Yup. The first time I heard about the Hindu Sheik, I was surprised, because even after living for 20+ years in the Gulf, I’ve never come across this fact. *Embarrassed*
So I was in Muscat, Oman for a few days. In the past recent months I’ve been travelling to certain Gulf Council Countries and I must tell you, everything is so similar in terms of geography, culture, architecture and lifestyle. Only the Government is different. At least in Muscat, they have more rocky mountains, but the country is really huge.
Coming back to the Hindu Sheik. Kanaksi Khimji, the head of Khimji Ramdas Group of Companies was given the title of Sheik by the Sultan of Oman himself. With companies across the globe, Khimji has his roots in Gujarat. A staunch devotee of Lord Shrinathji and a strict vegetarian makes him the only Vaishnav Hindu Sheik of the Arab world.
It was more than 140 years ago, Khimji’s Great Grandfather Ramdas Thackersey set sail for Oman from his homeland Kutch. Being a dhow merchant, he set sail to Muscat to relocate his expanding business to gain access to then strategic ports. Today, the company has an annual turnover of more than $1 Billion.
Oman is a nice place, and I did a little bit of exploration from Ruwi to Qantab town. I was surprised again when I learnt that only Omani nationals can drive taxis and other Government vehicles. This is not the case in UAE or Saudi Arabia etc.
There is a diving centre in Muscat, parks, resorts, an old souq where you can buy traditional stuff and the Grand Mosque, Shiva temple and Krishna Temple (Thanks to Khimji). But there are others places to visit in Oman like Salalah which is the perfume capital of Arabia. You will find green mountains hills in Salalah and wonder if you are actually in the Middle East. Here are some pictures from my long drive.