Sakkara and Darshur

Life has become a lot more relaxed now.  We delivered all our deliverables day before and therefore we have a few days break before we do our final presentations in the weeks ahead.

So today being a weekend (Friday and Saturday is the weekend here) – I went to see the Pyramids of Sakkara and Darshur.  These pyramids are the earliest pyramids of Egypt.  The very first pyramid built was of Pharoah Zoser in Sakkara.  It is a stone pyramid built much like the one in South America by the Mayas. 

Later the art of constructing these pyramids was refined and the next evolution was the bent pyramid of Darshur – about 20 kms from Sakkara.

This pyramid was originally started with 54 deg angle.  But later it was realised that the structure would be unstable and hence it was built from the mid point on at 43 deg angle.  Here is the picture:

Close to the Darshur bent pyramid is the Red Pyramid (it wasn’t really red).  Both the bent pyramid and the red pyramid were built by the pharoah Snofru.  He totally built 3 pyramids in his lifetime.  He must have been immensely wealthy to be able to do that.  The other remarkable thing about the Bent Pyramid is that its limestone casing is still intact – while that of almost all pyramids has vanished.  Now I have mentioned about this limestone casing earlier.  The way the pyramids were built is that the core was built with hardrock by arranging it one on top of the other.  After this is completed – the whole pyramid is covered by limestone to give a smooth finish to the whole thing.  The most famous  – pyramids of Giza initially had them.  But around the 1200 AD – a lot of the common people started cutting these limestone casing stones to use them for their own house construction!!!!

The other thing is that while the internal core rock comes all the way from Aswan (about 800 kms along the Nile) – the limestone comes from another place.  The way the pyramids were built is that these huge rocks would be quarried and be put in a boat on the nile river.  When the Nile would flood once a year – these boats would reach the very base of the pyramids construction site.  There the rocks would be offloaded and construction continued.  Thus it would take 10 to 30 years for the construction to complete. 

Picture of the red pyramid is here below:

And the other remarkable thing is that I went into the Pyramid.  It was like another childhood dream come true for me.  Getting into it is a bit difficult – and the innards are pretty unremarkable.  The only thing worth noting is that the way these chambers were constructed were to prevent any thieves from getting into the treasure chambers.  But neverthless – it was great.  See all the pics in my picasa album:

Egypt Saqqara and Darshur

Before I signoff I would also like to mention about Imhotep.  He was the chief architect of Pharoah Zoser.  He was the architect of the very first Pyramid of Zoser in  Sakkara (the step one).  For almost three thousand after his time he continued to be revered by the people of Egypt – as a mystic saint, visionary, supreme scientist, son of God etc. etc.  Just imagine – a person revered for 3000 years after his death.  Maybe Ramses II was another who got equal awe and respect by the Egyptian people.  I went to the Museum of Imhotep in Saqqara.  Here again I discovered that snakes had a key role in the iconography of very ancient egyptians.  By very ancient I mean – the most olden Egyptians and not the later Egyptian pharaoh culture.  The pharaoh culture itself evolved remarkably over 3000 years until its demise around the time of Christ.  Snakes were part in the earlier part of this 3000 years.  Some of them are so similar to our ‘Naagara kallu’ and the snake icon which we represent on our Garuda Gambas.  Check these pics – Appa Nagappa!!!!

and this one:

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