Palenque Ruins, Chiapas, Mexico
Quite a shock to me how the Mexicans have done up their part of the Mayan world, very touristy and very tacky. Outside at the entrance were tons of mexicans offering themselves as your tour guide for us$60. There were souvenir stalls right inside the mayan site trying to sell you their mayan inspired craft wares, quite sacrilegeious if you ask me. As with all their tourist sites, it only opens at 8am to 4pm, by this time it gets way too hot to walk around, the site was bare and there are hardly any trees sheltering the place. The tourists came in droves, flooding the whole place. It was the Mexican school holidays with many families coming all the way from the major big Mexican cities and noisy kids on their school trips.
Templo de las Inscripciones, the tallest building in the site.
Templo de las Inscripcions, image taken from el Palacio. It was so sweltering hot while I was here, I had to hide in the Palacio complex to recover from the heat.
Typical pyramidal structure of this mayan era. There were many similar like pyramids in the site. Top of the structure is the foliated cross design typical of Palenque.
Grupo Norte. It was like Mayan temple street aligned with stretches of temples. This image was taken from Templo del Conde where Count de Waldeck lived for a few years. This eccentric world traveller and explorer lived here for 13 years, mediating and practising his own version of the lost Altantic spirituality which eventually became the popular new age Mayanism belief. He was living here with his native mistress.
On the side note, Palenque is also the place where the Western travellers come in search of psychotropic mushrooms vendors for their psychedelic induced experiences.
Yaxha Ruins, Peten State, Guatemala
Yaxha is huge, with many complexes, most still covered in mounts. It is said that this is the Las Vegas/New York or Megapolis of its time. Many came as traders or visitors. A pity I could only spend 2 odd hours here as I was on a guided tour, it took 2 hours to get here. I had an informative guide who gave details of the place and a little on how the mayans lived as well as his own theories. Coming here is challenging. You would need to arrange for private transportation bring you to this remote place.
The highest point often belongs to some king or high royalty. The view here overlooks the River Yaxha. This city is one of the very few places that was built near some natural water source, perhaps because this was the trading capital of the mayan world and the river led to other parts of the region as well as Mexico. Somewhere along the river was also where the reality show, Survivor – Guatemala was shot.
The unescavated part of the woods filled with young ceibu trees.
El Mirador – the lookout platform, after a fair climb up, you could see the tree canopies as well the whole place, with a tiny peak of the highest complex in the area. The tree in silouette is a ceibu tree part family of the ceiba, one of the sacred trees in the mayan world. While up here, the howler monkeys were belching out their very intensive calls, it was as if they were serenading to me, howler monkey style.
My travel companion of this part of the adventure
Its quite lovely how the trees are growing amists the ruins keeping the place cool and protected from the blazing hot sun, and most of the ruins here are left in their mounts. These are tended by the very friendly locals who prune and upkeep the place on a daily basis.
The woods of Uaxactun
Grupo ruins, as with all Guatemalan mayan ruins, they are tastefully restored with trees growing between the ruins. Quite unlike the Mexican sites where it is mostly bare and exposed.
One of the major astrological study complexes where the stars are aligned with, I spend part of the evening starglazing at some of the complexes.
Shows the difference between the exposed buildings and the ones still in their mounts. This site possibility residential quarters with many tiny rooms.
As with all sites, there is always a complex at the highest point looking over at the whole area. A tall building possibilty the king’s residence. The complex over looks the town of Uaxactun and beyond.
Most ruins exposed and escavated have long collasped The stones are left as it is and not restored.
Tikal Gran Plaza in diptych
view from Acropolis Centro
click for bigger view
Tikal Great Plaza View from Acropolis Centro
Tulum Ruins, Yucatan State, Mexico
Iguanas are everywhere in this Mayan site which sits on top of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean ocean. This monster poses proudly for a few seconds before being frightened by troddles of rowdy tourists on organised tour packages trying to snatch its photo.
It almost feels like a Godzilla movie set at some ancient city.
Here’s the image posted at Mark in his Lonely Planet Blog Article