Hawaii is a beautiful place. But, it is also an historical place. There aren’t many places in the world where you can watch sharks swim in the water over an ancient submerged temple – Hawaii is one of them. During your stay at Mauna Lani Point, we highly encourage you to take a trip to nearby Pu’ukohola Haiau, where you’ll be able to get a glimpse into the rich history of the island.
The History at Pu’ukohoala Heiau
Long before the time of King Kamehamaha I, the temple of Pu’ukohola Heiau was built. Today, its ruins are one of the last major ancient Hawaiian temples. The temple was built in 1790 to favor the war god Kūkaʻilimoku. Pu’ukohala Heiau means, “Temple on the Hill of the Whale.” It was built entirely by hand, and involved thousands of people in the building process. The building of the temple signaled the beginning of the unification of all the islands.
Things to See During Your Visit to Pu’ukohola Heiau
Pu’ukohola Heiau is truly a special place. You can see the temple, which is 224 by 100 feet, and surrounded by up to 20-ft walls around it. At the visitor’s center, you can enjoy a small museum, see historical exhibits, and watch videos that explain the history of the area. Additionally, there is a walking tour that allows you to see more sites in the area, including the homestead of John Young (a British sailor who was stranded there in 1790, and became a valuable aid to King Kamehameha I in the following years), and Mailekeini Heiau, which is much older temple, believed to have been built in the 1500’s. Our favorite spot to visit is Hale o Kapuni, which is a temple dedicated to the shark gods. It is completely submerged!
Getting to Pu’ukohola Heiau from Your Accommodations
Pu’ukohola Heiau is only a short, 15-minute drive from your accommodations at Mauna Lani Point. Simply head north on HI-19 for about 6.5 miles, before turning left onto HI-270. Follow the signs for the historic site, and you’ll arrive in a few minutes. We hope you have a wonderful time during your visit to Pu’ukohola Heiau and your glimpse into ancient Hawaii!