(Photos @: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunilshinde)
In the Old Kingdom, the pharoahs built soaring pyramids. The buried the pharoahs in them with untold wealth. The pyramids took a toll on the economies of the country as well as the psyche of the people. This led to a major backlash in the Middle Kingdom. Civil wars broke out. Anarchy begins. Tombs were raided and mummies uprooted and thrown into Nile. Towards New Kingdom, the pharoahs were more inclined at "hiding" their tombs. They selected the area now known as the valley of the kings for it. the valley has a natural pyramid shaped mountain overlooking it. Tombs were dug in unaccessible areas. the pharoahs concentrated on making the tomb richer through paitings and carvings.
A visitor is allows entry to three tombs on a day on a ticket. We visited two. The tomb of "Tausert and Setnakht" and Ramses IV.
Theirs is is one of the largest tomb of the valley.
The tomb was originally commisioned for Tausert who was the queen and wife of Seti II. Setnakht the father of Ramses III had commisioned a tomb for him seld though Ramses III against the wishes of his father interred his father in Tauserts tomb and took over Setnakht's tomb for himself.
Cameras are not allowed inside the tomb which clearly did not prevent from Vijay reeling of two two quick shots.
We then moved to Deir-El Bahri to see queen Hatshepsut's temple.
Hers is a story of grit and ambition and corruption and deceipt and pursuite of power. Jackie Collins woud have been prud to have penned it
She was daughter of Tuthmoses I and Aahmes. WHen she lost both her two brothers and her father, she married her half brother Tuthmoses II. Tuthmoses took over the throne and records show that Hatshepsut ruled alongside the king, albeit, behind the scenes. Tuthmoses II died of a skin disease within 3/4 years of becomg the king. WHile he had not children with Hathshepsut, he has sired a son, Tuthmoses III, through a concubine Isis.
Hatshepsut sent Tuthmoses III first to Cairo and then to Karnak to learn military and religion respectively and took over the thrown in lieu of her stepson/nephew.
She ruled for about 15 tears untill her death is 1458. And she ruled with charisma. She was an able administrator and politician. She left behind more monuments and works of art than any ther women ruler. She undertook non-military campaigns to Punt (present day somalia) in search of ivory, spices, gold and aromatic trees.
As a women king, she faced turmoil and resistance. She used every trick in the book and inventing a few to stay in control. She annoited herself as the direct daughter of God Amun-Ra. She completely hid her feminity and depicted herself as a man in every statue and monument. She wore the entire pharao regalia including the false beard. She used the festival of Opet to show that god was on her side. Mesmerizing stuff.
She was the target of Tuthmoses IIIs wrath once he ascended the throne. He destroyed her monuents, and tried to systematically erase all mention, text and scukptures of hers from the temples.
How she died is not known and her mummy was never found
Her lover and architect in chief, Senenumut, built the extremely modern looking temple at Dar-El Bahiri
Here are two more monuments she built. The one on the left is a Sphinx at Memphis, while the one on the right is the obelisk in the temple of Karnak. The wall Tuthmoses III built around it is visible in the picture.