Tag Archive: Hatshepsut



A bunch of close friends. “Barkada”. We’ve long planned this — and planned around a 5-night Nile Cruise on a chartered Dahabiya or sailboat. Cairo and Alexandra first, prior to the cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Then 3 more nights in Aswan to include a day trip to Abu Simbel. There were concerns prior to the trip. Left on February 17, about the time when the world is whirling and reeling from Coronavirus issues. But we were all set for this trip. So, armed with masks, wipes and alcohol sprays, we went. The flights to Cairo and then to Luxor, as well as the long drives to Alexandria and Abu Simbel were uneventful. The weather was perfect, all rides comfortable, though I must confess we underestimated Egypt’s cold temps. The whole cruising time, we had breakfasts on the riverboat’s deck in our terry bathrobes. The same robes we donned for dinners! It grew warmer by the time we reached Aswan and Abu Simbel. Finally, we parked our boots and rubber shoes and wore our sandals to go shopping. All throughout the journey, we were floored by all these ancient wonders and happily absorbed all the ancient history lessons. It was our luck that we had very competent tour guides. Egyptologists. Yes, you take special courses for that. We also met some foreign Egyptologists in the hotels where we stayed — archaeologists who specialise in Ancient Egypt. Such interesting people. The ones we met must be in their 60s-70s but you can still sense that burning passion in them. The kind you can almost touch! By journey’s end, we can only feel so thankful for the wonderful cruising adventure, the excitement triggered by the history lessons, the fun and mirth all throughout the holiday and most importantly the good health and safety enjoyed by everyone. This is our story. Feel free to click on the links for more photos and details.

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/21/the-sphinx-and-moi/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/22/revisiting-cairo/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/24/alexandria/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/ballooning-in-luxor-egypt/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/gliding-through-the-nile/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/29/the-ancient-temples-of-luxor/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/06/of-egyptian-gods-man-gods/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/18/sailing-without-care/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/abu-simbel-finally/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/aswan-as-two/

The Ancient Temples of Luxor


From the pyramids of Giza to the temples in Upper Nile, these ancient wonders make up Egypt’s history, inheritance and legacy. Unfinished or abandoned projects give a glimpse of how they were made but to this day, the unsolved mysteries still hound the construction of the pyramids, the mix of colours and dyes used, and the mummification process perfected in the ancient world. Questions remain unanswered, and many theories abound. The mysteries remain and such make it all the more compelling to go and visit this land of the Pharaohs.

It is amazing how these monuments withstood the test of time. Like how does one even begin to appreciate how these stones were quarried, dragged and installed 4,000 years ago? And why did they stop making pyramids? Not that those royal tombs in the necropolis comprising the Valley of the Kings is less grand, nor something to complain about. Karnak and Luxor Temples are so grand, one needs to devote a full day just visiting these 2. We were in luck to have a good guide provided by Aggressor River Cruises for the next 6 days and 5 nights as we cruised along the Nile River. Having done this 24 years ago sailing from Aswan to Luxor, I dare say it’s even better sailing south from Luxor to further Upper Nile (Aswan). Luxor is a highlight — and thus a good start — what with both Karnak and Luxor Temples welcoming every guest to this state’s ancient and grand wonders. These Pharaohs do an “overkill” by super sizing every temple, obelisk, royal tomb, and statue. What’s even more amazing is how they’ve dragged, carved and installed every boulder to make these monuments. Majestic even sounds lame to describe them.

No wonder Egyptologists like our guide Mahmoud comprise some of the more interesting persons on this planet. They regale us with these historical tidbits and scientific trivia with such dramatic flair that make our jaws drop. Dedicated to the gods Amun, Mut and Khonsu, Karnak claims to be the biggest religious complex in the world. Even bigger than Angkor Wat. The Cambodians may disagree. But where Angkor Wat is a sprawling temple complex, Karnak is an open air museum consisting of sanctuaries, pylons, obelisks and kiosks built over a long period of 1,500 years by generations of pharaohs, each wanting to leave their mark. Between Karnak And Luxor Temples is the Avenue of Sphinxes — an incredible line of human headed sphinxes spanning 3 kilometers. There is a project to renovate this entire sphinxes avenue connecting these 2 majestic temples. That will be the day! This is why I feel it is best to start the Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan. The Theban temples of Karnak and Luxor alone can blow one’s mind and inundate you with so much historical trivia. You just can’t take it all in in one go. And if you must take home a souvenir, go ahead and buy that book or CD.

The entire necropolis that makes up the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Nobles reinforces the might of the Pharaohs . The hot air balloon ride allowed us the “big picture” as we hovered that early morning over the necropolis including the Temple of Hatshepsut. Who is Hatshepsut? Depicted often as a male, Hatshepsut is really one of the few but the most famous female pharaohs of Egypt. Born to King Tutmose I, Hatshepsut managed to gain power as a ruling Pharaoh when she married her half brother Tutmose II who inherited her father’s throne in 1492 BC. When Tutmose II died and left the throne to his infant son Tutmose III (with another wife), Hatshepsut acted as Regent and ruled Egypt. In many paintings and statues, Hatshepsut sought to reinvent herself as she was depicted with a beard and muscled arms like a male pharaoh. Her mortuary temple at the foot of the limestone cliffs of Deir El Bahri is the most impressive (and admission ticket most expensive). Truly one of the best monuments of Egypt, it looks majestic viewed inside as well as outside.

Have a go at Luxor and immerse yourselves in its awesome temples for Egyptian gods and man-gods. Try the hot air balloon (it’s cheaper than those flying in Turkey, Tanzania and Myanmar) and spend extra days to take it all in slowly. Get a good guide. An Egyptologist. Go ahead and book that Nile Cruise. There is so much to explore and learn from a single visit to Egypt and one rule to observe is to give it enough time. Never rush it.