Pyramid of Kukulcan, Mexico

2010 Mexico 088e Piramide of Kukulcan (Photo credit: jjjj56cp)

The pyramid of Kukulcan is one of the most impressive historical structures in the world. It was constructed to pay homage to the Mayan Snake deity Kukulcan which means plumed serpent. The pyramid has a history which stretches back to over 1000 years. The pyramid has nine level faces with 52 panels which is the number of years in the Mayan Toltec cycle. The pyramid serves as a calendar also. There are 365 steps for each aspect of the pyramid which includes the platform as well. The square platform at the top has 365 steps with each step denoting a day of the year. The extraordinary design can be best viewed best during the Autumn and Spring equinoxes.

My favorite shot of El Castillo, the Pyramid of Kukulcan, at Chichen Itza (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

Another amazing view of the pyramid of Kukulcan is when the sun casts its shadow on the northern staircase. You can see the shadow of a long serpent creeping downwards and joining the head of the plumed serpent at the bottom. There is an older pyramid within the Kukulcan. You can get inside this pyramid using the small door. You will reach the original sanctuary of the structure where you will find a huge chac-mool lying with its head titled to one side together with a throne shaped jaguar, both entombed for eternity.

Classic view of El Castillo, the Pyramid of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

The best time to visit the pyramid is during the morning hours at about 8.30 am. You will be able to see the pyramid freely with no crowd. You can also climb to the summit and view the entire site which appears like the pyramid is immersed in greenery all around. The green trees stretch over a vast area and also have other less known ruins amidst them. One other ruin which is mostly visited by tourists is the Chichen Itza, the Temple of Warriors. Another important aspect not to be missed is the sound and light show at the complex. It is best to watch this during the night especially on a full moon night where you can get a stunning view of the pyramid of Kukulcan.

Crumbling side of El Castillo, Chichen Itza (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

Serpent heads on the Platform of Venus (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

2010 Mexico 133e Piramid of Kukulcan (Photo credit: jjjj56cp)

2010 Mexico 080 Chichen Itza Piramid of Kukulcan (Photo credit: jjjj56cp)

Chichen Itza, Mexico (Photo credit: wEnDy)

El Castillo (Photo credit: momo)

2010 Mexico 134e Piramid of Kukulcan (Photo credit: jjjj56cp)

Chichen Itza Pyramid in Riviera Maya, Mexico (Photo credit: Grand Velas Riviera Maya)

Serpents on the Platform of Venus with El Castillo in the background (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

Serpent head at the base of El Castillo (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

Carving on one of the columns in the Grupo de las Mil Columnas, Group of 1,000 Columns, Chichen Itza (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

Bas-relief on a column in the Group of 1,000 Columns (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

Pyramid of Kukulcan (Photo credit: Roberto Facenda)

The Pyramid in Detail (Photo credit: Rob Shenk)

Chichen Itza's Kukulcan Temple from afar (Photo credit: Kyle Simourd)

Chichen Itza Pyramid (Photo credit: Grand Velas Riviera Maya)

El Castillo at Chichen Itza (Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek)

See also