The Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple – Day 6 – Spiritual Tour to Egypt -Travel Journal of Carla & John Part 12
This morning on our spiritual tour to Egypt, we were up well before the Sun to travel on to the Valley of the Kings and Queens for our first stop at Queen Hatshepsut’s Funerary Temple. Along the way we passed a field where several people were gathered waiting for the hot air balloons to be unwrapped and readied for flight. Not something I would want to do going up in a hot air balloon but each to their own as they say.
Hatshepsut’s Temple is absolutely breathtaking and so majestic. It nestles in a steep half circle of cliffs and has 3 levels. The walls of the temple are covered with beautifully coloured murals detailing her travels and aspects of her life. The guide told us that this temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Egypt as far as the architecture goes. They say that there were once many trees and other flora surrounding the temple that Hatshepsut brought back from her travels.
She was a magnificent Queen and an exceptional Pharaoh and commissioned many beautiful buildings. She brought much prosperity to Egypt. But she was a woman and it was not acceptable in later times for a woman to have been so successful and especially not to have proclaimed herself as Pharaoh and so her temple was damaged and they went to great lengths to remove her name from the history of Egypt. But magnificent women have a way of being remembered and she certainly has reclaimed her place in the history books.
Now millions of people visit her temple each year and marvel at the life of this extraordinary woman. We watched the Sun rise and what a beautiful sunrise. There was a lot of cloud cover so the colours in the clouds were exceptional. But nothing ould compare to the warm vibrant colours of Hatshepsut’s Temple and the hills behind the Temple. Our Guide was so excited because we were able to see this temple at it’s absolute most beautiful.
Following our visit to Hatshepsut’s Temple, we crossed over into the Valley of the Kings. Now that is the most hot, dry desolute place that I have ever visited. But once we went underground and visited some of the tombs, I was absolutely enthralled with the beauty that I saw. The walls were completely covered with beautiful murals depicting the book of the dead and aspects of the life and times of the Pharaoh. The colours were still vibrant and magnificent even after thousands of years.
What incredible beliefs and customs these Ancient Egyptians had and such love and reverence they displayed towards their dead pharaohs and actually to their dead in general. I can’t help but wonder where the enormous wealth of gold artifacts and jewellery have ended up. These things don’t completely disappear – they have to still be somewhere on this planet. Can you imagine what a collection they would make if every Egyptian artifact in existence was returned to Egypt. The museums of Egypt are already bursting at the seams without all the rest scattered throughout the world, but what a sight it would be to behold.
The tombs of Seti I and Ramses II were my favourites because they were so colourful and richly decorated. We visited King Tut’s Tomb but to be honest I was a little underwhelmed by it. I can only imagine how it must have looked full of its treasure when Howard Carter first opened the tomb.
Tomb of Seti I
John was really itching to take photographs in the tombs but it isn’t allowed and rightly so. It’s a wonder that they allow so many tourists into these precious places. But we bought lots of postcards to remind ourselves of this really special experience.
Tomb of Ramses II
On the way back we stopped at the Colossus of Memnon. I’d seen pictures of them standing in water so I was quite surprised to find them standing alone in a desolute field by the side of the road.
There is just so much to see and experience here in Egypt. I have wanted to come here for years but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine just how magnificent the journey through Egypt can be. We are on a spiritual tour of Egypt but it isn’t a tour where John is feeling uncomfortable. We are learning about the history of Egypt as well as the spiritual beliefs of the ancient Egyptians and along the way we are being given opportunities to discover things about ourselves. I can feel something wonderful happening within me. I’m feeling so open and full of optimism for my future where before I was living from day to day and believing that my cancer was in remission. Now I know the cancer will never return – don’t ask me how I know, I just do. It’s like the reason for its existence in my life is no longer relevant. There is a healing magic in Egypt and for whatever reason, it has reached out to me and wrapped its power around me. Even John is showing a softer side to himself and he is becoming so very relaxed. His whole focus has always been business and providing for his family but maybe now after this trip he will take more time to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of living and enjoying the wealth that we have created.
