(Photos @: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunilshinde)
A red-eye brought us to the city of Luxor (derived from Al-uk sur – meaning fortifications in Arabic).
After checking into our cruise, we started the day with Karnaka temple. Karnak temple is the largest temple complex in the world spread over 247 acres and built over several hundred years by several kings.
Every buildings, pillar, pylon, obelisk in this temple is huge. It was impossible to shoot a piece without adding an item for scale.
The hypostye hall is considered one of the most amazing architectural feat. This place requires eyes and imagination in equal part as the cieling above the 82 feet high papyrus column is now missing. The ceiling would ensure complete darkness in the hall with the traceried windows throwing a pencil of light here and there like a wealthy squandering coins to at barefooted derelicts on an evening walk.
The columns symbolized the force of life with their roots plunged in the water of nun (underground water table) and stems thrust upwards with the corolla opened to the sky of the blue plaited cieling.
Karnak temple also has Queen hatshepsut's obelisk along with a wall built around it by her stepson Tuthmosis III. Hathshepsut is an interesting story and will cover it under a separate blog.
I liked the temple of Luxor for its imperfection. Rather, one imperfection. The axis of the temple is tilted, unlike Egyptian architecture that was paranoid about truw north and linearity and symmetry. While there are a bunch of theories, the one that makes sense to me if that the colonnade and the courtyard was build by Amenhotep III much after the temple was built by Ramses II.
Ramses II build the temple independent of the Karnak temple. The dromos which connects the two temple was an afterthought. The change of axis was to aligning the courtyard with the dromos. Simple.