Thursday, July 16, 2009

Puukohola Heiau - Temple of the Whale Hill
Going around the Big Island - Part II

Continued from the post: Kiholo Bay and Haleakala of Maui - Going around the Big Island - Part I.

We planned to go to the Pololu Valley lookout but we side-tracked to visit Puukohola Heiau which I've never visited before. Puukohola Heiau is historically very important. Constructed in 1790-91 by Kamehameha I, this "war" temple played a crucial role to end all the war and unite all Hawaii Islands to establish his island kingdom in 1810.


woman visitor looking at park sign at Puukohola Heiau - the temple on the whale hill, the largest and last heiau constructed in 1790-91 by Kamehameha I, Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Kawaihae, Kohala, Big Island, Hawaii, USA, Model Released - MR#: 000103

Although Puukohola Heiau was the largest temple dedicated to Kamehameha I's war god, Ku, it literally means "the Temple on the Whale Hill", so it's related to the creature I love the most.  The site also features the submerged, underwater temple, called, Hale o Kapuni Heiau, dedicated to the shark gods. Whale Hill... Shark Gods... sound very interesting, don't they? I've been wanting to go there for a long time, but never had good weather when I drove by there.

Today the weather condition was pretty good - sunny and breezy. Although there are a bit of vog (volcanic gas) and clouds started creeping in, I knew the polarizing filter would elevate my photography to the commercial grade ;-)

The visitor center was well kept and had many interesting and informative displays. The Puukohola Heiau itself (ancient Hawaiian temple) was very impressive. Huge! Wonder how the hell the ancient Hawaiians moved this many big rocks up there. Many are not one-man rocks. Most are two-men, three-men and even four-men huge rocks. There also were humongous boulders, that definitely looked like requiring modern day heavy machinery to even move slightly. How did they do that? Just amazing.


massive stone structure of Puukohola Heiau - the temple on the whale hill, the largest and last heiau constructed in 1790-91 by Kamehameha I, Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Kawaihae, Kohala, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

According to the park literature, thousands of men camped out on the hills for nearly a year to work on the massive structure. Because the heiau had to be constructed of water-worn lava rocks, it is believed that rocks came from the seaside vally of Pololu. Workers formed a human chain at least 20 miles long and transported the rocks hand to hand to the top of Puukohola. Even Kamehameha himself labored with the others at times.

Looking at those big rocks... still it's very hard to believe they built it like that.

To be continued to: Upolu Point Wind Farm - Sustainable Green Energy - Going around the Big Island - Part III.

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