We had a long wanted to visit Jabal Al Qarah mountain at the Al Hofuf area of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. This place also referred by some Filipinos as Judas Cave because they believed that Judas Iscariot committed suicide in this cave after he betrayed Jesus Christ. So when we had a chance, me and my colleagues packed our itinerary on EID holidays. The jabal, named after a large, well-known village in proximity of the mountain. Its lush greenery and the spectacular flat-topped hill with a maximum elevation of about 225 m above main sea level makes the area haven for mountaineers and tourist alike.
The trip took us about two hours to get to the base of the mountain from Dammam but the long drive going to Hofuf, the capital of Al-Hasa region was a refreshing and invigorating experience. I was struck by the astonishing landscapes along the highway. There were miles of dunes from afar which I usually seen only in photographs and in movies. As we drive closer to Hofuf, I’ve seen lush green vegetation in the outskirts of the area. And there were hectares of palm trees densely grow in the countryside of which inevitably reminds me of a typical tropical dreamscape.
Going up to the mountain, we begun walking at the façade heading to the cave main entrance. This fragile rocky pillars leading to the narrow pathways will completely takes your breath away. Upon entering the cave’s walkway, we felt the cool air coming from the cave blowing on us. It was an extreme relief because of the scorching heat outside. The interior of the cave is either clean or covered only by a thin veneer of wind-blown dust and guano. Unlike of the many caves in the Philippines where the caves walls, and ceiling are characterized by the presence of various features including stalactites, stalagmites and among other mineral deposits. After a short sightseeing, we moved towards the top of the mountain squeezing ourselves through a very narrow gap between two boulders. As we reached the highest ridge, we had a perfect sight of the stunning vast plantation of date palms encircle the hill and stretched to the horizon. The uninterrupted scenery in the mountaintop left us open-mouthed and at a loss for words. This aerial view is a knockout.
The magnificent mushroom-like limestone rock formations rising amidst innumerable palm trees make this mountain rare and unique. Though, the weather is scorching during Ramadan yet inside the cave is cold even if it is summer. The surreal and majestic natural beauty of the mountain proves to me that there is someone who performed hidden miracles, miracles like those occurred at the time of Exodus. This natural wonder is a sight to behold and a must visit in Saudi Arabia.
Our trip to Hofuf is definitely worth the time, the shinning rays of the sun through the cracks in the rocks makes me appreciate more to the wonders of nature.