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.
It was the prospect of losing Abu Simbel to Lake Nasser that impelled UNESCO to organize the salvage of Nubian monuments in the 1960s. Watch the video to see how it’s moved safely.