Al-Mahla waterfall: Thunderous serenity [Archives:2006/983/Last Page]

September 21 2006

Nashwan Dammaj
Al-Mahla is the name generally given to the most famous waterfall in Al-Naqilin and Al-Sayani districts, Ibb governorate. Though Al-Ta'aqr Mountain has five different flood outlets, this waterfall is unrivaled for its height and abundance of water.

Nestled between two high mountains (namely Eastern Mahala and Western Mahala Mounts) Al-Mahla is more than 24 meters high. Water pours from that height during summer, weakening or disappearing in winter.

Residents from all Al-Naqilin district villages daily come to this waterfall for recreation and sightseeing.

Al-Mahla is part of a long rocky passage extending from Al-Ta'aqr Mountain, the area's highest peak, until it reaches the center of Al-Sayani district. It later passes via a straight path until reaching the edge of Al-Qaeda district.

The passage progresses via the entire area of Al-Naqilin district, meeting another passage precisely at the bottom at Al-Garafat village and forming one passage. This passage extends to include many parts of Al- Naqilin district, feeding groundwater storage as well as benefiting Wadi Nakhlan with flood-borne materials.

Though most of the water comes from the mountainous Al-Naqilin district, the area neither benefits from this water nor its groundwater.

Other waterfalls like Al-Maswa and Shiyha exist, but they're risky and don't allow viewers to venture near them. Additionally, the road leading to those areas is bumpy, while the road leading to Al-Mahla is clear, as well as its lower falls area, which seems too beautiful and serene to the point that people question whether it was manmade.

For locals, Al-Mahla is part of their pride and one of the most beautiful things they provide their visitors. As soon as Al-Naqilin residents receive guests, they take them on an outing to Al-Mahla waterfall.

Visiting Al-Mahla is free and not linked to a specific time; however, certain times best befit the nature of its environment. Morning is the most suitable time because it's sunny and the water is still cold.

Above the waterfall, everything – trees, rocks, humans – appears tiny as viewers are engulfed on three sides. This keeps them constantly looking up in fear, however such feelings soon fade to harmony with the entire sight.

Being the only natural sound, no voice can overcome the water's thunderous tones, which seem to express nature's continuity and powerfulness. Visitors can shout all they want – whether in joy or protest – because no one will hear.

Advancing at others' encouragement to experience sweet lashes of water from above, one instinctually comes back out in no time, as there's no further ability to resist or continue.

This dance will be repeated many times until the body becomes accustomed to the water's coldness and later requires warming. There are no more visitors in the afternoon because the atmosphere grows cheerless with looming rain clouds.

With the falling rains, floods gather from Al-Naqilin district's upper regions and pour into the passage, thus, approaching the area is difficult, if not impossible. The noise caused by flood waters falling from above and crashing onto the rocks below makes one withdraw without even attempting to enjoy the scene.

Further, roads intersecting anywhere near Al-Mahla waterfall will be blocked for hours until floods diminish and passage becomes easier.

Such isn't the case for humans and animals, as bridges ensuring passage from one side to the other are available everywhere, dating back to when Queen Arwa Bint Ahmed Al-Sulihi ruled Yemen.