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The Maya called the city Lakam Ha, "Big Water" in Maya. From here Hanab-Pacal, his forefathers and descendents, ruled the surrounding kingdom known as Bak, "Bone." The ruins lie at the base of the Chiapas Mountains overlooking the coastal plain. The surrounding jungle is alive with streams, waterfalls, plant-life, birds, and monkeys living in the jungle canopy.
The charming town of Palenque with its many restaurants and shops is a short ten minutes drive away. Lodging can be found either in town or on the road to the ruins ranging in price from less than $15.00USD to just over $100.00USD per night. Minibuses run between town and the ruins every 15 minutes or so for about $2.00USD.
Upon entering this once great center, the Palace, with its four story tower, invites you to walk the site as royalty once did with grace and reverence. You soon notice yourself talking in a quiet tone of voice when addressing your companions or others you meet there. The Palace itself slows your pace with its grass covered courtyards and maze of steps. You could sit for hours in a shaded courtyard contemplating the stuccoed frescos, reliefs, and hieroglyphic inscriptions.
From the Palace's cool underground rooms, a short walk outside leads to the base of the Temple of Inscriptions. The climb is not difficult, and reaching the top, you stop to catch your breath while looking at the remains of plaster royal likenesses on the piers. Stepping inside the temple, the Inscription panels stand before you beckoning to be read. The steps in the inner chamber lead down below to the tomb chamber and the amazing sarcophagus lid of Hanab-Pacal, the ruler who commissioned many of the buildings we see here.
Crossing the main water canal next to the Palace and up to a terraced courtyard, you stand in the middle of the Cross Group with its temple mounds on all sides. Looking at the Temple of the Sun one can only imagine the beauty and color that once graced this place. Inside each of the temples are panels of inscriptions and reliefs. Everywhere you walk or climb leads to a new terrace with structural remains. In the nearby jungle archaeologists are restoring structures exposing treasure troves within their inner chambers.