Friday, July 27, 2007

Travel: Where history speaks

The Economic Times / India Times

Five page travel account of two trips to Egypt during two different seasons:

So there we were, a gung-ho group of 27 Indian tourists including my sisters Revathi and Kamala, gawking at the colossal twin statues of Memnon — that dwarfed everything around — as our coach approached what was once the mortuary temple complex of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Only the badly damaged but impressive quartzite sandstone statues remain, sitting poised amid sugarcane fields. They are 3,000 year-old, 60ft high replicas of Amenhotep, sentinels to the necropolis in the limestone hills of Qurna, the Valleys of Kings and Queens of Thebes, on the Nile’s West bank.

Thebes was the capital of the 18th dynasty, the “golden age” pharaohs, located on the Nile, Egypt’s life-giver. Taking the cue from the rising and setting sun, the west bank was allotted to the dead – for that’s where the sun “dies”’ – and the east bank, to the living, where the sun rises to shower its sustaining energy, explains Tamer, our guide.

The October sun was sharp, but turned out to be tame compared to the June heat when I visited Cairo and Thebes on the occasion of the announcement of the discovery and identification of Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s mummy by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities director, Zahi Hawass and his colleagues.

The two trips, just eight months apart, were delightfully different in content and context, yet complementary. Each enriched the experience — and got me hopelessly hooked n ancient Egypt!
See the above page for the full story.

1 comment:

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