Hathor Temple at Dendera and theTemples at Abydos – Day 5 – Spiritual Tour of Egypt – The Egypt Travel Journal of Carla & John Part 11
This spiritual tour of Egypt is certainly living up to the grandiose claims from the website marketing. It’s John here by the way. Being in the marketing game myself, I’m pretty good at recognising the smoke and mirrors we use to talk up a product. But with this spiritual tour of Egypt I’m being hard pressed finding anything that doesn’t measure up to what was promised.
The Egyptologist with us certainly seems to know his stuff and is full of information – some of which you won’t find in the guide books – and he has no trouble handling the vast number of questions that people in our group are throwing at him. He also has a great personality and if I didn’t know better I’d swear that he is Australian because his sense of humour is wicked. Last night a few of us went out on the town in Luxor with him. We certainly met some interesting people and the stories he had to tell about life in Luxor had me fascinated. The Egyptians we met live such a simple carefree life. I will have the image of our guide sailing off into the night on the back of a motorbike forever. He just hopped, no head gear, thongs and all and he looked happy. This is a man in his late 50s and he really does seem to have it all going for him – no cares just a freedom to be himself.
But today after a very early morning start (well before sunrise) we headed out into the desert by coach to Dendera and Abydos. Dendera is located about 60 klms North of Luxor and is on the West Bank of the Nile River opposite the East Bank town called Qena.
Dendera dates back to the end of the 1st Dynasty and was the centre for the cult worship of Hathor who is also known as the Cow God. We also saw many depictions of the God Bes who like Hathor is associated with childbirth. It is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt according to our Egyptologist and it was certainly impressive.
The temple at Dendera is world famous for the Zodiac that is depicted on the ceiling in one of the temples on the upper level. It’s not the original due to the fact that Napolean helped himself to the original and transported it back to France.
On one of the walls is a carving that many believe is an early electric light globe. I have to agree that it looks a lot like one. You be the judge.
Carla is so soft hearted which is one of the things I love about her and she is a great animal lover. There are a number of dogs roaming around the Dendera complex and Carla made a friend of every one I think. This dog in particular followed her around for ages. She said that it reminded her of one of our dogs who died a couple of years ago.
From Dendera we headed North to the very beautiful temple complex at Abydos. The Abydos complex of temples covers nearly 5 klms and contains ruins from nearly all the periods of ancient Egypt. Abydos has been the centre of worship for Osiris for thousands of years.
One of the features of Abydos is a wall on which a list of all the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt have been recorded in stone. It also has an ancient site known as the Osireion. It contains offering scenes and other scenes from the Book of Gates and the Book of the Dead. There is also a faint carving of a now famous symbol known as the Flower of Life. The Flower of Life is one of the strongest shapes in sacred geometry. Apparently wearing the Flower of Life as an amulet aids in healing. I think I will surprise Carla with one if she doesn’t beat me to it.
I dabble in photography from time to time and I was fascinated by the play of light within the Temple of Seti 1. The walls and columns are still beautifully coloured and shafts of light seem to pour into the temple bathing the ancient stones in an almost etherial light. Carla joined in a meditation but for me just soaking in this beauty that has survived across the centuries was incredibly uplifting and relaxing.
There was so much to see today. My head is beginning to hit overload with all the information our Egyptologist is passing on to us and we’ve only just begun our visits to the temples. It was a long drive back to Luxor and to our boat and I think most of us on the tour fell asleep – but what a day.
Tomorrow morning we head off to the West Bank and the Valley of the Kings to visit the tombs of the Pharaohs. We’ve got another early morning start to visit the funerary temple of Hatshepsut the only female pharaoh.
But for now I’ve off to enjoy dinner. The food here is really something special. Egyptian food is aromatic with just a hint of spiciness although they tell me that they can make it a lot hotter. The desserts here are spectacular. They are created to first appeal to the eye because once the eyes send the message that it looks good then the rest is history in the taste buds. But they don’t only look good they also taste good. I have to admit that I have somewhat of a sweet tooth but after I get home I am going to have to double the time that I spend in the gym to work off my indulgences on this trip.
I think she would hate me for saying it, but Carla is also putting on a little weight and it is making her look utterly gorgeous – not that she wasn’t before but the last couple of years have taken their toll and she had become too thin but now she is blossoming. It is wonderful to see her so full of life and to hear her really laughing again. Egypt certainly does have something magical weaving through it. Anyway dinner awaits!!