The two best words to define Qatar are wonderful skyscrapers and blue water. I visited the place recently and I am quite impressed with its welcoming culture. Since the trip was last minute plan I was unable to do any research about the place as such.However, I loved the place specially their welcoming culture. And since the people there are from various countries and cultures it is a perfect example of cultural amalgamation.
The first place I visited in Doha was the Grand Mosque. The magnificence and peace of the mosque was so appealing that I fell like spending the whole evening there. Since there are seldom any mosques for women in India (especially North), I was simple overexcited when I visited the mosque. Lost in the peace and tranquility of the space I felt like staying there forever. Architecturally its grandeur and adornment is simply swaying. With an area of 175,000 square meters, it can accommodate more than 30,000 believers for prayers.
Next day I started my day by visiting the famous Villagio Mall, one of the most popular malls of Qatar. Every nook and corner of the mall is ornamented beautifully. The mall is said to be a great destination for shoppers but though I did not go there for shopping, still I loved the architectural luxury and beautification of the mall. The Gondola Rides, food court and the beautiful interior are the highlights of the mall.
The third place I visited was Corniche, one of the coolest places for the loyalists. It is a waterfront walkway and quite popular among joggers, evening walkers and bikers. The spectacular views of the city's skyline can be experienced by the ride on the local boat.
The cool breeze, refreshing blue water with a backdrop of skyscrapers completely rejuvenated my evening. I took the boat by late evening so I enjoyed the serene beauty of sunset and post that at night I enjoyed the magnificent colours of the city's lights reflected off the calm water.
After the refreshing boat ride we just walked and visited the traditional Qatari village. It is located just along the Corniche in Al Rumeilia Park, it is a skanzen based on traditional Qatari village. We can see pearl trading, weaving, and a dhow. There are several parks adjacent to the Corniche that are ideal for families. Worth noting is the giant statue of Orry, the Oryx, who was the mascot for the 15th Asian games that was held in Doha in December 2006. Along the southern end of the Corniche is a large Oyster and Pearl statue.
Next day I visited Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum. Though I am not a museum person still Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum is one of the best museums I have been to. From fossils to Crusader arrow heads, a passable homage to the 'Bar at the Folies-Bergere', Sufi drums, muskets, swords, butterflies, priceless carpets, calligraphy, furniture inlaid with mother of pearl and an entire Syrian palace room rebuilt next to displays of dhows and aeroplanes, well the list is too long. This is world's largest private collection of armoury.
The Museum portrays not only of the history of the Qatari people, but also of its founder. The outstanding collections mirror the painstaking efforts taken by Sheikh Faisal and his extensive international travel. There are several rooms in the main section of the museum which more or less have a theme. Near the central courtyard, on the outside of main museum, there are also several other rooms with dedicated themes such as fossil rooms, textile rooms etc.
I am so overwhelmed by the amazing collection of this museum that given a chance I will visit it again. For people like me who loves history and culture it is definitely a treat. The museum closed at 4pm sharp and hence its important to plan the trip accordingly specially because it is not in the main city and ample time is required to visit its vast collection.
In evening I went to The Pearl which exhibits a collection of white Yachts, definitely a place to see the luxurious life of the natives. Besides gazing at the Ferrari showrooms, shopping at the Pearl is strictly all things designer. But since I was not there to shop, I can say the Pearl is the place to see the rich and famous live life in the fast lane. The best thing to do there is grab a coffee and sit by the many cafes or simply to walk along the beautiful boardwalk admiring the gleaming dockside with glittering white Yachts. I went there on the full moon day so it turn out to be a glittering night.
The next place visited by me was the Katara Cultural Center. It is a cultural village with various traditional and modern structures such as an open amphitheater, an opera house, a multi-purpose cinema, a multi-purpose conference hall and a beach. Greeted by the beautiful Katar Mosque, the Katara cultural visit is one of the most favoured places for families to spend their weekend. With striking blue-purple tiles and intricate carvings dressing this masjid's exterior, it is one of the best Mosques I have seen in my life till now.
It is said that you save the best for the last, the Souq Waqif village/ market is my personal favourite place in Qatar. I visited the place twice during my 6 days stay in Qatar. ell known as the social heart of Doha, Souq Waqif is a great place to shop, explore, have a meal or simply idle time away in one of the attractive local cafes.
From the outside, the compound looks like a rustic sand-stained ruin. But look inside, and you'd realise that the stalls are all immaculately refurbished with shining furniture.
Selling everything from Arabian rugs and colourful spices, to squawking parrots and stocky shisha pipes, the Souq is a popular tourist destination. With the bustling sights and symphony of sounds, I'd highly recommend a stroll through the market's snaking streets because each alleyway sells fascinating trinkets that make for awesome souvenirs to pack home.