On the Trail of Mayans – Travelling to Central and South America
How old is earth? How was it 3000 years back? History says there were more land than water then. We could travel by foot to most of the continents and probably the reason for our ancestors to have moved across geographies. Places carry more knowledge having seen thousands of years of our existence. Every place holds a charm of its own and travelling to places without much expectations, an Openminded travel, is the best way to enjoy it in its glory. The surprises that such travel opens to us is the real adventure, each moment gets recorded in our life to be recollected as fond memories later and many times it turns out to be an enriching experience. From childhood when I read about Mayans, I was enamoured by the deep jungles of Central and South America, history of buried cities, spiritual mysteries, mathematical ingenuity and the connect I felt with the ancient culture made me go wide eyed whenever I came across any information on them.
With the internet entering my life, any free time would take me to read more about Mayans, their customs and the reasons why the civilisation was completely erased from the world. There are many documentaries and studies on Mayans, but the more we know about them, the more we have questions on their identity. It is not a search on Mayans but a internal search, a form of self exploration, built on a keen interest in knowing our roots. When things are not clear, the best way to get across details is to get to the places, creating #TheBlindList, the ground zero where one place will lead to another based on the information I get in these places. So my bucket list is to hit the places where there are significant historical connect with Mayan civilisation, obviously Central and South America travelling as a local. Though I cannot go in detail on the knowledge I have gained over the years, here are the places I would love to visit.
The first place I want to visit is Guatemala, this is where the Mayans reached from Mexico after a probable defeat with an enemy kingdom. Flores in Guatemala, then known as Tayasal, was the place they lived for nearly 400 years after leaving Mexico, a significant imprint is said to be left behind them in this place. It is exciting to track their movement as we move from one place to another imagining and rebuilding their life.
The next destination is Tikal National Park in Guatemala, where we have the largest excavation in the entire America and is said to date 3000 years back. It is sure to have some interesting insights into the lifestyle of the Mayans as number of ball courts are found here. We can say the basket ball game has its origin here in its primitive form and was played in these ball courts. Games were not just sports, it was used to establish the supremacy of one group over the other, more a game of life and death.
The other cities that were popular during Mayan time and now almost reduced to jungle and national parks in Central America are Palenque, Uxmal, Cob, Edzn and Copan. Palenque, Uxmal are located closer to Tikal and a walk tour through these places available locally with well informed guides is not only exciting but adventurous too.
My next destination would be Copan Ruinas in Honduras where there are several beautiful Mayan Temples. My study of our ancient history and the Mayans reveals a close connection. Temple is a word so associated to Hinduism and it is not surprising that their places of worship were called temples because they too like Hindus worshipped fire and have many rites, ceremonies, hymns that connect to the Hindu scriptures and culture. A visit to the Mayan temple by us will give a different perspective given our traditional knowledge and our similarity to their spiritual and religious practices.
Copen Ruinas and Chichen Itza – Temple of Kukulcan
Next in the list is Chichen Itza. Another interesting part is Mayans mastery in Astronomy. Temple of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza stand testimony to their prowess and it is still a billion-dollar question how they could map and align the Sun’s position so perfectly without any modern inventions we have today.
Mount Kailash and Kailasanath Temple (Ellora)
We have similar questions on our ancient knowledge and the mind-blowing constructions and inventions that defies any possible scientific explanation much as Mount Kailash or the Kailasanath Temple in the Ellora caves, the list is too exhaustive to note down here. Maybe the answers to the questions we have here may be there and vice-versa.
And last not the least, #SayYesToTheWorld and its mystical offerings with a visit to the Amazon rainforest, to delve in the lap of nature and connect to the real wonders of the world that many of us are yet to explore.
Photo Credits : Free Images – UNESCO Heritage Sites