Among all famous human civilizations, one of the most significant one is Egypt. You may have heard various kinds of trips along the country but among all of them one is much nearer to my heart. This year September I took a trip along the historic Nile River which in 1 word was ‘awesome’. On the way several interesting places were anchored in.
Nile River cruise is a timeless journey to explore Egypt’s history in a unique manner. World’s longest river has been traversed a number of time by millions for many centuries. Past and modern lives are so well blended along the whole route that sometimes it is really hard to distinguish them. Here nothing is predictable. Alluring charm of a lonely fisherman cutting through his oar along the Nile waters is as contrasting as restless youngsters on their speed-boat, selling scarves. On some mornings it is all about fresh and moist morning air sweeping over shining green vegetations on the river bank. On some other, it is all about dry and hot air sweeping over dry, yellow sand dunes.
Local people taking their favourite morning tea and ‘hookah’ under sun, sitting on plastic chairs on river bank; bougainvillea gardens; wheat and sugarcane fields; mud-huts; family owned farms and glowing minarets at dusk all are glimpses of Egypt in totality which are not within itinerary list but worthy to take a Nile River cruise that could easily translate into a lifelong memory. Today my article will be strictly restricted to top 5 interesting points of anchor.
1. Temple of Karnak: Origin of most river cruises is Luxor so most probably your first port of call would be Karnak temple. I must say it’s a wonderful place to start. Variety of obelisks, intricately carved out pillars, walls; you’ll just wonder about sheer complexity of architecture. After looking at it I knew why its main area was considered to be the earthly retreat of sun god Amun-Re. Still on record this temple is the largest temple ever built.
Special feature- Symbolism: Ancient Egyptians used to worship different natural phenomenon and architects of that time profusely used natural symbols in temples. Karnak Temple is one of the most beautiful specimens where its 134 pillars represent palm trees, River Nile symbolically represented through the floor, mountains symbolized by pylons and ceilings representing skies.
2. Temple of Luxor: Another major temple that is the Temple of Luxor is again dedicated to sun god Amun-Re. Along with this gods Khonsu and Mut were also worshipped here. Two seated idols of pharaoh Ramses II guard beside the entrance door. Intricate carvings of this temple is its main draw. Like that of clapping people, dancers and acrobates; beating drums and boats plying on Nile River guided by captains; all of these carvings ooze out palpating energy of the bygone eras.
Special feature- Religious art: Evidences of 4 religions can be seen here. Along with ancient Egyptian deities frescos represent Roman imperial cult, Abu El-Haggag mosque and remains of an erstwhile Coptic church represent Islam and Christianity respectively.
3. Valley of the Kings: ‘Valley of the Kings’ this name is a common one for whosoever is interested in Egypt. Now it is your turn to visit it in reality. Legendary tomb of young pharaoh Tutankhamen and his alleged treasure trove hidden underground are enough reasons for visiting this site at least once in lifetime. Along with this historical site you can visit replica of the chamber which is receiving rave reviews for its detailed precision with the original one. This is a good try to mitigate all damages done by crowd of tourists. Grand Chamber is really grand with tombs of Ramses IX, Ramses II and Merenptah and of many more. All will admire intriguing scenes and related hieroglyphics carved on the walls.
Special feature- Vivid paintings: You will wonder with the contrast of how colourful can be paintings inside the tomb as exterior regions have worn out paintings resultant of sunlight, rain-water, heat etc. Colourful paints were made of charcoal, chalk, malachite and ochre mixed up with gum and eggwhite along with brush of honey bee wax used as varnish. These pictures have been protected in the truest sense with vibrant yellow, red, blue and white still sobright that it looks as if they have been recently made.
4. Temple of Edfu: Temple of Edfu is dedicated to Horus or the Falcon god so human figure having a falcon head can be seen throughout the temple. Falcons were worshipped in ancient Egypt as they were considered to be noble for their avoidance of dead flesh. This temple is one of the most well preserved temples of Egypt. Outstanding halls and antechambers along with a well preserved inner sanctuary with a polished granite shrine which used to house the cult gold statue of Horus are worth visiting.
Special feature– The courtyard: I request you not to rush towards the temple without giving a thorough look at the courtyard which has splendid wall carvings. Once average public were allowed to visit still to this point and only some privileged few had access into the temple. Interior of the temple was guarded with pitch darkness.
5. Kom Ombo: Interestingly Kom Ombo was dedicated to both Horus and Sobek, ‘the Crocodile god’ and you can pay homage to crocodiles just like ancient Egyptians. Once this stretch of the river was infested with dangerous crocs.
Special feature- Doubling up: Everything is in pair and evenly distributed between 2 gods from halls, courtyards to sanctuaries and every other thing.
In the end of my cruise trip I was more than satisfied and I know that you too will love this. Please give your feedback to us. Your feedbacks are what get me moving.
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