The Realm of the Jaguar

Palenque Travel Blog

 › entry 10 of 19 › view all entries

One of the highlights of our tour is today’s guided visit to the famous jungle ruins of Palenque, a fascinating and important Mayan site. Once the choking forest was cleared, the ruins revealed the tomb of the high priest Pakal, his body adorned with a marvellous jade death mask – one of the most prized relics of the Maya culture, discovered only in 1952. The entire site, shrouded by the steamy rainforest, has an aura of deep mystery. While the name Palenque comes from a nearby village, it is possible that the village was named after the ancient city or something similar sounding - bahlam kin - jaguar sun - the place where the sun descends into the underworld, the realm of the jaguar.

This ancient Maya site is located at the western frontier of the lowland Maya region. While the name Palenque comes from a nearby village, it is possible that the village was named after the ancient city or something similar sounding - bahlam kin - jaguar sun - the place where the sun descends into the underworld, the realm of the jaguar.


It was the flood plain of the Usumacinta to the north that most likely provided Palenque's inhabitants with the resources to construct their extraordinary city. Blessed with the highest average rainfall in Mexico, this fertile alluvial plain could have been successfully farmed with raised beds, and would have produced a harvest that not only could sustain a large workforce but would also have provided an abundance that could be traded along the river Usumacinta.

The most notable structures of Palenque are the Palace and the Temple of Inscriptions both begun during the reign of Hanab Pacal and added to by his sons, Chan Bahlum and Kan Xul. Also built during Pacal's lifetime was the temple now called the "Temple of the Count" after the artist/adventurer, Count de Waldek who camped out in the temple in 1831 while creating fanciful illustrations of the site. A grouping of temples southeast of the Palace are known as The Cross Group.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Palenque
photo by: monky