AfricaEgyptAswan

An introduction to Osiris and Isis.. and the temples of Upper Egypt

Aswan Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 20 › view all entries
Off to Aswan to see the much talked about - High Dam
My train to the southern city of Aswan left Cairo at around 10 in the night. A 10 hour train ride seemed quite a short trip to me, being used to the trains and distances in India. But this trip would take me right up to close to the border of Egypt and Sudan. And then I would cruise up (down, actually! Its very confusing.. I’ll explain!).. Anyway, so I was to be on a cruise from Aswan to Luxor over a period of 3 days. And then catch a train back to Cairo from Luxor.

So, all set with my bags and tickets, I bid adieu to my friends in Cairo and headed towards Aswan.

A slight digression to explain the whole upstream-downstream funda.
The pride and joy of Egypt! (One of them, anyway!)
You see, when people say, I’m heading “up”, one kinda imagines that they are heading north. Coz, you know, that’s how the maps are drawn. North is up and South in down. But here in Egypt, the river Nile decides almost everything! And so, upstream is what is called Upper Egypt and downstream is what is called Lower Egypt. As it happens, the river flows from south to north (as per the map!).. And so, the southern part of Egypt is known as “Upper Egypt” and the northern part is knows as “Lower Egypt”!.. Took me quite a while to get accustomed to that!

Anyways, so, I set off on my train journey – quite a comfortable one at that! Me, being used to Indian trains and all!!
I had a cabin all to myself.. A nice cozy bed.. a wash basin.. couple of hangers and a open cabinet to hang my stuff.
And of course, Lake Nasser
. night lights.. soft music.. and pillows!!! AND……….lovely lovely food! The only let down was that the awesome food was free, but you had to pay for anything you wanted to drink. Including water! And, of course, far from a reasonable price! Ah well, it wasn’t so bad actually. The food kinda made up for any flaw! So, for the first time on a train, I slept like a baby! Slept better than I sometimes sleep on the bed in my house, actually!

The next morning, (after a delicious breakfast!), we arrived at Aswan. I was escorted to the ship I was to be on for the next three days.. and after a quick freshening up session, we set off to visit the Aswan high dam and the temple of Philae.

The story goes that every year the river Nile would flood and all of Egypt would be covered in water.
Its creation caused the relocation of several ancient monuments and temples
And this made the soil fertile and suitable for cultivation. But in recent times, the flooding was damaging infrastructure, temples, and dwellings.. and so, something had to be done! And that’s when the high dam was build over the Nile at the city of Aswan. The pride of the nation! People just cant seem to stop talking about it in admiring tones :D

Next stop, the temple of Philae. A short boat ride on the Nile takes us to one of the rock islands that houses the temple. Known as a sacred site for the ancient Egyptians as well as the Nubians, this was my first exposure to the temples of Egypt.
And without a guide, these temples are just a bunch of pretty buildings.. The real beauty of it unfolds as the guide takes you through the journey of the construction, the details of the architecture, and of course, the stories carved out on the walls of the temples.
Off on a boat to an island on the Nile


So this was where I was first introduced to Osiris and Isis… the super gods of ancient Egypt! And Hathor, who I have decided is the coolest Goddess of them all – the goddess of music, fun and frolic!! :D
The stories revolving around these characters reminds one of the stories from Hindu mythology.. I think there is a great deal of similarity between the two.. The concept of many gods.. of sacrifice to please the gods.. of afterlife..

Philae was also being submerged by the construction of the high dam of Aswan and needed to be relocated to another island. It is now a UNESCO world heritage sight..

After an hour or so of admiring the carvings and the architecture of the temple, I am taken back to the ship for my lunch and to settle in. The food, as usual, turns out to be one of the best features of the deal! :D .
Crisp clear waters of the Nile
. After a sumptuous meal and swag of the ahwa (Turkish Coffee) that I have grown addicted to, I set out to explore the area around the place where the ship was docked. Also, I desperately needed some moisturizing cream. I just don’t seem to grasp the concept of moisturizing, having never done it for 25 years of my life. Once again, (the first time was when I went to the US), I underestimated the affect the weather could have on my skin. And though I am not girly and conscious of my complexion, the look of dry scaly skin is revolting even to me. So I set out, in the search of some moisturizer. Walked around for a bit.. lazed in a garden.. drank another ahwa and got asked by the manager if I would return there after midnight ;) … (the number and the ways I have got propositioned in this country will make for a separate section altogether!!) .. And then I found a pharmacy and picked up a much needed lotion as well.

All that done, I decided to head back to the boat and call it a day (after dinner, of course!). I was supposed to wake up at 2 the next day to go see the temple at Abu Simbel.
So I needed all the sleep that I could gather!
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Off to Aswan to see the much talke…
Off to Aswan to see the much talk…
The pride and joy of Egypt! (One o…
The pride and joy of Egypt! (One …
And of course, Lake Nasser
And of course, Lake Nasser
Its creation caused the relocation…
Its creation caused the relocatio…
Off on a boat to an island on the …
Off on a boat to an island on the…
Crisp clear waters of the Nile
Crisp clear waters of the Nile
And then this magnificence comes i…
And then this magnificence comes …
The temple of Philae
The temple of Philae
The temple was dismantled and relo…
The temple was dismantled and rel…
A king killing his enemies and the…
A king killing his enemies and th…
More offerings! The gods really se…
More offerings! The gods really s…
Love the stories that revolve arou…
Love the stories that revolve aro…
The gods of Ancient Egypt - Isis, …
The gods of Ancient Egypt - Isis,…
Love the details on the columns
Love the details on the columns
The inner sanctuary
The inner sanctuary
The beautiful Nile :)
The beautiful Nile :)
So what do people do for fun in As…
So what do people do for fun in A…
Why, they ride the Felluca, of cou…
Why, they ride the Felluca, of co…
Lovely way to cruise the Nile
Lovely way to cruise the Nile
And it can get quite exciting (Rea…
And it can get quite exciting (Re…
Aswan
photo by: Vikram