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Secrets of jade: the Temple of the Inscriptions of Palenque

Palenque sunset

The archaeological zone of Palenque was one of the most powerful Mayan cities along with Chichén Itzá. This site is located northeast of Chiapas, near the Usumacinta River, and stands out for its imposing architecture and for being the home of multiple pre-Hispanic expressions, both artistic and cultural, an example of this is the magnificent Temple of the Inscriptions; one of the most impressive structures of the site.

Among the buildings of Palenque, there is an aqueduct that guides the stream and crosses the city through the vaults located under the main square. In the middle of the main esplanade is the Temple of the Count. To the north, there is a palace and a small ball game. Finally, to the southeast, accompanied by two small buildings, is the Temple of the Inscriptions.

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On the other hand, its name in Maya is B’lunt Yej Teʼ Naah which means: House of the Nine Sharp Spears in reference to the nine levels of Xibalba, the Maya underworld. Also, the construction of this pyramid ended approximately in the year 675 A.D. and from that time until now it measured 23 meters high and was larger than Palenque.

zona arqueologica de palenque chiapas mexico templo de las inscripciones

 

The function of the Temple of the Inscriptions

The building was constructed during the reign of K’inich Janahb Pakal. Its main function was to preserve his remains. In the beginning, it was thought that the sarcophagus was located at the top of the pyramid, but in 1949 an archaeologist discovered access to the tomb through a secret staircase that is a meter and a half below the ground.

Jewelry and a jade mosaic mask were found inside the tomb. In addition, the walls of the crypt show the death of the ruler and his descent to the underworld as narrated in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya. The nine lords of the night of Mayan mythology are also represented.

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In the last decade, the National Institute of Anthropology and History discovered a series of canals that run under the tomb of Pakal; these symbolize the path that would guide the ruler to the waters of Xibalba.

Hieroglyphs

On its interior walls, the Temple of Inscriptions has three panels with a total of 617 hieroglyphs. All made in stucco relief. They tell the history of the city and its rulers. As in the Chilim Balam, the collection of books that tells the history of the civilization, there are references to events repeating themselves. 

The colors that decorated the walls were blue, yellow, and red. The latter is primarily the background color. Yellow is related to Xibalba and the jaguars. Blue represented the gods and hieroglyphic writing.

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The Temple of Inscriptions has played a very important role in the study of the Mayan world. Palenque has a site museum where you can learn more about this fascinating culture. Now you are ready to visit the temple of inscriptions without missing anything important!

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Victoria O.

September, 2022
Two Weeks in Mexico
Seamless transfers, excellent hotels particularly in Mexico city and Puebla, combined with various cultural and food tours. Particular highlights were the cultural/food tours in Mexico city and Puebla (also including the anthropology museum in Mexico city), and the rural tours in Oaxaca where we visited textile workshops, mescal producers and participated in a cooking class using traditional equipment. Also, although we didn't need it, the on call remote assistance was reassuring. I would definitely recommend Rutopia.
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Kris S.

April, 2022
Enjoyed using Rutopia
Enjoyed using Rutopia (Marisol and Melina) to plan my trip to Mexico. Marisol helped me figure out the best options fand booked everything. Melina was my in country support. Rutopia (the company through Kim Kim) is great and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take the burden out of vacation planning. My son and I truly enjoyed the trip knowing everything was taken care of and we just had to have fun. Thanks!
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Melissa W.

