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Palenque Archaeological Ruins
Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great
K'inich Janaab' Pakal.

Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico.
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George & Eve DeLange

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Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico.


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The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal.
The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal.

Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal:

One of the most important structures in Palenque is the Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal (23 March 603 - 28 August 683), discovered in 1952 by Alberto Ruz Lhuillier inside the Temple of the Inscriptions. Pakal died on August 31, 683 at eighty years of age. He had assumed the throne on July 29, 615A.D. at the age of twelve, and ruled for 68 years. During his long reign—near the end of the Classic Period (AD 250-900)—Pakal transformed Palenque into a great city. Around AD 675, as an old man nearing death, he undertook the construction of his burial temple.

You no longer are allowed to enter the tomb and see the real thing. They have a reproduction at the museum in Palenque and another in Mexico City at the Museum. These photos on our page are of the real thing! Not the reproductions!

As the crypt is larger than the entrance to the chamber, it is thought that it was built before the pyramid. Pakal's body was placed in the limestone, body-shaped sarcophagus and then it was sealed with a 3.8 by 2.2 meter stone cover. Once the burial rites were completed and the chamber sealed with a layer of stucco, five or six sacrificial victims were laid in the small antechamber. The stairway inside the temple was filled with rubble, jade, pottery and shell offerings. A stone airshaft, called a "psychoduct," was built starting at a notch in the funeral chamber door and rising to the upper floor of the temple. According the late Linda Schele, a renowned researcher, the Maya believed that the shaft allowed a mythological serpent to rise from Pakal's tomb to the place occupied by his descendants.

The scene depicted on the sarcophagus' lapidary stone represents the instant of Pakal's death and his fall to the Underworld. A strip of heaven (skyband) frames the entire scene with kin (day or the sun) in the upper right or northeast corner and akbaal (night or darkness) on the far left or northwest corner. The movement of the sun from east to west represents Pakal's journey from life into death. Symbols fill the background of this scene—shells, jade beads, signs of plenty, and others—carried on spirals of blood. The open mouth of the Xibalba, the Underworld, is carved on the bottom of the stone. Two dragon skeletons, united at the lower jaw, make up a U-shaped container that represents the entrance. The dragons' lips are curved inward, as though closing over Pakal's falling body. There, inside the Underworld at the center of the Universe, stands the Tree of the World with a Celestial Bird—symbol of the kingdom of heaven—poised on its highest branch.

The Tree of the World is specially marked as a sacred object: the symbols for te or "tree" confirm it is a cottonwood. The symbols for nen or "mirror" indicate that the tree is a shining and powerful being. The enormous figure of God C—symbol of blood and that which is holy—is inserted in the base of the trunk and is linked with Pakal's body. The tips of the tree's branches are shaped like the bowls used to catch sacrificial blood. Jade beads and tubes surround the square-nostriled dragons that are born from these vessels, indicating that they are especially sacred. These jewel-covered monsters are depicted in deliberate contrast to the skeletal dragons below them. Te first represent the heavens, the most sacred of the three levels of the Maya cosmos; the second illustrate the world of death into which Pakal falls.

A two-headed serpent bar—the Maya symbol of royalty—is wrapped around branches of the Tree of the World. The body is made of jade segments, again conferring special value on the serpent. The heads on each end of the bar correspond, piece by piece, to the skeletal dragons at the opening to the Underworld. Whereas the Underworld is like a skeleton, Earth, represented by the serpent, has flesh.

During his fall from the Tree of the World, Pakal is seated upon the Monster of the Sun. The monster is aptly represented in its state of transition between life and death: a skeleton from the mouth down, with eyes that have the dilated pupils of living beings. The sun enters into this state of transition at dawn and at dusk. Here, however, the emblem of the Monster of the Sun contains the cimi or sign of death, emphasizing imagery representing the "death of the sun" or sunset, with the sun located on the horizon, ready to sink into the Underworld . . . and take the dead king with it.

Pakal appears to be tumbling at an angle on the head of the Monster of the Sun, also a symbol of his transition from life into death. His loincloth and his heavy jade collar (both the front and back are depicted on the stone) seem to be floating away from his body. His knees are flexed, his hands relaxed. His face is calm because he expects to defeat death. A bone piercing Pakal's nose symbolizes that even death carries in it the seed of rebirth. In the Maya dialects, "bone" and "large seed" are synonymous. Thus, the bone is the seed of Pakal's resurrection.

