of the glass jars. These coloured sands are said to be scraped from the rocks of Petra.

“Jordan is a country that surprises the traveller at every step.” Lakshmi Sharath

Sand art in Petra locked in bottles
Sand Art in Petra locked in bottles

Tip: Lakshmi suggests you watch how sand art is being made here and make friends with the bedouins. Also, keep an eye out for Marguerite van Geldermalse and get a signed copy of her book “Married to a Bedouin.”

Mosaics from Madaba

Known as the City of Mosaics, in Madaba you’ll see a famous 6th century map and a brightly coloured church floor illustrating the Holy Land and Jerusalem, all made with mosaic tiles. The mosaics have been discovered beneath monuments in the area and a nearby school teaches students how to carefully preserve them. “The ancient symbols, monuments, trees, birds, scenes out of Biblical tales , scenery, geographic maps with rivers and mountains compete with contemporary designs and popular political and film personalities,” Sharath says.

Artist at work in Madaba
Artist at work in Madaba

“A town steeped in the Biblical era, Madaba holds the clues for many sites mentioned in the Old Testament, including Jerusalem and Bethany, among others.” Lakshmi Sharath

Tip: Lakshmi suggests you get into the souvenir shops where you can buy mosaics. “If I were you,” she says, “I would bring home the Tree of Life.”

Souvenirs are available in every part of the world, and they are almost always unique to the places where you find them. And though in a way travel is about being in the moment and detached from the material aspects of life, you could also return home with tangible objects that remind you of the places you saw and the people you met for years to follow.

About Lakshmi:
Lakshmi Sharath’s passport stamp collection probably trumps yours. She’s a professional travel writer and blogger from Bangalore who gave up her career as a media professional to pursue her passion. Lakshmi shares her zeal for travel in India and abroad in her self-titled blog, many publications and on social media, for which she was featured in a World’s Top 100 travel tweeters. Lakshmi enjoyed immersing herself in the historical-cultural essence of Jordan, visiting biblical sites, ruins, and shopping for beautiful Jordanian souvenirs. Read her blog here and be sure to follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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