The temple at Kom Ombo is unusual in that it has a double dedication — to both Haroeris and Sobek. Our visit was also unusual in that we had the whole place to ourselves. The temple lies along the Nile, 50 km north of Aswan, and is an obvious stop on the cruise ship route. Looking around at the vacant temple, our guide told us that there are usually at least five ships moored; when we arrived there were none and it wasn’t until later on that just one, almost empty, joined us.
The temple dates from the Ptolemaic dynasty and construction was begun by Ptolemy VI Philometor. The right side is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek, who is identified with the sun as Sobek-Re, here, and the left side to Haroeris, a form of Horus, the falcon-headed god. The temple has twin entrances and sanctuaries, and stands at a bend in the river where crocodiles used to bask, hence the dedication to the crocodile god by ancient Egyptians who believed that by honouring the beasts they would be safe from attacks.
Most of the forecourt has been washed away, there is no roof and some reliefs were defaced by the Copts who used the temple as a sanctuary. Many of the reliefs and very well-preserved and I would love to explain in detail the meaning of each. However, by this point in my trip I was neglecting my note-taking duties and as a result have a bunch of photographs of detailed reliefs but am not confident I know exactly what they all mean. There is a lesson to be learned here, and that lesson is: record everything your tour guide says because you will never remember it all.
I am quite lucky to have local friends on O’ahu, because it means I get to go to places I’d never have known about otherwise.
Mu-Ryang-Sa Buddhist Temple isn’t in any of the guide books that I’ve looked at and it’s quite hidden away–well as much as a brightly-coloured building around 70-foot high can hide. We drove up through Palolo Valley, winding around corners until we could see the roof above the trees. The temple is on a steep hill in a quiet residential area, the residents of which, I later found out, had campaigned to get the temple’s peaked roof lowered by six feet to comply with city planning laws. The temple was previously called Dae Won Sa Temple; it’s new name reflects the result of the rule: Mu-Ryang-Sa means “Broken ridge” in Korean.
Mu-Ryang-Sa was quiet and empty except for us and one lady working there. From her cool air, I think they prefer it that way.