In the end, Pakal falls as a deity with the smoking knife of God K embedded in his forehead. He was a god in life, and a god when falling into death.

We start by climbing 52 feet up the Temple Of Inscriptions and then by walking into the beautiful temple at the top by way of one of the five entrances. Let us now enter into the secret shaft and decend into the Tomb Of Pakal! It is August in Palenque! First we notice the smell of guano from the bats that roost in the temple. The humidity must be about 99% and the temperature must be about 100 degrees F! It is hot, and humid. The air is thick! We can hear our own heavy breathing as we try to catch our breath as we decend deep into the heart of the tomb. We are soaking wet with sweat. But, what we are about to see is worth all that it takes to do this trip! This is perhaps the most exciting sight to see in all of Yucatan!

no one deals like we do! no one deals like we do!

Getting to Palenque can be somewhat of a challenge since no major airlines travel to Palenque. Here are our suggestions:

By air:
Some commercial flights arrive in Palenque coming from the Francisco Sarabia Airport in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the Capital of the State of Chiapas. You can also charter a light aircraft to take you to Palenque.

By land:
You can drive or be driven from Tuxtla Gutierrez, the Capital of the State of Chiapas, or from Villahermosa, the Capital of the State of Tabasco, located at about 284 and about 149 kilometres from Palenque, respectively.

You have to take highway 190 coming from Tuxtla Gutierrez, which goes across Chiapas in a west to southeast direction going past San Cristóbal de las Casas, and then on highway 199 leading to Ocosingo and Palenque. The trip takes approximately 5 hours.

If your drive begins at Villahermosa, you take highway 186 up to the City of Escárcega; from there you take highway 114 to the Municipality of Palenque, where there is a bifurcation towards the archaeological compound. The trip takes a little over two hours.

By train:
This is an interesting alternative that starts from Cordoba, in the State of Veracruz. The railway goes all the way up to Mérida, Capital of the State of Yucatan, it stops at the Pakal-Na Station near Palenque.

Also, you could take the "Mayan Express", a luxurious tourist service connecting Mérida and Palenque. The "Mayan Express" train has a coffee car, dinning car and club car. It also has a library specialised on pre-Hispanic cultures.

We have always driven there from either Tuxtla Gutierrez or Villahermosa. We would fly to one of those cities and then rent a car to drive to Palenque.

There are "guides" at the Gate into Palenque, if you wish to hire a "guide."

Note: There are several nice hotels in the nearby city of Palenque. There is no reason why you could not visit the Palenque ruins over a two or three day time period. That way, you could "see it all"!

We have links to Priceline on this page so you can find airlines and hotels that serve those areas.

no one deals like we do! no one deals like we do!

The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
First We Must
Climb 52 Feet Up
To The Stone Temple
At The Top
Of The
Temple Of Inscriptions!
Enter The Small
Temple On Top.
There Is A
Secret Entrance.Into The
Temple Of Inscriptions!
The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Audrey DeLange Begins The Decent Into Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
It Is 26 Steps Down
Toward The West.
Audrey DeLange
Begins The Decent!
Audrey DeLange At The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.Audrey DeLange At The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Audrey DeLange Notices
The Tunnel Opens.
Audrey DeLange Notices
The Tunnel Turns
To The East.
Audrey DeLange At The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.George DeLange At The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Audrey DeLange
Notices Its
Twenty Two
More Steps Down
To The East.
George DeLange
Notices It
Opens Into A Small Room.
The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Lord Pakal's Tomb.
Adjacent To
The Small Room.
When First Discovered,
Pakal Was Inside.
Face Covered With Jade Mask!
The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.The Real Tomb of Lord Pakal The Great, K'inich Janaab' Pakal. Lord Pacal's Tomb. Palenque Archaeological Ruins. Near Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico. Travel & Tour Pictures, Photos, Information, Images, & Reviews.
Reproduction TheTomb
In Mexico City.
Reproduction TheTomb.
In Mexico City.

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Other Palenque Archaeological Site Pages!

Palenque Archaeological Site Page One

Palenque Archaeological Site Page Two

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Palenque Museum Page

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