Friday, February 12, 2010

A Historic Site called Puukohola at Sunset

 

 

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The campsite I visited recently is located close to a national historic site (strange to think there would be national landmarks here). The site is called Puukohola, it is a set of three heiau’s or temples that the early Hawaiians used to gather together, prayed and perform human sacrifices to appease their local dieties which were mostly gods of war, of the harvests and of the ocean.  These heiau’s were also significant because the main chef of Hawaii island named Kamehameha was the first ruler to unify all the disparate island nations of Hawaii into a unified whole.

 

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A prophecy from a kahuna (priest) advised Kamehameha that if he built this large temple to honor his local diety Ku (the god of war) he will be the first ruler to unite all the warring islands of Hawaii.  This effort was no small part to build a large temple due to the fact that it is made entirely of smooth stones which were only available some 20 miles west of the island. An entire sea of laborers were required (in fact the entire population including the chief) and formed a human chain twenty mile long handing rocks from on hand to another and then build an edifice in less than a year and completed in 1791.

All through the building efforts, other local chiefs from neighboring islands hearing that a large temple was going to be built and knew of this significant omen, banded together to attack Kamehameha during this crucial stage. Kamehameha crushed these armies and also his main rival on Hawaii island who knew that his own death would proficised this outcome,  he willingly submitted himself to Kamehameha during the celebration of the temples completion, and his body and his chiefs were consecrated at the temple as an offering to their god Ku and eventually Kamehameha ruled all of the Hawaiian islands as a unified whole.

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His legacy lives in these monuments and other temples around Hawaii island which attribute this king as a significant leader to Hawaii and fulfilling a great destiny. An annual celebration for King Kamehameha day is celebrated throughout Hawaii to recognize this great leader with amazing garlands of beautiful and scented flowers around his statue and hulas from various dancing troupes are performed and chanted in his honor.

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What is really amazing about this area called  Puukohola is that it is on the dryer side of the island with an average rainfall of less than 10 inches a year. Hard to believe that a civilization would create a life in this barren lava zoned area with not much vegetation and create enough sustenance to survive in this environment.

I was just glad that the camp site had warm showers, drinkable water, a large community pavilion and cooking pits on each stall and that was roughing it for camping here!  Boy, I’m glad I’m living in today’s world and enjoying the sunsets from my simple tent.

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19 comments:

Sara Chapman in Seattle USA said...

The gold statue with the flowers draped over it and the final sunset photo are the winners for me. Thanks for the history lesson.

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Noel~~ During my school years in Hawaii I wasn't very interested in the history of Hawaii. Not until I became an adult and started hearing bits and pieces did I get curious and start researching. I remember seeing statue of the king. All the more impressive now that I know the story behind it.

Carol said...

Aloha Noel, Very interesting post! I would think this has become a National Historic Site because Hawaiians voted for it to become so ... or pressured the reps to make it so. There are Native American National Landmarks too... I understand your thinking it strange... at least I think I get your meaning. What an impressive building project! It may be a good thing you live in these times... you may have become a 'human sacrifice' to appease the war gods. I cannot help but see the irony in how some may think ... 'what barbarians... that would offer human lives to some war gods', when in our world today countries do this on a regular basis. Only today the gods are more tangible in the form of corporate greed. If they are not making garlands these day with machines, I am amazed at how many hours it must have taken to thread those beautiful garlands! Rather like passing rocks person to person... Lovely sunset photos! ;>)

Moa said...

Thank you for a very intressting story and many amazing pictures.. so different from how it looks up here in sweden just now. You ask about the peachblossom flower, its from last year in mars.. now the snow is very deep here and its very cold. Here in south Sweden we haven't have so hard winter for many many years.. so I have to wait this year to see the beutiful flowers. Have a nice weekend.. Moa

Edith Hope said...

Greetings Noel, One of the things that I so enjoy about Blotanical is the way in which it enables one to have glimpses into the lives and culture of others, so often in situations outside of one's own experiences. This posting is a perfect example of this and I feel enlightened by your informative commentary.

Happy weekend!

kanak7 said...

Hi Noel! You've got the most fantastic photographs here! Love the sunsets and details of the past that you've given. This is one place I'll be visiting often. Hawaii has always fascinated me.

Have a great weekend!

Teza said...

Noel:
Why was history never this fun and exciting when we were in school. My nephews are learning about the US [being Canadian and all] and this will come in handy, Fabulous photos as usual! Have a great weekend.

Liza said...

What a great post, Noel. Informative and beautiful photos. Please take us along every time you go camping!

eileeninmd said...

What a beautiful place to camp! Lovely photos and story. Thanks for sharing.

Tricia said...

I have to 2nd what Teza says - History was never this fun & exciting in school! This could put a new spin on teaching kids!

Thom said...

Wonderful post my friend. Your pictures are just stunning. :)

Greyscale Territory said...

A beautiful tour of Hawaiian colours! Love the draped statue in particular! It seems you have captured the essence of the Hawaiian spirit!

LeAnn * ~ See Great Things said...

REALLY beautiful pictures. I loved how you explained things. I don't know where I have been, but I don't recall hearing how they did human sacrifices there. Wow. Thanks for sharing. ~

Megha said...

beautiful pics..

Stine in Ontario said...

I'd love to visit Hawaii some day!

Rosie (Leaves n Bloom) said...

Aloha Noel - what fabulous photos. That place is just oozing with history. All of it I never knew until I came over here this evening. Thanks for sharing

Lynn said...

Hi Noel, thanks for the nice bloom day comment you left on my blog. I'm happy to have discovered you out there in glorious Hawaii. This post shows a very different side of what we mainly hear about (not just the human sacrifice part!). That's a great tent spot you have, too.

Matti said...

Noel, you are killing me here. I have yet to get to Hawaii...and your gorgeous images keep my mouth watering.

Paradise! Matti

Orchid food said...

Vanda is an orchid species that shouldn’t be repotted too often. Once every 3 years is enough. Otherwise it might stop flowering. Also Vanda is one of the orchids that grow more laterally then vertically, so when you repot go for a bigger pot that can sustain 3 years of growth. You should also use a potting material as coarse grade or lava rock; otherwise you will have to water more often.

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