Egypt is one of those places whose itinerary is known even to people who have never been to the country or even researched about its ‘top tourist spots’. True, the place is a tourist magnet and for all the right reasons. But, for each one of those who feel lost amongst the crowd and would rather find their own way through Egypt (even though the Pyramids are a given), this is an alternate guide for you so that you can explore the relatively unexplored and boast of an Egyptian adventure, somewhat like a modern exploration of the ancient. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Enjoy a Tanoura Night

When in Cairo, look up Wekalet El Ghouri ‘Ghouri Palace’ near Al Hussein mosque for their tanoura dancing (or Sufi Whirling). The dancers dance in a style invented by the sufis, wearing colourful skirts whose colours signify a Sufi representation. There are two shows each week at El Ghouri. The experience is hypnotic and will leave you suspended in a state of trance for a long time after the show.

2. Dolphin-Watching at Marsa Alam

On the Egyptian Red Sea Coast is Marsa Alam where the Samadai Reef, a horse-shoe shaped protected from boats, is located. These safe, shallow bays are where you can dive into the habitat of dolphins and sea turtles without disturbing them. A venture of responsible travel in Egypt, the companies run a superbly supervised swim where you will approach the dolphins in a way that you communicate with them rather than intruding them.

3. Abu Simbel Temples

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. داخل معبد بزرگ رامسس دوم ، ابو سیمبل Inside The Great Temple of Ramesses II, Abu Simbel ====================== Photo by: @egyptianpharaoh ====================== Tag your pictures with #ancient_iran_and_world معبد تخته سنگی غول آسای رامسس دوم ( ابوسمیبل )، آخرین فرعون بزرگ و جنگاور مصر، از بزرگترین و باشکوه ترین معابد #مصر باستان به شمار می آید. معبد ابو سمیبل بر ساحل چپ رود نیل ساخته شده است، رامسس که از پیکارهای بسیارش برای زنده کردن امپراتوری مصر بر خود می بالید، با قراردادن چهار تندیس شبیه سازی شده غول آسای خودش در نمای معبد، به ستایش از عظمت خویش پرداخت و در آن اغراق کرد. گویا گرایش به ساختمانها و پیکره های غول آسا از مختصات هنر بیش را ندارند؛ زیرا هرگونه ظریفکاری فدای بزرگتر کردن اندازه ها شده است. بزرگی مقیاسها در داخل معبد نیز به اجرا درآمده است پیکره های غول آسای پادشاه که به قالب ستون تراشیده شده اند، در دو سوی دالان باریک معبد رو به یکدیگر ایستاده اند و جسامت اغراق آمیزشان ظاهراً با فضای معماری آن تناسب دارد. ستونها نگه داشته شده اند (یعنی از دل صخره های موجود تراشیده شده اند) و هیچ نقشی در تحمل فشار سقف ندارند و از این لحاظ مشابه ستونهای مقابر بنی حسن هستند.

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When the Aswan dam was built and Lake Nasser flooded, it took with it the Abu Simbel Temples, which were left completely dismantled. But, now it is carved on the rocks and tunneled into the hillside where people gather on the October 22 and February every year to watch the sun rise and illuminate all three of the four statues barring Ptah, the God of Darkness. You may have missed February but October could still be on the cards. #justsaying

4. Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen

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#egypt #cairo #cityofdead

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Also known as the City of Dead, Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen is one of the world’s largest cemeteries. This Christian and Muslim burial ground is no ordinary graveyard for the tombs here are extravagant and ornate, some even dating back to the 7th century, and many look like small houses! Particularly alluring at sunrise and sunset, its unpaved streets and a very ambient surrounding are worth witnessing.

5. Aswan

Situated along the banks of the majestic Nile, Aswan is the quieter alternative to its capital Cairo. Spend a few days away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo here at Aswan to dig deep into the Egyptian culture, architecture, history and cuisine. The slow and laid-back pace Aswan, the sunniest city of Egypt, is worth exploring through long walks in the city.

Related: Here’s Why We Recommend Exploring Egypt with the Oberoi Hotels & Resorts