The Valley of the Kings is located on the West Bank of the Nile River near Luxor in Egypt. During the greatest period of ancient Egyptian history almost every pharaoh was buried here in tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The tombs in the Valley of the Kings have been hewn into the rock and decorated with extraordinary art.
To date, 63 tombs have been discovered in the Valley of the Kings and there may still be more to come, making this the richest archaeological site on earth. The numbers assigned to the tombs in the Valley of the Kings represent the order in which they were discovered, but a better way to approach the Valley of the Kings is to visit the tombs in the order in which they were constructed, as they are presented here. In this way it is possible to witness the flowering and eventual decline of ancient Egyptian tomb art.
Top 10 Tombs in the Valley of the Kings
1. Tomb of Tuthmosis III (No.34)
2. Tomb of Amenhotep II (No.35)
3. Tomb of Tutankhamun (No.62)
4. Tomb of Horemheb (No.57)
5. Tomb of Ramses I (No.16)
6. Tomb of Seti I (No.17)
7. Tomb of Merneptah (No.8)
8. Tomb of Ramses III (No.11)
9. Tomb of Ramses IV (No.2)
10. Tomb of Ramses VI (No.9)
Tuthmosis III (No.34)
Tuthmosis III was one of the first pharaohs to be buried in the Valley of the Kings. His tomb is at the furthest end, burrowed high into the mountainside in an attempt to thwart thieves. The tomb decorations from this period are very crude, with figures rendered as stick people.
Amenhotep II (No.35)
This is one of the deepest tombs in the Valley of the Kings, with 90 steps leading down to the various chambers. Amenhotep II ruled immediately after Tuthmosis III and this tomb has similarly basic wall paintings, as well as containing Amenhotep’s sarcophagus.
This is a very small tomb, but it is one of the most visited thanks to the story of its discovery by Howard Carter. All of the treasures have been removed and visitors must be content with seeing the king’s mummy, which lies inside a gilded coffin.
The introduction of bas-relief in this tomb, in which figures are carved out before painting, shows an advance in tomb art. Not all figures are finished and it is fascinating to see the work in various stages of completion.
Ramses I (No.16)
Ramses I ruled only for a single year and his tomb is correspondingly modest in size. It has the shortest entrance corridor in the valley leading to a small burial chamber. However, the colours of the tomb paintings remain particularly vibrant.
Seti I (No.17)
If you visit only one tomb when you visit the Valley of the Kings, it should be this one – the longest, deepest and most lavishly decorated tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The vaulted burial chamber boasts a beautiful ceiling, showing the constellations surrounded by a line-up of deities.
One of the many sons of Ramses II, Merneptah’s tomb almost equals that of Seti I for grandeur. This is the first tomb in which the axis is completely straight, terminating in a tomb chamber containing the pharaoh’s magnificent granite sarcophagus.
Ramses III (No.11)
This is also known as the “Tomb of the Harpists” after the bas-relief of two musicians. Unusually for a royal tomb, its colourful reliefs include scenes of everyday Egyptian life.
Ramses IV (No.2)
Ramses III was the last of the great pharaohs. The quality of the craftsmanship in the tomb of his successor is noticeably poorer than those that came before.
Ramses VI (No.9)
This tomb has very dense decoration, representing sacred texts and imagery, central to which is the voyage of the sun god Ra through the underworld and his victorious reemergence in the morning.
The Valley of the Kings is a hot dry desolate place to visit so if possible it is best to get there either when it first opens of an hour or so before it closes. There is a visitors centre with lots of market shops full of over zealous vendors desperate to take your money for their goods. This has become a bit of a problem for tourists since the People’s Revolution in January 2011 due to the drop in numbers of tourists visiting Egypt. The vendors have become more aggressive with their selling style but they do understand the word NO and you just have to say NO and keep walking and they will eventually give up and leave you alone. Do not feel threatened by this in any way because they are just trying to make a buck to feed their family.
The Valley of the Kings is a must see plae to visit and it is best done with a knowedgeable egyptologist. Here at Spiritual Egypt Tours we only work with the best there is and we have the most amazing visits to the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Why not come with us on our next tour of Egypt.
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