Al Gara Mountain is a vast expanse of layers of sedimentary rocks that can be seen with the naked eye. It is the most famous and frequently visited landmarks of the Al Ahsa Region. While nearing the starting point, your eyes can feast on the beauty of the mountain in its visible layers and an array of forms that seem to have been sculpted delicately by human hands-your imagination is the limit. The sands seem to create an illusion of waves as the mountains tower upon them. No wonder there are stories about giants and aliens, the scenery is wonderful and amusing to behold that it leaves you a feeling of “this is a government conspiracy”, it was that unbelievably well formed even when in disarray.
Going a little up from the foot of the mountain to the cave is not a hard thing. It’ll take you only a few steps and a gallon of sweat. There were renovations and constructions going on when we visited the place since they are trying to develop it as a tourist attraction but that did not undermine its beauty. The entrance of the cave is relatively small to the huge and tall rocks that encompass it. Think about a three feet man beside an eight foot man huge (that HUGE). The façade of the cave is situated in between tall rock boulders .Humongous rocks seem to be chiselled to form alleys between them, welcoming all humans to discover its course. I thought, maybe this is how the ancients felt upon entering the Colossus of Rhodes or being watched by the Great Sphinx. At the outside, we kept on pointing and making sense of the rock formations.
There’s an ape! There’s a pharaoh’s mask! There’s a dinosaur! There are mushrooms!
The cave is also known to be cold in the summer and warm in winters. Since it’s a freaking 50 C outside, it was a relief to be in the cool comfort of the cave. The main passageways were lighted by lamps with mounted cctv cameras. The dim lights complemented with the natural sunlight and the pallid to brownish walls creates an atmosphere worthy for its alleged history. The rocky ceilings were filled with gaps of different sizes as if they are oculi of the ceilings that allows the light in. Whoever designed this cave (conspiracy theory) made it challenging for claustrophobic.
Further, a narrow staircase was built to allow easy access into the upper chambers of the cave. There have been talks that whoever hears the sighing of Judas and clanking of the coins inside the cave is bound to betray someone dear to him or her. Nevertheless I would have thought more of local “jins” (ghosts/spirits) inside and more so, tarantulas or snakes or scorpions when I shrinked myself to get inside a dark, isolated alley.
My voice echoes, the air is cold, the chamber dark and I can’t take a selfie. I tried to climb into some of the narrow upper divisions but this limestone of a cave makes it hard to do so (I still tried). It was amazing that the cave seems to stretch infinitesimally, and at every main passageway branches more small and narrow ones that it could probably take you a day to finish and examine all of them. It was fun, awesome and enlightening to experience. I was also delighted to see that there was trash bins located inside the cave. We should leave nothing, not even footprints, for they get erased in the transitory state of the sands. I believe that is all we are, visitors.
Somehow, the sentimental me have wished that it truly is Judas’ cave. That way, I could touch the walls and maybe feel that remorse he could have felt if nothing else. I wanted to sulk in the corner and maybe hear his sigh. Screw the rumors. Yet, in reality, the past is nothing else but as is- the past. Whether this is his death bed or not, it does not matter. It is nor relevant enough to be intellectualized. It is that is what is in front of you does.
And beauty, as what Oscar Wilde wrote ends where intellectual expression begins. Therefore, I walked out of that cave not an intellectual but an energy fueled by beauty and the sheer realization of my minute standpoint in this world.