Friday, March 31, 2017

Palenque and the Grupo de la Cruz

Past the Temple of the Inscriptions and across a small stream, a trail and some steps leads you into the large courtyard of the South Group, also known as the Grupo de la Cruz (Group of the Cross).  The group consists of three temples, all dedicated to Chan-Bahlum.  There are many inscriptions depicting the transfer of power to Chan-Bahlum from Pakal.  Interesting that Chan-Bahlum had a special deformity, six toes on each foot and six fingers on his left hand (a condition called polydactyly).  He is depicted on several other buildings as a baby, recognizable by his six-toed feet.
Even though Pakal had planned his own tomb, it was Chan-Bahlum who completed the Temple of the Inscriptions.
Above is the largest of the temples, the Temple of the Cross, with its nine levels and crowned with a grand roof comb.

I had to laugh, us adults were very careful in climbing up and coming down those steep, narrow steps.  Len taking side stepping.
  Then a school group of about 15, dressed in white shirts and green pants, came down those stairs two at a time like grease lightening. 
Looking up at the back side of the Temple of the Cross.
The Temple of the Sun 

with the best-preserved roof comb at Palenque.
There are inscriptions dating from 642 with scenes of offerings to Pakal, the sun-shield King.

Nature's art!  I just loved how the blossoms from the trees fell in between the rocks.

On the Templo de la Cruz Foliada (Temple of the Foliated Cross), the arches are totally exposed which reveals how the architect's of Palenque designed these buildings.  Unfortunately this we could not climb up to the entrance of this temple.  Inside there is a well-preserved tablet showing Pakal with a sun shield engraved on his chest, corn leaves (hence the name of the temple) growing from his shoulder blades and the Quetzal bird atop his head.

As you can see, it is easy to spend an entire day here!

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