Kom Ombo Temple in Upper Egypt Worshipped Two Gods

PHOTO: Kom Ombo Temple in Upper Egypt Was Dedicated to Two Gods

Kom Ombo Temple, near Aswan in Upper Egypt, is the only temple in Egypt dedicated to two separate gods

Kom Ombo Temple may be the most unique temple in Egypt, as it is the only one dedicated to two gods. Beyond the double entry are two separate but connected Hypostyle halls where reliefs of the gods have been carved into massive sandstone columns. The falcon-headed god Horus commands on the left side, while the right side is the domain of the crocodile god, Sobek. Beyond the entry hall, symmetrical sanctuaries, halls, and courts lie on either side of the center line, equal in everything but the deity they worship.

Massive carved reliefs are found throughout Kom Ombo Temple. On Horus’ side, Tut, the god of writing, is easily identifiable by his Ibis head. Goddess Hatur is shown wearing a headdress with two cow horns bracketing the sun. Goddess Sekhner has the head of a lion and another unidentified god is shown with a headdress of two cobras. But most magnificent are the two carved reliefs of Horus, one wearing a single crown and a later one depicting him wearing the double crown of upper and lower Egypt.

The Sobek side features carvings of the crocodile god. Until recent times, giant crocodiles infested the banks of the Upper Nile. They attacked and devoured humans as well as animals, thus they were feared and worshiped. A deep well on the site originally held a captive crocodile, which was fed and cared for until it died of natural causes. Upon its demise, the crocodile was mummified and prepared for ritual burial. These crocodile graves are still being discovered and a collection of their mummified carcasses are on display in a museum next to the temple.

Curiously, Sobek’s side of the temple also features a carving of an agricultural calendar that depicts 360 days, 12 months of 30 days each, 36 weeks of 10 days each, and three seasons (of four months each: seeding, harvesting, and Nile flood). The five missing days were set aside for festival. On the rear wall is another relief that is found in no other Egyptian temple. It depicts surgical instruments: sponges, suction cups, a stethoscope, and knives, because the Kom Ombo Temple was also a center for medicine and healing.

Disclosure: My Nile River Cruise was partially hosted by Nour El Nil Cruises. However, the receipt and acceptance of complimentary items or services will never influence the content, topics, or posts in this blog. I write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

2 Comments on “PHOTO: Kom Ombo Temple in Upper Egypt Was Dedicated to Two Gods

    • It was an incredible journey up the Nile, Margie! You might consider it – very safe, good prices now because there are no tourists.

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