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The Ancient Egyptians built Abu Simbel in the 13th century BCE on the Western bank of Lake Nasser in Nubia.

It was relocated over 200 metres above the initial site in 1964-1968 because of the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The main temple was dedicated to the sun gods Amun-Ra and Ra-Horakhty. It has statues of the Egyptian king Ramses II and his family and paintings depicting his victory in the Battle of Qadesh. The smaller secondary temple was dedicated to Nefertari, Ramses’ Queen, and used to worship the Goddess Hathor. The opening of the main temple was built and positioned in such a way that, on February 22 and October 22, the morning sun rays would shine through the temple corridors to the inner sanctuary, illuminating the statues of the Gods on the back of the wall. The Statue of Ptah, the god of the Underworld, is the only one of the statues that the light does not reach. The Maya peoples built El Castillo somewhere between 9th and 12th century BCE in Chichén Itzá, in south central Yucatán State in Mexico. It is a step-pyramid that served as a temple to the god Kukulkan, a feathered serpent.

The building has 4 sides with 91 steps and a temple structure giving a final, top step which combined gives 365 steps, equal to the number of days in the year. At the base of the Northern stairs there are two plumed serpent heads. During the autumn and spring equinoxes the afternoon sun casts a shadow of the steps along the sides of the Northern Balustrade, these shadows align with the snake heads to give the appearance of a body, a feathered serpent crawling down the side of the pyramid.  Another example of a building designed to work with light is the Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib, a Sikh temple located in Amritsar in India. Built at the site of a small lake, frequented by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, the temple has four doors, to represent the idea that anyone can enter, and is surrounded by a large pool of water.

Work started on the temple in 1604 and took over 20 years to build. The marble temple is gold plated, this design works with the light. Through the day the golden hues are reflected into the waters of the sacred pool, a reflection of the shrine, which holds different meanings and evokes different emotions for those who see it.

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