In the realm of the Pharaohs
A trip is always incomplete without a visit to the market. The market we visited was the famous Khan-e-Khalili. What I witnessed was the scene of an old Egyptian market with small lanes and bylanes. A very interesting place indeed. It had many shops of body oils, scents and old Egyptian stuff. It had the ambience of Alladin’s tales, says Vivek Kapoor
AS the aircraft touched the Cairo international airport, I felt a raw thrill in my body. I had read and heard so much about the Land of the Nile, the pyramids and the beautiful Queen Cleopatra. The idea of exploring this land with such a rich and varied tapestry of history excited me. My maternal uncle and aunt were there to receive us. After hugs and greetings, we left for his tastefully furnished house. The sightseeing started the very next day.
We visited the pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza. Standing at the northern end of Giza plateau, the Great Pyramid of King Cheops is the most massive and also the most famous structure ever built by human beings. Next to it is a huge pit in which is parked the solar boat that carried the mummy of King Cheops to the pyramid. The second pyramid is of King Khafre. This pyramid is smaller than that of the pyramid of King Cheops. It was built smaller by King Khafre to respect his father King Cheops. The smallest of the Giza pyramids is that of Menkaure. King Menkaure died before its completion and it was then completed by his son Shepsekaf. I marvelled at the craftsmanship of the pyramids.
How much labour would
have gone into it. Those were the days of the doctrine of divine
rights of kings. The accidents of birth never had it so good as in the
feudal, ethnic and tribal era. From Shahjahan to Pharaohs, every King
wanted to perpetuate his own myth. Thousands of labourers would have
been employed to complete these works.
As the sun went down, we went to see the sound and light programme organised at the base of the pyramids. Every person there, was dazzled by that sensational programme. It was superb. The inner play of light and sound created a fairyland atmosphere. I had the feeling that I was sitting in the Pharonic era with the Kings and Queens coming and telling the tales of their life. The stunningly beautiful Queen Nefertiti evoked the magnificence of byone days. I was jolted to the real world when the programme was over. All good things came to an end. After that we enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at the Oberoi Mena House, a palace converted into a hotel, right next to the pyramids.
Next on our tourist list was Saqqara and Memphis. We drove down to Saqqara and Memphis. Another interesting structure I saw there was the "Step Pyramid of Saqqara’. They were most elaborate private tombs from the old kingdom. We also saw the Sphinx of Memphis and the famous statue of Ramsess II resting. The next day we visited the Citadel with the famous Mohammed Ali Mosque. It was the first time I had seen a mosque in detail and prayed in it. The silent atmosphere with the Koran being read in the background, made me feel very relaxed.
A trip is always incomplete without a visit to the market. The market we visited was the famous Khan-e-Khalili. What I witnessed was the scene of an old Egyptian market with small lanes and bylanes. A very interesting place indeed. It has many shops of body oils, scents and old Egyptian stuff. It had the ambience of Alladin’s tales.
We were enjoying the hospitality of my aunt and the scenic beauties of Egypt when we realised that it was time to go back. The last day of our stay in this magical land came. We chatted and chatted. My uncle took us for a cruise and dinner on the Nile. The boat was very artistically constructed. But I soon realised there was another beauty I was unaware of. It was the ‘Egyptian belly dancer’.
Her flexible and artistic movements
created a sizzling atmosphere which would bring a dead man alive.
Being my first time, I was quite embarrassed, but soon got over it and
had a lovely time. After an enjoyable night, we proceeded to the
airport. Soon we boarded the plane. With the memories of the pyramids,
belly dancing and other sights and sounds of Egypt still afresh in my
mind, I left ‘The realm of the golden Pharaohs’.