Petra, Jordan – Is it an ancient Shiva Temple complex?
By Bibhu Dev Misra (IIT, IIM)
Bibhu Dev Misra is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management and has been working as an Information Technology consultant for more than 12 years, for various organizations across the world. He is also an independent researcher and writer on topics related to ancient civilizations, myths, symbols, religion and spirituality and has travelled to many places of historical, religious and architectural importance. His articles have appeared in various internet websites and magazines. He can be contacted at email@example.com and via his personal blog: http://bibhudev.blogspot.com
More articles by Bibhu Dev Misra:
Evolution by Catastrophe: Does it indicate Intelligent Design?, 5 May 2011
The Opet Festival of Ancient Egypt: Has it been derived from the Jagannatha Rathyatra of Puri, India?, 15 April 2011
A Day and Night of Brahma: The Evidence from Fossil Records, 15 April 2011
Petra, the ‘rose
red city, half as old as time’, located in modern day
Jordan, is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic archaeological sites
of the world. In a recently conducted Internet poll, it was voted by
internet users as one of the ‘seven wonders of the modern
world’. In this abandoned city, which lies hidden behind
impenetrable mountains and gorges, magnificent rock-cut temples and
palaces have been carved into towering cliffs of red and orange
sandstone. The most famous of these structures is the ‘Al
Khasneh’ (or the ‘Treasury’), which was made famous
in an Indiana Jones film.
Historians tell us that
sometime during the 6th – 4th centuries
BC, the Nabataeans, a nomadic tribe from north-western Arabia,
entered the region of Petra, and established their cultural,
commercial and ceremonial center at Petra. Petra was located
strategically at the intersection of the overland Silk Route
which connected India and China with Egypt and the Hellenistic world,
and the Incense Route from Arabia to Damascus.
It soon developed into a thriving commercial center. Sometime during
the 3rd century BC, the Nabataeans began to decorate their
capital city with splendid rock-cut temples and buildings. Their
economic prosperity and architectural achievements continued unabated
even after they came under the control of the Roman Empire in 106 CE.
The neglect and decline of Petra started soon after Emperor
Constantine declared Christianity as the official religion of the
Roman Empire in 324 CE. A series of earthquakes crippled the region
in the 7th – 8th centuries and Petra
disappeared from the map of the known world, only to be rediscovered
centuries later in 1812, by a Swiss explorer named Johann Burckhardt.
Fig 1: The
Khasneh or Treasury