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22nd Dec 2011 - Uxmal

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Dr Manaan Kar Ray
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:48 pm    Post subject: 22nd Dec 2011 - Uxmal Reply with quote

Uxmal Photo Gallery

Woke up on the 22nd morning and it was pretty grey and foggy. It had been raining for most of the night it seemed. My heart sank as Uxmal was one of the major destinations and we had a chance to see it the day before but had chose not to and do the Ruta Puuc sites instead. However by 7 am it started to brighten up a bit. Just chatting to a person at the hotel frontdesk, I got assurance that by the time the site opens at 8 am we will have bright sunlight. Apparently this is how it was every day. I appreciated his nice gesture but thought this cant be true, I come from Caclutta in India, a tropical country, when it rains it pours, a rainy day is a rainy day, nothing else.

But surprise surprise, his prediction came true to the word. By the time we were enetering the site (8 am) there was clear sunshine and blue skies. Just like Chichen Itza when one enters the archaeological site of Uxmal, the Piramide del Adivino (Pyramid of the Magician) hits you. Clearly it is the most remarkable looking of all Mexican pyramids, it soars at a startling angle from its unique oval base to a temple some 30m above the ground.

The Adivino (a.k.a. the Pyramid of the Magician or the Pyramid of the Dwarf), is a stepped pyramid structure, unusual among Maya structures in that its layers' outlines are oval or elliptical in shape, instead of the more common rectilinear plan. It was a common practice in Mesoamerica to build new temple pyramids atop older ones, but here a newer pyramid was built centered slightly to the east of the older pyramid, so that on the west side the temple atop the old pyramid is preserved, with the newer temple above it. In addition, the western staricase of the pyramid is situated so that it faces the setting sun on the summer solstice. The structure features in one of the best-known tales of Yucatec Maya folklore, "el enano del Uxmal" (the dwarf of Uxmal), which is also the basis for the structure's common name. Multiple versions of this tale are recorded, and the story was further popularised after one of these was recounted by John Lloyd Stephens in his influential 1841 book, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan. In the version told to Stephens in 1840, an old sorceress, who lived in a hut where the pyramid stands today, hatched a dwarf son from an egg and encouraged him to challange the king to a series of tests - all of which the dwarf won, thanks to a little magic. Finally the king challanged him to build a pyramid overnight, the dwarf succeded , and became the rule of Uxmal.

We walked around the pyramid through the Cuadrangulo de los Pajoros through to the Cuadrangulo de las Monjas. Also know as the Nunnery Quadrangle (a nickname given to it by the Spanish; it was a government palace) is the finest of Uxmal's several fine quadrangles of long buildings with elaborately carved fašades on both the inside and outside faces. Whatever it might have been it was not a convent, theories range from a military academy to a sort of earthly paradise, where intended sacrifical victims would spend their final months in debauchery. The quarangle itself is slightly irregular shape in order to allign with Venus.

An arched passageway from the middle of the south building is alligned to the ball court. A path leads through here to the Palacio del Gobernador. This marks the finaest achivement of Uxmal's builders. There are also stunning views of the whole site from here, quite simillar to the views from top of the Gran Piramide, which lies just behind the Palce as part of the crumbling Grupo Sur.

The Gran Piramide is the only pyramid here that one can climb. There is a temple on the top decorated with Macaws and more curly nose masks. After this I spent some time in El Palomar and then as it was getting quite hot and we had already spent over 4 hours at the site we decided to call it a dey before the kids started to get cranky.

There is a decent resturant at the site, where we had quesadillas for lunch and we did some souvenier shopping. Bought a book on Yucatan, a road map and some friedge magnet. We also spotted a nice figure of chak mool, but were worried that it will break in the journey back home. We eventually did buy it in the evening when we came for the light and sound show. Quite a nice piece actually and we manged to get it back home to england safely.

We had a very relaxing afternoon as well as some family fun in the hotel pool. Mayank though doggedly refused to get into the water. In the evening we went to the light and sound show. We managed to make the receivers work this time. The story though was more like a fairy tale and is of doubtful historical significance. It is based in the nunnery quadrangle, the buildings though look quite stunning at night. Its a shame that they do not light up the whole pyramid like they do in Chichen Itza.

This bought to an end another brilliant day of site seeing. Next day was a long driving day and I did some bed time reading and decided that instead of attempts to cover coba on the way, I will try and go through Ek Balam.

Uxmal at night[/url]
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