Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kohunlich - Mahahual, Mexico

I’m excited to join up again this month with fellow blogger Fiona Ryan's  A-Z Guidebook Travel Linkup over at Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures. This travel tale link-up goes from April 15th - April 22th, this time travels with the letter "K".

"K" is for Kohunlich, Mexico

A few years back my parents gave me a wonderful present, a trip I had been wanting to make for a very long time...a trip to see the Mayan pyramids. I went with my Dad and Aunt on a cruise which made stops at Cozumel and Mahahual. I was particularly excited to see The Temple of the Masks at Kohunlich, finally when the ship came in to port the three of us waited to be called for the tour. After waiting for an hour we found out they left without us, without an announcement or anything! I was fuming, they offered Dad a refund, but that wasn't going to be enough my Aunt and I went into "Organizer-mode." We managed to find a guy (who just so happened to be from NJ) who'd rent us a jeep and who gave us very brief directions and a hand drawn map on how to get to the site. So we crammed ourselves in, and off we went, down the back roads, past armed federales, sugar cane trucks, and small Mayan villages in search of Kohunlich. Finally after a few wrong turns, we made it to where the cohune palms grow and it was as breath taking as I imagined. Since it's well off the beaten path we were the only ones there. We had 3 hours to explore the very well preserved pyramids, courts, steles, and temples. 

The city was elaborately planned and engineered about 250 to 600 AD, with raised platforms and pyramids, courts and plazas surrounded with palace platforms, all laid out to channel rainwater into a system of cisterns and an enormous reservoir, a marvel of civil engineering. The visual masterpiece is 'The Temple of the Masks' which was built around 500 A.D. and is one of the oldest structures. Protected by the Terminal Classic style construction, and now palm thatched roofs, 5 of the original 8 masks have been preserved beautifully; intricately carved facial details and the paints used to color them still clearly visible. The temple is dedicated to the Yucatan Mayan Sun God, Kinich Ahau (K-inich Ajaw). He is often depicted as a middle-aged man with square eyes with stars in them. It's interesting to note that all the masks in the temple face west so that the sun sets directly on them. Legends say that Kinich Ahau travels down into the dangerous dark underworld of Xibalba (Shebal-ba) every night before rising the next morning. The way the masks are situated could be retelling his dangerous nightly journey, in hopes that he continues to make it and we continue to see the sun rise.



For more Letter "K" travel stories, visit A-Z Guidebook Linkup. Stay tuned next month for more travel, centering around the Letter "L"!
TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

8 comments:

  1. what a wonderful story emily. and how lucky that you got there after all. i am just wondering where the rest of the tourists were, if there was meant to be a tour that day? what a great photo. i would love to get there one day.

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    1. Thanks Sherry! Yes, we definitely were lucky and had even more of an adventure out of it! The tour group(27) left 2 hours before we got started and was also going to make a stop in a Mayan craft village after the site, so I think we may have just missed them.

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  2. There's always a thrill of seeing something like this on our travels isn't there?! Oh the mystery!

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    1. Hi Annette, Yes definitely, it's a truly humbling experience to walk/crawl up those temple stairs! It's an thrilling experience that stays with you forever. :)

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  3. Wow! Sounds like a thrilling adventure and definitely makes for a good story! :)

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    1. Thanks Joy! It was wonderful, I honestly would love to go back and wander the grounds for another 3 hours! :)

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  4. Not your ordinary vacation day thanks to you and your Aunt's determination! The incredible sculpture looks very serious! It's so well preserved. I can't imagine the site is not more well known.

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  5. Of course, I have never been to Mexico, let alone heard of Kohunlich so found this very interesting. I loved your story of going into overdrive to make sure you got to your destination and then to be rewarded by having it all to yourself. These are the kind of tales that travellers love!

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