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The Opet Festival of Ancient Egypt: Has it been derived from the Jagannatha Rathyatra of Puri, India? (cont.)
By Bibhu Dev Misra (IIT, IIM)

Interestingly, the people of Egypt themselves claimed to have come from a land called ‘Puanit’ (corrupted to ‘Punt’) located on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Punt can be reached leading off the Red Sea, in a south-east direction, and is described by the scholar Dr. Adolf Erman as ‘a distant country washed by the great seas, full of valleys, incense, balsum, precious metals and stones; rich in animals, cheetahs, panthers, dog-headed apes and long tailed monkeys, winged creatures with strange feathers to fly up to the boughs of wonderful trees, especially the incense tree and the coconut trees.’ Col. Henry Steel Olcott, a former president of the Theosophical Society, explained in the March, 1881 edition of The Theosophist that, “by the pictorial hieroglyphic inscription found on the walls of the temple of the Queen Haslitop (Hatshepsut) at Der-el-babri, we see that this Punt can be no other than India. For many ages the Egyptians traded with their old homes, and the reference here made by them to the names of the Princes of Punt and its fauna and flora, especially the nomenclature of various precious woods to be found but in India, leave us scarcely room for the smallest doubt that the old civilization of Egypt is the direct outcome of that the older India."[3]. The expedition of Hatshepsut to the land of Punt was done primarily with the objective of acquiring incense and a number of exotic goods, which she dedicated to Amun, the presiding diety of Thebes. Does that not indicate that ‘Punt’ and ‘Amun’ may somehow be connected? Is it possible that Hatshepsut felt that by bringing these items from the land of her forefathers, and from the place where Amun himself had originated, she would be performing a great service to her ‘father’, Amun, and thereby acquire his blessings.

Many questions are raised here. If Punt is India, then when did the ancient Egyptians migrate to the shores of the Nile from Punt? If we assume that the migration took place sometime around 3000 BC, at the beginning of the ‘Kali Yuga’, then who built the Giza Pyamids? Since the Pyramid complex at Giza has now been dated to around 10,500 BC (Hancock and Bauval), and since this magnificent pyramid complex is entirely devoid of any hieroglyphic engravings or inscriptions, which is very unlike the Egyptian pysche, it raises the question whether the Giza Pyramid complex was built by the ancient Egyptians or by others before them. Is it possible that was it built by a ‘race of giants’ who built similar megalithic structures around the world, including many of them in Mesoamerica? Maybe the arrival of the ancient Egyptians to the shores of the Nile from the distant Punt displaced this ‘race of giants’ and a new civilization was initiated? Whatever be the truth about ancient Egypt, it is clear that we are barely scratching the surface of it in the present times.

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  1. The Theosophist, March 1881, p. 123 [back to text]

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