Pu'uhonua o Honaunau
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Hawaii Reviews
The Place of Refuge Jan 24, 2011
If you would like to step back and time and see Hawaii in its traditional Polynesian glory, this is the place to visit. Here you will find the royal grounds of Hawaii's former chiefs, ancient temples and ki’i (wooden images of the gods). Just beyond the Royal Grounds you will be greeted by a massive rock wall built in 1550 that separates the royal grounds from Pu'uhonua.
Known as the "Place of Refuge", Pu'uhonua was a sanctuary for ancient Hawaiians seeking a life-saving second chance. Due to the sacred mana--or spiritual power--of this beautiful place, no blood could be shed here. In traditional Hawaiian practice, anyone who broke kapu (sacred laws) would be sentenced to death in an attempt to appease the angry gods and prevent environmental catastrophe. If the kapu breaker managed to reach Pu'uhonua however, a ceremony would be performed by a priest, absolving the offender of his/her crime.
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park continues to be a place of refuge for solace seekers today. Here, graceful palm trees stud an otherwise stark lava flow landscape. The contrasts between the dark black of the basalt, the light coral sands, the vibrant green of the palms and the azure blue of the ocean are a real treat for the senses. Photography opportunities abound here.
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is also a vibrant wildlife refuge today. Here, it is quite common to see a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle basking in the sun, or perhaps searching for morsels of food in the shallow cove and tidal pools. In fact, the easily accessible tidal pools are filled with an abundance of tiny ocean life, sure to enthral both adults and children alike. The cove is also home to a variety of fish, with the vibrant yellow tangs easily seen even from the shoreline. If you are especially lucky and your timing is right, you may even be able to watch a whale breeching on the horizon just beyond this magical place.
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is yet another one of the Big Island's lesser known gems, but I assure you, this place is not to be missed! The best part? A mere $2 entrance fee gets you unlimited access to this enchanting place for an entire week.
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