Twice a year – when day and night are perfectly balanced – this formidable symbol of Mayan civilisation attracts swathes of visitors, drawn to the site to witness and relive what was one of the most sacred events in the Mesoamerican calendar – the Equinox.
As sunlight hits the four faces of the grand El Castillo pyramid, the great serpent deity of Kukulcan is called forth with a single handclap. Slowly but surely, a distinctly snake-like shadow creeps ominously down the steps, coming to rest at the hulking stone head of the god, before descending back into the Underworld again. Upon this appearance, a prosperous harvest and salubrious life would be bestowed.
Though there are some alterations to the traditional ritual (the omission of human sacrifice being the most notable), the descent of Kukulcan acts as a reminder of the incredible architectural, mathematical and prophetical proficiency of one of the most significant ancient societies in world history.