The autumn equinox is here, and there’s no better place to witness it than Dzibilchaltún.
Thursday and Friday will be prime time to watch the sunrise at the famous Temple of the Seven Dolls. The Maya had an incredible knowledge of astronomy and built its columns to align perfectly with the rising sun twice a year — the spring and fall equinox.
Already this morning, the archaeological site drew a small crowd of early risers. This year, admittance to the site for the equinox is being limited to 250 people a day, so if you intend to go tomorrow make sure to be at the site no later than 5 a.m.
Despite several reports that entrance to Dzibilchaltún to view the equinox would be free, this was not the case. The cost was as normal, 85 pesos for residents of Yucatán and 185 pesos for everyone else.
The sun aligns precisely with a pair of east- and west-facing doors, illuminating the structure with a burst of light.
Dressed in traditional indigenous garb, dancers performed ceremonies at these and other sites, including the nearly 2,000-year-old sun pyramid of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City.
Some visitors travel hundreds or thousands of miles to be there for the phenomena. “We’re here to steal a little bit of its energy,” said one past participant from Veracruz. Another said that the event “fills me with energy, fills me with strength, fills me with power, fills me with wisdom.”
Dzibilchaltún, about 10 miles north of Mérida, is less well known than Chichén Itzá, and is a quieter alternative to the pyramid and its famous serpent.
Once the sun is up, there’s still plenty to see. Designated as a national park in 1987, Dzibilchantún covers an area of 5.39 kilometers.