July, 2022
Adventures in the Yucatán!
Such an amazing time in the Yucatán! Between floating in the mangroves to visiting Chichén Itzá to spending a whole day on the beach in El Cuyo, I couldn’t have planned a better trip without their help. Thank you so much for an unforgettable birthday vacation!! Simply amazing! Don’t think twice about having them help you plan your next vacation!
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Cat839

April, 2022
Great experience with this agency, totally recommend!
Great experience with this agency. Our tour in Mexico was perfect and organised with great passion and precision. Special thanks to Mel (our direct contact during the trip) for being super responsive and to Jorge Barbosa (our tour guide in Mexico City). Totally recommend this tour operator!
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Sue G

June, 2022
Mayan Site Tour in Yucatan Penninsula Mexico
Rutopia did an outstanding job with the arrangement and execution of a 9 day tour of Mayan sites in the Yucatan peninsula. We provided Rutopia with the general parameters of the trip we wanted and they suggested an itinerary. After our approval, they set up the hotels, transportation within Mexico, and site tours. The hotels were good quality, and all of the drivers and tour guides showed up on time. We were very impressed with the quality of the tour guides and learned a lot on the trip. Jorge handled setting up the itinerary, and Melina handled the execution of the trip and was readily available via WhatsApp throughout the trip for any questions or issues. Melina was particularly helpful in changing our transportation arrangements to the airport at the last minute per our request. I would recommend Rutopia and would use them again for future trips.
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Varadarajan

July, 2022
Fantastic Will do it again
My wife and I had a fantastic holiday in Mexico thanks to Marisol, Ana, Teresa and their colleagues & partners. The entire itinerary and arrangements were put together in less than 4 days. What we really liked about Marisol & her team was that they were only a message or a phone call away for any query/suggestion, etc. The trip was bespoke to the extent that Rutopia had kept in mind about our interests, food habits & executed bookings, tours. They were also very flexible in catering to last minute changes/requests. The team took upon them to ensure that our entire trip was comfortable & safe by taking care of even small stuff that one normally finds out post getting to a place. We would definitely like to use their services again!!
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Elena R.

April, 2022
A literally perfect trip to the Yucatan peninsula
Tom and I knew we wanted to go to Mexico. We knew we wanted a little bit of culture, some wildlife, and maybe a splash in the ocean. That's it. With the vague and minimal information we gave them, Rutopia was able to put together a perfect trip for us. We had a flawless itinerary. It's so clear that Rutopia really cares about the communities (animals and humans) in Mexico. Everything we did and everywhere we stayed felt like they were helping us experience Mexico as authentically and respectfully as possible. It's almost impossible to pick a highlight, but top of the list has to be the day we shared with Enrique, a Mayan host who was unbelievably generous with us. He shared the community gardens, including history and background about the families that live in Nuevo Durango and other nearby communities. He showed us the neighborhood cenotes, Punta Laguna, Uma Nojoch Keej (a wildlife reserve), and more. We picked and prepared the plants as Enrique and his wife Blanca showed us the best way to cook them (and rescued us when we were pricked by the nopales!). We saw howler monkeys and spider monkeys in the wild which was very cool. That had to be the very best day, but every day was amazing. Sian Ka'an reserve was lovely, the Mayan ruins were spectacular, the snorkeling in Puerto Morelos was fabulous, the bicycle cenote tour was jaw'droppingly gorgeous. I'm waxing superlative but it really all was like a dream. Beyond the activities, the scheduling and pace was perfect for us. We felt like we really made the most of our six days, but with enough downtime to explore and enjoy at our leisure. From picking up our car at the airport to finding our accommodation, the logistics were very smooth at every interaction. Special shoutout to Melina who pretty much instantly helped us when we had any questions about the trip. We've never used a travel planning service like this before. But after this trip, we'll never go back to the old way!
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David

July, 2022
Journey to Mexico City, Cholula and Cuetzalan
We had a wonderful time. We started out in Mexico City with a 2 day tour filled with museums, food, and beautiful sights. We then went on to Cholula to experience the culture in a smaller town, see a local market, and eat traditional food. We finished the tour in a small town called Cuetzalan, where most people speak an indigenous language. All of our guides were great. Thank you for a memorable vacation!
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DaniEla

March, 2022
Just wonderful!
We had an amazing trip excellent organized by Jorge and supervised by Melina from Rutopia. We spent 10 days in Mexico, starting in Ciudad de Mexico where we visited the amazing Teotihuacan and then we flew to Yucatan for the amazing sites of Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Ek Balam, Tulum, Merida, Valladolid and the great Island Holbox. The trip was perfectly organized, the hotels were very good, and the guides were carefully chosen. We highly recommend Rutopia and especially Jorge!
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Bikø J

