There are so many temples, so many majestic sites in Egypt that I dare not say which ones are better than the other. Each person has their own preferences and what some like, others may not. I, for some reason, often find myself liking structures near to rivers or large bodies of flowing water. Perhaps in another lifetime I lived on the river. Who knows. In Egypt, I rediscovered my love for water and one moment I remember clearly is the first impression I had of the Temple of Philae.
On an island of its own, this temple is accessible only by boat. It’s late evening and the sun reflects off the dark blue water that mirrors the sky above. It’s been a tiring day and everyone is exhausted. We had been awake since 2am in the morning with our early morning flight to Abu Simbel then Aswan. This temple I remember being almost our last destination for the day. I was tired and sleepy. I walked down the pier and got onto the boat that would take us across. I wasn’t really expecting too much and was pleased to just be able to sit quietly on the boat, listening to the water splashing on its side as the late afternoon sun flickered through.
I observed a beautiful scenery of birds, trees and water reflecting the afternoon sun. Palm trees offered a beautiful sihoulette to the clear cloudless sky. All was calm and peaceful until all of a sudden, beautiful structures looking somewhat mythical appeared before me. I sat there quietly taking it all in. Stone columns reddened by the afternoon sun rose majestically to the sky. I felt like I too was on a pilgrimage to this great temple. I wondered if pilgrims thousands of years felt the same way I did just then. This place must indeed be magical. As I got closer, the towering columns grew in their splendor and size. They belonged to the Temple of Philae.
This temple I am told was believed to be the burial site of Osiris, the God of the Underworld,” and was inhabited by only priests. It was a sacred place of worship for ancient Egyptians and have been mentioned in literature since ancient times. I got off the boat and inside the temple is just as astounding.
Pillars filled with hieroglyphics lined the entrance and the main gate was still in wonderful condition. Although most of the colours are gone now, they hieroglyphics remain just as surreal. The complex is large and there are many buildings. Some were built by the romans and one especially beautiful is the Kiosk of Trajan which has 14 columns and is in a classical style. Beautiful. I walk around looking at the lights and shadows. Light and darkness contrasting with each other. I wish I had more time here, but we are given only 20 minutes to take photos.
I wander around and just fall in love this temple. Perhaps crossing the river in the setting sun with the clear blue sky above made it all the more magical. Whatever it is, I can imagine this being the resting place of the Gods.