At the Spring Equinox, many travelers venture to Chichen Itza to view the shadow snake descend down the stairs of El Castillo, the site’s largest pyramid. However, Chichen Itza isn’t the only Mayan site with a Spring Equinox event!
The ancient Mayan city of Dzibilchaltun is home to a structure known as the Temple of the Seven Dolls. Twice a year on the Equinox, the sun shines directly through one window of the Temple of the Seven Dolls and out the other, showing how the ancient Mayans often incorporated their understanding of astronomy into their architecture to display the power of their gods.
The Temple of the Seven Dolls gets its name from seven small figurines that were found on the altar when the temple was discovered back in the 1950s. Today, the dolls are housed in the city’s on-site museum.
Dzibilchaltun is located 30 minutes north of the Yucatan capital city of Merida, about 4 hours from the Riviera Maya. It has more than 8,000 buildings over 10 square miles, most of which have yet to be excavated by archaeologists, and it was populated by the Mayans from 300 BC up until the Spanish conquests. Its extensive history makes Dzibilchaltun an important site for understanding the changes in Mayan culture across the centuries.
Another of the main features at Dzibilchaltun is Cenote Xlakah, set around the city’s ruins. It’s believed to have served as a water source for the ancient Mayan population and possibly as the center of a religious cult as well. Today, the picturesque cenote is used for swimming and recreation by tourists and locals.
If you’re looking for an “off the beaten path” Spring Equinox experience during your travels to the Yucatan Peninsula, visit Dzibilchaltun Mayan ruins to see the sun shining through the portal of the Temple of the Seven Dolls.