- Location: Located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city of Luxor, Egypt.
- Best time to Visit: During the winter.
- Preferred Timing: 06.00 a.m. to 09.00 p.m. Try to visit it during the dusk.
- Opening Hours October through September: 06.00 a.m. to 09.00 p.m. May through September: 06.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. Ramadan: 06.00 a.m. to 06.30 p.m. AND 08.00 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Entry Fee: £E35 (student £E20)
- How to Reach Air: Luxor International Airport (LXR) is the nearest airport which has regular flights from several European and Middle Eastern destinations. You will also find domestic flights from Cairo regularly which take about 1 hour to reach Luxor. During the winter season, you will also find direct charter flights from various destinations in Europe including London Gatwick. From airport, take a taxi to reach your hotel. Rail: You can reach Luxor from Ramesses Station in Cairo by trains. You will find Air-conditioned express train that may cost about £E65 in 1st class, and £E40 in 2nd class. Also available are overnight air-conditioned express trains, overnight deluxe sleeper trains and a few slow trains as well. You can arrange for tickets from most of the travel agents. Else you can also purchase tickets directly from the Ramesses Station. It is better to purchase tickets in advance. Bus: You can also reach Luxor Temple by bus from most major cities of Egypt.
- Camera Charge: £E20
- Nearest Airport: Luxor International Airport (LXR)
- Nearest Rail Station: Luxor (El-Mahata Square)
As you approach the Luxor temple, you can see the empty pedestal beside one of the two colossal statues of Ramses II, carved out of a single block of granite stone. Something obviously seems missing across the towering obelisk that stands just opposite to it. You are right, something indeed is missing, and to solve this jig-saw puzzle, you have to travel half the world across to the biggest public square in Paris. Yes, you have guessed it! The obelisk that adorns Place de la Concord was originally a part of the Luxor Temple, and was gifted by the King of Egypt to the French king, in exchange of a mechanical clock for his mosque! The other obelisk is, of course, very much there, along with two monumental seating statues of Ramses II carved out of a single granite block, preparing you in advance for the grandeur you can expect inside.
History of the Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple, also known as The Temple of Luxor, is one of the most beautiful and popular temples in Egypt, located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city of Luxor. Founded in 1400 BC, the Luxor Temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad Amun-Re, his wife Mut, and his son Khonsu. Known as ipet rsyt, which means “Harem of the South”, Luxor Temple was built during the New Kingdom, largely by Amenhotep III and Ramesses II. The temple was the center of Opet Festival where a cult statue of Amun along with Mut was marched down the Nile from Karnak Temple, another popular temple of the region. The Luxor Temple has also some other groups of divinities including Iunet, Hathor, and Atum.
Visiting the Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple is a huge complex with several 70 yards long pylons, first of which is more than 70 feet high with massive statues and a number of obelisks. There are a number of open areas inside the temple complex, one of which, once used for different forms of worship, is currently empty. The shrine of Alexander, a Roman sanctuary, and an Islamic shrine to a holy man were included later.
Enter the Luxor Temple from the north. The road, known as Sacred Way or Avenue of Sphinxes will take you through the main entrance of the temple into a land of architectural brilliance. Though the main entrance was originally flanked by six colossal statues of Ramesses, four seated and two standing, only the seated statues exist presently. The 24-meter high First Pylon, built by Ramesses II is decorated with scenes of his military triumphs. Later pharaohs also scripted their victories there. Walk past the pylon gateways to enter into a peristyle courtyard, built by Pamesses II at an oblique angle to the rest of the temple in order to accommodate three pre-existing barque shrines in the northwest corner. Visit the Abu Haggag Mosque built atop the columns of this courtyard.
Processional colonnade built by Amenhotep III is a 100-meter corridor flanked by 14 papyrus-capital columns. Watch the Friezes on the wall that showcase the stages in the Opet Festival. You will find the best preserved columns on the eastern side of the Luxor Temple. On the southern side, you will find 32-column hypostyle court leading into the inner sanctums of the temple.
The inner sanctums, which starts with a dark antechamber, is an area which served as a chapel in Roman times where local Christians were given the final opportunity to renounce their faith. Also visit the Barque Shrine and Birth Shrine. In 1989, a collection of 26 New Kingdom statues were also found under the floor of the inner sanctum area.
Accommodation and Dining at Luxor
There are a large number of hotels in Luxor that cater to visitors with all ranges of budget. Isis Hotel, Iberotel Hotel, Sheraton Luxor and the Queens Valley Hotel are some of the most luxury hotels at Luxor. There are a number of budget hotels as well, like Venus Hotel, Lotus Hotel, Little Garden Hotel, Mara Haouse and Sherief Hotel.
All luxury hotels have wonderful dining areas and restaurants. You will find your favorite cuisine, be it Continental, Chinese or Oriental in the many restaurants of Luxor. However, do not forget to check out some of the local delicacies.
Related Links :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz9dVI3I9Oo: For a wonderful guided tour to the Temple of Luxor, along with views of the great monument and colossal statues of the site, watch this video!
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=LOZH6aeOZYo: Another great view of the great architectural and artistic achievements of the ancient Egyptian kings. To get a feel of the splendor of ancient Thebes, now Luxor, watch this video!
http://www.travelblog.org/Africa/Egypt/Upper-Egypt/Luxor/blog-224522.html: For great first hand tourist information on a visit to the Luxor Temple and other sightseeing places of this ancient city, click on this link!