Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut nestled into an amphitheater of precipitous cliffs, Hatshepsut’s temple looks at once modern in its simplicity and at the same time eternal in its harmony with the site. its stones are clean and bright, located on the west bank of the Luxor Nile, it ranks with the most beautiful buildings in the world.
This funerary temple for the departed Hatshepsut was the place for offering and prayers, every pharaoh who lived long enough during the new kingdom had such a temple. This one is unique in form probably because this sit was special, funerary temples usually are far from royal tombs, but this one is just a hill way the hill above the temple looks down on the valley of the kings.
Queen Hatshepsut planned to connect her tomb in the valley to back of this temple, although the tunnel never was finished, proximity to her tomb, rather than distance, so as not to reveal the toms location, seemed to have influenced the placement and perhaps the design, this one hugs the cliffs in a line.
The pillar design may have inspired the architect senmut, the mountain peak behind Hatshepsut’s temple may have seen as her pyramid, of course, this is all speculation, the fact remains that terraces and ramp design are unique, as is the decoration.
Originally an avenue of sphinxes bearing Hatshepsut’s face led to the temple, one lion remains, the two broad lower terraces were planted as a garden without exotic trees, some brought from the fabled land of the bunt, two stumps, still visible in wire baskets, by the entrance, were Persea trees sacred to ancient Egyptians .near the end of each of the three terraces stood giant statues of Osiris, appropriate for a funerary temple, some of which have been erected.
The wall of the right colonnade on this first terrace is carved with the sporting scenes which harken to similar ones in old kingdom Masatabas, at each end of colonnade is a representation of Hatshepsut in the guise of Osiris.
The figures are still recognizable, though her ward Thothmosis III ordered every representation of Hatshepsut, and the occurrence of her name chiseled out after she came power .the colonnade shows two obelisks towed on a barge by a flotilla of 27 boats from Aswan, later the obelisks were erected in Karnak temple.
A ramp leads to a second terrace and two more colonnades with chapels at either end.the walls of the right colonnade show the story of Hatshepsut’s divine birth, on the square pillars scenes of Hatshepsut (erased ) and Thothmosis III blessed by Amun alternate, on the right end of this colonnade is the sanctuary of Anubis –dog-headed god of mummification. the columns here are lovely fluted one of a type that influenced the later Greek Doric columns.
The colonnade on the left side houses charming scenes of the expedition Hatshepsut sent to the land of punt, you can see the flora, fauna, people and the stilt houses of this fabled place, when the expedition returned, offering were made by Hatshepsut, and by thothmoses||| (whose face is exquisite) at the extreme left chapel for the cow goddess Hathor. the pillars are justly famous .they reproduce a rattle called a sistrum, used in rites for Hathor, the bottom of the pillars corresponds to the handle, near the top are lovely faces of Hathor, above which is a representation of the part housing the rattles.in the sanctuary itself a door opens on the left into another room .senmut wrote his name where it would be covered by this door when anymore opened t to enter.those who came to erase his memory never found it.
The third terraces, unfortunately, is being reconstructed and may not be visited, it contains the holiest chapel dedicated to Amun cut into the mountainside .this was a holy place long after Hatshepsut’s disgrace .on the right is a chapel dedicated to RA, on the left is one dedicated to the women who built this wonderful temple