The magnificent temples at Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel Travel Blog

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Abu Simbel is a small town about three hours south of Aswan. Made famous solely by the magnificent temple built at the location by Ramses II, this sleepy town is often skipped by tourists as it is quite a tiring drive and quite out of the way.. But I think it was definitely worth the trouble.
The main part of the trouble with visiting Abu Simbel is that you cant just drive there by yourself. For some security reasons, traffic to Abu Simbel is high regulated. Anyone who wants to visit, has to join a convoy that is tracked and checked by the local police. Plus, you can only leave at particular times of the day. Which is why I had to wake up at the god forsaken hour of 3 a.m. to begin my journey to the temple!!

The drive to Abu Simbel was quite a scary one actually! Me being the solo traveler, I get into these awkward situations sometimes. So there I was, with my guide who I had known for one day and a driver I had known for less than an hour… traversing through the empty deserts of southern Egypt! At the ungodly hour of 3 a.m.!! There was a moment when the driver stopped the car alongside another car in the middle of that desolate place.. and hopped out to speak with the driver of the other car. I know my nerves almost gave way… all kinds of horror scenes made their way into my imagination.. I weighed each escape option and realized there was nowhere to go.. no one to call out to.. I almost prayed!! And then I realized that men need to pee more often than women ;) .. The driver got in and drove on.. and I let out the breath I had been holding all the while!
Immediately, I sent out a message to S with my guide’s name and phone number. Just in case, you know! It’s the least I could do!

Anyways, a little after daybreak (and what a stunning view of the sun rising over the desert it was!), we arrived at the almost non-existent town of Abu Simbel.

The temples themselves were magnificent… Rameses II seemed to be quite a narcissist! Apparently, this temple was defamed by the priests of the time because Ramses has placed an equal sized statue of himself besides the statues of the gods in the temple’s shrine.
Its not just the art and architecture of the temple that is fascinating. Its also the place where it was built… the view of the Nile… its just inspiring! Like most of the famous temples in Egypt, photography is prohibited in Abu Simbel as well. In a way, I think that’s a good thing.. kinda preserves the mythical aura that surrounds these places.

Spent some time sitting on the banks of the river and just gazing out into the horizon.. and then it got too hot! We were also on a tight schedule as the ship was set to sail at lunch time. So we headed back towards Aswan.. and then, after the lunch (of course I have to mention the meal! It was awesome!), we set sail towards the town of Komombo.
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Abu Simbel
photo by: ellechic