Stele in Bonampak

Bonampak – Mayan Temples in the Selva Lacandon – Chiapas, Mexico

Bonampak – Maya Temples in the Selva Lacandon – Amazing Temples and Pyramids
Bonampak is a very special travel destination. It is located in the Selva Lacandon, the forest of the Lacandons. It is west of the river Rio Usumacinta and around 30 km from Yaxchilan. All this is located in the lowlands of Chiapas and just beside the border to Guatemala.

Bonampak - Stela
Bonampak – Stela

Famous and Amazing Murals at Bonampak

Most amazing of Bonampak are the wall paintings, that have been detected there in the Temple of Murals. Bonampak is famous for them. These murals are unique due to their quality and scenery.

Bonampak Murals - Mayan Art - Chiapas - Mexico
Bonampak Murals – Mayan Art – Chiapas – Mexico

The paintings show very detailed pictures of the ancient mayan life. The interpretation of the scenes is not always clear and sometime subject of speculations. Amongst others it seems that the artists illustrated a procession of  dancing priests or musiscians, war scenes and a court of war prisoners. The Temple of Murals is the only temple in Bonampak with several rooms. The paintings date to a time around 790 AD.

Bonampak - Main Pyramid with several Temples
Bonampak – Main Pyramid with several Temples

Bonampak was founded during the early classic period before 500 AD. It seems that it was an independent city at the beginning, but lost this status after some wars again Yaxchilan. The construction of the Temple of the Murals was performed in this time of dependency. Bonampak was abandoned at the same time as Yaxchilan, during the 9th century.

Bonampak - Top of the Pyramid
Bonampak – Top of the Pyramid

The site seems to be small because just a small area in front of the main pyramid is open for public access.


A Place of Worship for the Lacandones

Until today the temples of Bonampak are used for religious purposes and worship by the indigenous Lacandones who live nearby. They manage the site and tourist information there. Not far away, the small village Lacan-Há is the center of the remaining Lacandones in this area. They have several offerings to stay over night there.

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How to get to Bonampak

It’s possible to get there within 3 hours from Palenque by public transportation, but I would recommend to do this as an organized 2 or 3-day trip. Tourist offices in Palenque offer such trips and include a visit to Yaxchilan as well. From Lacan-Há it’s possible to do a jungle walk to watch the nature, to see other pyramids and a waterfall not far from that village.

A very detailed article describing the murals can be found here:

Bonampak – Mayan Temples in the Selva Lacandon – Chiapas, Mexico was last modified: March 31st, 2017 by Christian Schoen

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