November, 2021
Chiapas, Neri and her family
I traveled to Chiapas for an ecotourism experience with Rutopia and I liked it very much, the team responds very quickly to all questions and accompany the traveler throughout the experience, I missed my flight and they were very flexible to accommodate the entire itinerary, My destination was the lakes of Tziscao, where I was received by Neri with his family in very nice cabins next to a lake with incredible views and a magnificent tranquility, with them you make experiences of beekeeping and coffee and tours to nearby lakes, Montebello is a must! 100% recommended.
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Alexhcros1500

March, 2021
Super local agency
We have worked with Rutopia for several tours in Mexico in the Yucatán and Chiapas and we have never been disappointed. Authentic experiences, with locals, in magical places and off the beaten tourist track. Our contact Marisol was always super available and responsive, understanding and anticipating our desires. And she speaks very good French. I highly recommend Rutopia!
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Mikel D

April, 2021
The best moment lived in Mexico
We were traveling as a group of friends with nothing organized. We like to improvise and be able to find alternative plans to the conventional tourist routes. We arrived in Puerto Escondido - Mexico's paradise - and started looking for options. A Mexican friend recommended us to contact Rutopia and we did. We explained our way of traveling - which they quickly understood - and in a few hours they came to us with a perfect selection of activities. We chose one of them and the next day we found ourselves galloping through beautiful hills, crossing a small lagoon in canoes, bathing on an unspoiled beach at sunset and sipping freshly picked coconuts with some mezcal. We had dinner in the only hut on the beach, eating fish that had been caught that day from the lagoon. Then we went to see the luminescence of the placton with paddle canoes until we were surprised by one of the biggest and reddest moons I have ever seen in my life. We ended up sleeping in bamboo huts a few meters from the waves. There were no more than 5 huts on the miles of beach that we could see. And at ALL times with an exquisite treatment - sympathy, kindness and attention. This is just one of the plans we booked with Rutopia, which definitely changed the course of our trip. Without a doubt, I would repeat this experience in any place I would like to visit in Mexico. Viva Mexico!
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Claudia A

September, 2020
Super organization, great accommodations and nice team
The trip was perfectly organized, we were always exclusive or in very small groups and had freedom to do our own activities. All accommodations were fantastic and sustainable, the food almost always local and very good, we could always fill our Rutopia water bottles and travel as plastic free as possible. We were met at the airport and had assistance getting a rental car. After that, we traveled independently but had our fixed dates and reservations with Rutopia. It was the perfect mix!
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pascalrichard0304

March, 2020
Circuit in Yucatan
Discovering wonderful and surprising sites, Mayan communities with an unforgettable welcome, breathtaking landscapes, a very pleasant climate in the middle of March...and smiling people! A big thank you to Rutopia and his team for the elaboration of this ideal circuit, alternating nature, city life, simplicity and comfort. Thanks to Mélina for the follow-up during our trip. We don't speak Spanish well enough, and we appreciated having a French-speaking contact person who could be reached if necessary. We still have a lot to discover and hope to come back very soon, and with Rutopia without hesitation!
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Sabrina N

March, 2020
Perfect
For those who don't like to manage logistics like hotels, rental cars, activities. And above all, to have someone who speaks fluent French that we can reach at any time for the unexpected... You are in the right place! Thank you to Chloe for the preparation of our trip, to Melina our Ariadne's thread and Teresa for her welcome and help at the arrival and departure. A big thank you to Enrique and Blanca from Nuevo-Durango for their welcome, their smiles, their family, a lot of emotions at the time to leave you. Thanks to Mémo for your teaching of Mexican customs (Sian Ka'an) The Yucatan is a magnificent region. And the population is very pleasant. Only downside Holbox... Too much dust, too much smell of fuel oil, too much tourist. I will keep in memory these wonderful moments!
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