It's not a fictitious legend or a camera trick from a Hollywood movie. It's the Sun Festival at Abu Simbel Temple that nestles in darkness all round the year. The temple is angled in such a way that only twice a year during the months of February and October, on the birth anniversary and coronation of emperor Ramses II, at the break of dawn, natural sunlight streams into the complex and throws light on him and the Sun God’s seated besides illuminating the brilliant architecture of the sanctum Santorum.
Who doesn't get invited to this party? The answer is Ptah, the God of Darkness whose statue continues to be deprived of the light of day (perhaps best suited to his designation). But the rest can come and enjoy being a spectator to this marvellous sight.
Celebrations during Sun Festival
People gather around the temple during this time to see sunrise and to meditate. After taking a good look at the statues, you can enjoy the dance and singing shows arranged by locals. The people here put up a great celebration to mark this event. Don’t miss enjoying some local cuisine on your platter, as the food is quite delicious too.
History of Abu Simbel
Out of several buildings King Ramses II built, Abu Simbel temple is considered the most impressive one. The Sun Temple, carved into the sandstone cliffs, is situated along the bank of Nile River since 1250 BC in southern Egypt. The temple is famous for its four 65-foot tall statue of the seated Ramses. It is actually two temples - one for Ramses and one for queen Nefertiti. The temple is known for its extraordinary grandeur and beauty.
It was unknown to the European world until Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt found it in 1812. In 1964, the conservation efforts to preserve the temple from rising waters of soon-to be built High Aswan Dam began. In order to preserve the temple, entire site was very carefully cut into 2,000 large blocks of 30 tons, dismantled and was carried 65 m higher and 200 m back from the river and reassembled.