Friday, June 13, 2014

Egypt Travelogue - Pharanoic Thebes - II


Ramses II
Click by Danish Henry

The trip to Luxor could not have been complete without a visit to the many temples of Luxor. The Temples of Karnak are the largest ancient temple in the world. The Karnak complex is a complex of an open air museum, temples, pylons, intact and dismantled obelisks and monuments. All parts are not open to the general public. Signs of graffiti and vandalism by Napolean Bonaparte, the Italians, Coptic Christians and Arabs still linger. In the main hall stands high the statue of Ramses II – his ego frozen into stone. 

At the Temple of Karnak, Luxor.
Click by Omar Shabana
The Temple of Karnak in Luxor.
Click by Danish Henry 

The Temple of Karnak.
Click by Manthan Mehta
In the temple is an intricate network of gigantic pillars placed with the precision of a nanometer and studded with exhausting hieroglyphic inscriptions.  The walls are coated with depictions of interaction between Kings and the Egyptian gods and hieroglyphs – an enigmatic approach to communication; having to do something with phonetics.  Despite significant advances in deciphering ancient Egypt, Egyptologist still is like Swiss cheese – with holes in it. Our guide highlighted the astonishing synchronization of the architecture with the sun. The temple is a true reflection of the enormousity and extravagance of the Egyptian empire.  And finally a day in the power house of one of the greatest civilization ended. This is a place you would like to see for yourself before you die.   

Pictorial representations of interactions
between the Kings and the Gods
at the Temples of Karnak.
Click by Danish Henry 
Hieroglyphics at the Temple of Karnak.
Click by Danish Henry 


The Kings were bizarre yet interesting, unreasonable yet logical, overwhelmingly wealthy with no moral values, obsessed with symbolism and intoxicated with self-glorification with utter disregard for human rights.

The Ancient Egyptians were not just another group of people with an all-powerful King. They left a lasting legacy in many fields of life. They had the management skills to manage a workforce of thousands, were bench-markers in engineers who made attempts (though failed ones) at building a primitive type of a dam at the Nile and established an extensive irrigation system to benefit from the predictable flooding. Also, they were architectural wizards who build the iconic pyramids and imposing temples at Luxor. In politics, they were great politicians who exercised control upper and lower Egypt with peaceful transition of powers. They were biased historians who documented to detail (bar the construction of the Pyramids) and had knowledge about the movement of celestial bodies and placed their structures in line with the sun (Ra – the sun god). Medicine fostered as evident from the earliest manuscripts of medicine. 

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