Tagged: Ruins

Chichén Itzá: Run over by tour groups, yet enjoyable

Due to its proximity to Cancun and Mexico’s party zone, this place attracts a huge amount of tourists. Most tourists visit Chichen Itza get picked up from their resorts, driven to this site by luxury buses and get dropped back in the evening after some souvenir shopping, in a very insular form of tourism.

I think it’s really difficult to NOT like Chichen Itza if you can ignore the crowds esp

Slithering in the Rain: Uxmal’s Maya ruins

There is nothing more disappointing to an independent traveller than arriving at a popular tourist site and finding it filled with busloads of tour groups. I like to have the vastness and emptiness of archeological ruins all to myself and don’t mind sharing it with a select few who, just like me, have worked hard to get there first thing in the morning.

When the bus breaks down

I packed before going to bed last night so that I could wake up early and leave without disturbing other people in my dorm. I hate to be the guy who wakes everyone up at 5am in the morning. Merida was beautiful at dawn, a bit foggy, with birds flying around and women sweeping the streets and raising a cloud of dust. I hurriedly made my way to the bus station.

…and then I saw Yucatan

From the central highlands of Mexico, I reached Yucatan and checked out some cities and ruins between Merida and Cancun.

Chichen Itza and Valladolid were my biggest surprises. The former is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, which I thought was just okay and the later is a small town with nothing particularly exciting, yet I felt drawn to it

Church on top of a gigantic pagan pyramid

A pyramid so huge that the Spanish, thinking it was a hill, built a church on top. I was fascinated with how familiar the landscape outside Mexico city felt to rural India. There were milkmen loading large aluminium cans on their bicycles, making a peculiar sound that, together with the gentle morning breeze, reminded me of my childhood in India. The streets were dusty, the heat was scorching, and all along the road there were mechanic and tyre repair shops in ugly shacks next to colourful buildings with deep red steel rebars emerging out of the columns and unfinished concrete roof slabs precariously supporting a haystack on top.

Rise and fall of Xochicalco

Spread over a desolate plateau, Xochicalco is a sprawling pre-Columbian archeological site that bears a remarkable affinity with the Mayans, the Teotihuacans, and the Matlatzincan cultures of central Mexico. Xochicalco became a regional power that filled the political vacuum created by the declining Teotihuacan empire around 600 CE. Around a temple of the feathered serpent at the top of the hill, astronomers and mathematicians gathered in a observatory to study the movement of the sun.

Toltec warriors with butterfly shields

Tula, the capital city of Toltecs, has intriguing gigantic stone statues of Toltec warriors in its archeological zone. It is also believed that the ancient Toltec ruler was very “white” and had to leave his throne for some reason. He pledged to come back. When the Spanish arrived centuries later, people thought that the mythical king was back. As if this was not interesting enough, I visited a cathedral in the city that has a semi-naked mural of Jesus Christ. A fun and strange day overall!

Worshiping the Sun on the Avenue of the Dead

Excursion to the pre-Columbian city of Teotihuacan and climbing the third largest pyramid in the world. The approach to these pyramids of the Sun and the Moon is via a long street that is flanked by a large number of smaller pyramids which the Aztecs believed were tombs of the dead

Photo Friday 01.03: Machu Picchu

Checkout my travel stories and pictures from Peru.