El-deir-el-Bahari means ” The northern Monastery ” . It refers to the Christian monastery that was erected in this site in the 7th century . This temple dates back to the beginning of the new Kingdom , and was built by Hatschpsut .
To appreciate the temple of El-deir-elBahari , one must know about its builder Queen Hatschpsut . Hatschpsut was a daughter of Thutmosis I , After the death of her father Thutmosis II married her , and by so doing he legalized his accession to the throne . Thutmosis had two legitimate daughter with Queen Hatschpsut and an illegitimate son called Thutmosis III , Thutmosis married one of his half sisters and thus could legally success his father on the throne . But while he was still young , his stepmother and mother in low ,Hatschpsut declared herself coregent with him .
After her death , her stepson , Thutmosis III mutilated her figures and inscriptions in her funerary temple and broke her statues , Hatschpsut cut two tombs , but her body was never found .
The temple was dedicated to Amun and the cult of the queen . It occupies a part of the courtyard of an 11th Dynasty temple . The temple consists of three terraces rising one above the other from the ground level .They are connected to each other by ramps , which divided the whole into a northern half to the right and a southern half to the left . At the western side of each terrace is a raised colonnade . An avenue of sphinxes used to lead to the temple . It is now almost totally destroyed . In front of the gate stood two trees , the stumps of which still remain .
The first court and The Tower Terrace …..
The court lies beyond the gate . Its western end is occupied by a colonnade of XXX square pillars in the front and sixteen sided-pillars in the back . The colonnade is divided into two sections by a ramp leading to the third terrace . Each section contains 22 Pillars . The northern section of the middle terrace colonnade is known as the Birth colonnade because the inscriptions on its wall refer to the divine birth of Queen Hatschpsut .
The southern section is called the Punt colonnade on the wall of this colonnade are the famous scenes of trading expedition sent by Hatschpsut to punt . The expedition returned with gold , ebony , ivory tusk ,apes , monkeys , gray hound and leopards oxen , giraffes , panther skins, and slaves plants and fruits and myrrh and incense .
The Chapel of Hathor ………..
I lies south to the Punt colonnade . Its innermost chamber are preceded by two carved colonnades ” now in ruins” . The first of these had sixteen sided columns and square pillars with Hathor capitals . The second had round Hathor columns “three of them are still intact ” and also sixteen sided columns . Its walls are carved with various scenes representing King Thutmosis III and Queen Hatschpsut separately in the presence of Hathor .
The Chapel of Anubis ……………..
Its lies north to the Birth Colonnade , corresponding to the Chapel of Hathor at the end of the southern colonnade . This Chapel is preceded by a vestibule with twelve sixteen-sided. columns . Its walls are carved with colored reliefs representing the Queen ” her figure and name now erased ” offering to Amun and Anubis . At the back of the vestibule are three steos leading to the inner chapel of Anubis . The colored bas-reliefs on the walls represent the Queen before various gods .
The Third Terrace ………..
Further up the ramp lies the upper court , the third terrace . A colonnade consisting of two rows is found along the face of this court on the upper level . The first row contained 22 mummy-formed statues of Hatschpsut which were destroyed by her stepson Thutmosis III . The other row had the same number of sixteen-sides columns . A cross the hall is a set of wall niches surrounding the door to the sanctuary . In the northeast corner of the hall is a door leading to the altar court where a limestone altar is placed . In the southern wall of the hall is a doorway leading to some chambers .
The Sanctuary ……..
The granite gate in the middle of the upper terrace leads to a sanctuary . It consists of three chambers , each in side the other . They are hew in rocks of the cliff . The first two chambers have vaulted ceilings and wall niches in which statues of the Queen once stood . The third small chamber was added in the reign of Ptolemy VII . It was dedicated to Emhotep , the famous architect who built the stepped-pyramid in Saqqara . In the Valley south of El-deir -el-bahari , there is a hidden place in which the great collection of royal mummies was placed until it was discovered in 1881.
A few yards to the north of the lower court of Hatschpsut temple was the great XXXXX in which 163 coffins of priests and priestesses of Amun wee found in 1891 .