Komodo National ParkJanuary 9, 2017
Giza – The Secrets of the Sphinx, why is it more than 12 000 years old?January 9, 2017
Hathor Temple : outstanding preservation
60 km north of Luxor, the Hathor Temple is located in the small city of Dendera. Hathor is the mother and feeder goddess. Its temple is one of the most well preserved of all Ancient Egypt. Made of sandstone and limestone, its construction is attributed to King Ptolemee XII (also called Neo Dionysos) in the 1st century BC. Still having its enclosure (even if it has been restored) in its entirety, its rooftop, its crypts and all of its columns, Hathor Temple is also one of the most decorated temples in Egypt. Let’s put it simply: if you have the chance to visit this temple, wherever you look, your mind will be blown away!
After passing the monumental gate, you will find yourself in the imposing hypostyle room. In this room, the ceiling is supported by 18 columns in sistrum shape, Hathor’s favorite musical instrument. Each pillar is decorated at its top with four faces of the goddess representing the four cardinal points and the four aspects of the goddess according to the mythology :
1) Hathor, the lion goddess who fights Sun’s ennemies
2) Goddess of love and rebirth
3) Protector of love and home, the feeder goddess
4) Youth and beauty
Baptized by Horus and Thot
A lot of reliefs decorate the walls of this room. You can see many scenes like the baptism of the king by the gods Horus and Thot themselves, the gift of two sistrums in order to dissipate the wrath and the violence of the world, the sacrifice of the oryx and the crocodile to make vital and discoordinated pulsions sacred or the erection of Min’s mat, referring to the creative virility. The ceiling has also numerous ornaments like the sun’s 12 hours journey, mothered by the goddess Nout and then swallowed at dusk.
Going deeper in the Temple will lead you to the Room of Apparition in which Hathor appeared to the initiates, as a statue in a boat. This room is connected to 6 smaller ones, both in pair based on their purpose:
The Laboratory and the Room of the Treasure, where alchemists work
The Chamber of the Treasure and the Chamber of the Nil, where the sacred time and season’s divine rhythm are measured.
The Chamber of offerings linked to the room of offerings
After the Room of Apparition, the Room of Gifts is the place where gifts were given on altars. Then, you go enter the Holy of Holies where the Naos stands (much like Aswan’s Elephantine Island), throne where the divinity sits. The granite Naos has a superb conservation status and questions the technical means used for its completion. The Holy of Holies represents the human space where rituals are celebrated by the Pharaoh. In this place, two other chapels are reachable.
Mysterious underground crypt
You can only enter one crypt (out of 22 (!)) that is open to visitors. The least w can say is that it is not made for claustrophobic people. These are tiny rooms reachable via very small corridors. These crypts were supposedly used to store sacred and divine items, treasures of the temple. When we see their size and also what is depicted on the walls, we start to doubt this explanation. 22 crypts scattered all over Denderah Temple ? for sacred items ? This cannot be. On the walls of these crypts, we could see depictions of Harsomthous, son of Hathor and Horus, as a falcon but also as a snake (other form of Harsomthous) protected by a gangue and bursting out of a lotus flower, looking like… a light bulb.
A simple question comes to mind: how Egyptians managed to enlighten themselves when they went down those Crypts? Guides will automatically answer “with torches”. Yes, but no marks of smoke could be found on any of the crypts ceilings. Moreover, the oxygen rate is way too low to keep a fire alive in this underground. It is the very same problem as in Saqqara’s Serapeum… But let’s get back to the lightbulbs that strangely remind of Bagdad Batteries. According to the traditional theory, these lamps are simple lotus flower to which a snake was added in reference to Osiris. These lamps are usually dedicated to Osiris’ cult, and no one is looking for any other explanation…
Electricity at the age of Egyptians ?
Alternative theories propose that the lotus flower is in fact an electric wire as the interior of the lamp would be the conductor. Also, why is the lotus flower shown this way, with a gigantic bulb? We note, in these representations, the presence of god Thot handling knives, which is symbol of danger. Why would a simple lotus flower be dangerous? Also, the snake facing the knives shifts away from them while the two in the two other “Dendera light bulbs” stay still.
The Zodiac of Dendera
The temple rooftop is also reachable. On this roof top, there is a little kiosk in which the rite of “Union of Solar Disk” used to happen. Statues of Hathor were exposed and emptied of their energy so they could reload themselves with creative light. There is also two chapels and the fascinating Zodiac of Dendera on the ceiling of one of them. This vault is in fact a newer version of the original located at Louvre Museum in Paris. It represents the sky carried by 4 goddesses (the 4 cardinal points). In the center, we see the 12 zodiacal constellations, the 5 visible planets with a naked eye, Ursa minor and major and the Dragon Star. Around the disk stand the 36 decans, symbol of the 360 days of the Egyptian year. This Zodiac of Dendera is the proof of the advanced knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians in astronomy and stays one of Dendera Temple’s main attractions. One last incredible sight on the temple rooftop is the megalithic roof cover. Why in Horus’s name, did the Egyptians bother to lift dozens of blocks weighing 10 to 70 tons each at a height of 20 meters? An unreal vision which is not mentioned by any guide during visits to Dendera, a place full of mysteries, beauty and spirituality. We cannot wait to take you there!