Karnak Temple, a fascinating maze of amazement is really a place you should never miss! You need one full day to spend at the temple. It is so huge that it literally took a long time for me to complete the tour of the temple.
It is so magical just to wander through it and soak in all the beauty of the place. The life of the god Amun, his wife and son is carved so beautifully on the walls of the temple.
You will not believe me when I say that you can fit Notre Dame Cathedral inside the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple. Didn’t believe me? I guessed so!
Did You Know? The Karnak Temple is the largest religious building complex ever constructed. It covers an area of 200 acres, larger than some ancient cities.
Karnak is an ancient Egyptian temple complex. Ancient Egyptians used to call the main area of the temple Ipet-isu, meaning “most selected of places”. It is dedicated to Amun-Ra along with Mut (his wife) and Khonsu (his son).
When I arrived at the temple along with my friend and guide, I saw this enormous building in front of me. There was a complex consisting 4 main temples- Goddess Mut Temple to the south, The Temple of Aten to the north, Temple of god Montu to the east and the largest temple of god Amun in the center.
A huge wall was standing as a barrier between the sacred building and the commoners.
Did You Know? The construction of the temple took more than 1300 years to build. It was so slow that it took more than 30 pharaohs’ to complete the building. I was quite shocked to hear that!
Fun Fact: The pharaoh’s were capable of erasing history? What? How?!
Queen Hatshepsut (fifth pharaoh of eighteenth dynasty) after being a regent for a boy for 7 years claimed to be a male pharaoh. During her reign, she built a lot of buildings at Karnak. After her death, the pharaoh Thutmose III took over the throne and destroyed some of her constructions. He covered up most of Hatshepsut’s work. She was removed from whatever was painted and chiseled about her. It was all gone as if she never existed in the history of Karnak.
And then, as I entered into the building, my jaw dropped. It is the most important and largest hall, the Great Hypostyle Hall. It had 134 pillars which are about 70 feet tall. You can fit an entire Notre Dame Cathedral inside it! Isn’t it insane?
On the wall, there were scenes from the life of Seti (who made the hall) and his successor and Ramses II.
When I walked out of the temple, there was a mud-like structure. It is believed that if you walk around it in circular motion then your wish may come true. So I walked around it along with other tourists and made my wish. I hope it will come true someday!
It made me so happy to hear from a Chinese couple that they wished for their love life. That is so romantic!
We also came to know that the temple was destroyed several times by Assyrian invasion and Persian invasion. But every time it was reconstructed and repaired. After Roman Empire and Christianity became a faith, the emperor Constantius II ordered pagan temples (temples of other religion or faith) to be closed. And so, Karnak temple was deserted.
Also to my surprise, the other temples were also beautiful. But they don’t have the charm and the beauty that the Great Hypostyle Hall has. The statues built in the temple are one of the finest aspects of Egyptian art and architecture.
Today this sight is explored widely by people from around the world. The discoveries at the temple have also helped in increasing the tourism in Egypt. Its beauty has attracted people from different parts of the world including me!
The stunning pictures of the temple will constantly remind me of visiting it again. I came to Egypt specially to see the temple of Karnak. My excitement started building when I saw the pictures back at home. And after arriving in the country it was on another level. Even the hot and dry weather did not stop me! That is the spirit I have and want to see in you guys!
How to Reach: Take a 10 mins taxi ride to the temple.
What to Expect: Magnificent Egyptian art and architecture.
Weather: The weather is generally hot and dry. So, your travel clothing should be light and comfortable.
What to carry: Sun block, a hat, and water bottles.
Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP)