Egypt – The Forest Of Columns IN Karnak

UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 2020

The Hypostyle hall in the Karnak temple in Luxor, covers an area of more than 55,000 sq ft. andis filled with 134 gigantic sandstone columns arranged in 16 rows, with an average diameter of nearly 10 feet!

12 in the central aisle with open papyrus capitals, once supported a raised 82 feet ceiling and are now around 70 feet high. The rest (61 on either side) have closed papyrus bud capitals and were meant to support two sloping 50 feet high roofs and stand 34 feet tall.

Now consider the timeline – built by Seti I and his son Ramesses II between 1294 – 1213 BC!! Mind boggling? You bet. The Pyramids are older still, by some 1400 years!


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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

73 thoughts on “Egypt – The Forest Of Columns IN Karnak

  1. Wow truly amazing solid post Madhu ,Thanks for sharing this photographs πŸ™‚

  2. Great pictures of these impressive columns you wish you could travel back in time to see how they did. Although they made use of slaves, it is incredible to be built so long ago.

    1. The slave theory is disputed even with regard to the building of the Pyramids Ronnie. But just visualising a concept of these proportions seems ambitious today! They were master builders! Thanks for the visit and comment.

  3. Wow. I can only imagine the efforts that have gone into building them. Most of us engineers are exhausted by the time one 10′ floor is done, and then the cycle begins all over again. This is just.. amazing..

    1. Tell me about it. I wouldn’t be on a sabbatical if labour here would just read and follow drawings, that I would have spent days perfecting to a T! And alignment, of anything, is the last thing on their minds! Sorry, thought I was done with those rants πŸ™‚ Appreciate the visit and comment Felix.

  4. wow stunning shots Madhu….huge structures…i would really love to know more about them..will find out..this post is so inspiring…words are already dancing in my mind…will write something..
    beautiful share
    hugs n love πŸ™‚

    1. Look forward to reading about goblins popping out of those columns or something equally fantastic! your imagination knows no bounds Soma πŸ™‚ Thanks for the comment.

  5. I have never traveled there, yet I can feel the immensity through these photos. SOLID testimony to a place and time of historical significance. Good choice, Madhu.

    1. And the massive egos of the mighty πŸ™‚ You might be interested in my post on Ramesse II. (Just click on his image on the sidebar) Thanks Lynne.

    1. Thanks Suzanne. Yes these were truly amazing. Have more images of the rest of the temple that i shall post sometime soon, but this hall is the most impressive part.

  6. Beautiful photos; and the timeline is indeed mind boggling! It is so hard to comprehend the construction of things like this with the then “primitive” tools. Incredible!

    1. Isn’t it Angeline? We were told they filled up the hall with sand to reach the top and then worked the carved details from the top down. But how they got these solid pillars, even without the base and capitals, to stand up in the first place is something I did not quite comprehend! Thanks for your comment

  7. Absolutely stunning photos Madhu! This area of the world is high on my list to see. Thank you so much for letting me live it vicariously through you! And yes, it is mind-boggling to think of architecture still standing for our viewing pleasure so long before the birth of Christ.

    1. Brings us down to earth when we get all puffed about our design skills! Their furniture and jewellery is even more mind boggling. My dear cynical husband kept repeating “this can’t be an original” πŸ™‚

    1. The political situation is unfortunate and must hit their tourist industry hard. Hope it gets sorted out soon. Thank you for the visit and comment πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Nadhu…nice to connect with you through Jake’s Sunday Post! Your photos are amazing…as is the structure you photographed…yes, it is mind-boggling to think about their durability and constancy…as Frizztext said, hopefully for many more thousands of years. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Vivian, nice to meet you too πŸ™‚ Appreciate your visit and the kind words. Thank you and hope to see you around.

    1. She does doesn’t she? We are likely adding scale to hers πŸ™‚ It was wonderful visiting Karnak late evening, for the light and the lesser crowds. Thanks for the comment.

    1. Means a lot coming from you Patti! We do consider ourselves fortunate to have been able to experience these wonders. Thank you for stopping by to comment. Hope to see you around πŸ™‚

  9. It truly is remarkable. We think that we are so advanced, sometimes I am not so sure. By the way…thanks for introducing me to yet another WordPress Challenge.

  10. So incredibly arresting! For sure I’d like to go back in the past and witness how they did all of that! Are all of those images documented in some formal way for study? I could spend a year there just admiring and studying what’s there! Thanks so much for sharing.
    Your ‘food’ post was amazing as well!
    z

    1. I could too! And immerse myself in the stories! I was almost an Egyptologist by the time i returned πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind words Z

    1. Thanks Gilly, I find these more interesting too. We went at dusk and the lighting is spectacular, and crowds thinner.

    1. I hope not Cardinal. They are basically a simple, gracious people that deserve their freedom. This post wasn’t about the Pyramids by the way πŸ™‚

  11. Absolutely wonderful pictures. You are a really wonderful photographer Madhu, I hope I am not saying this to you for the first time. πŸ™‚

  12. Wow, this is amazing! You visit some very interesting and cool places.
    Have the carvings in the columns been translated/deciphered? It would be interesting to learn their meaning.

    1. Yes of course….the discovery of the Roseta Stone with inscriptions in three scripts including Greek was the key to unlocking the language and secrets of Egypt! Most of the inscriptions are the cartouches (names) of the Pharaohs and about their individual exploits. Thanks for the interest Fergiemoto πŸ™‚

  13. I think I can fathom how difficult it would have been to capture these images, the way you had. Kudos! Those columns — telling a hundred stories have always fascinated me. Your story of a story is well told, Madhu.

  14. Wonderful photos, Madhu – capturing their massive dimensions, and the gorgeous bas relief carving. Real solid, girl – a perfect interpretation! I’m so glad to see them – all my Egypt slides turned purple and although I’ve adjusted them so I can recognise what I was trying to capture – they’re unusable. Brava!

    1. What a pity that your Egypt slides are unusable! I have lost some of my Spain and Greece photos, although i have managed to salvage a few from some prints. Delighted that you liked my interpretation of solid πŸ™‚

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