Polihau Heiau: The Hawaiian Temple with a Mysterious Past
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Have you been to Polihau Heiau in Kauai? If not, then add it on to your bucket list. It’s a great place to visit and to learn more about Hawaii’s great and ancient history and culture.
Although this heiau might look a bit underwhelming now, let’s use some imagination to picture it in its heyday. Poliahu heiau is special, because it’s located high above the riverbed. Legend has it, that this heiau was built by the Menehune people, the legendary small people of Kauai who were expert architects and builders. Some archeologists suggest that the stones were brought from the Westside of Kauai all the way up here. Wow, that’s some really backbreaking work! As far as the purpose of Poliahu heiau goes… it’s kind of a mystery. Some believe that the heiau is dedicated to Gods and high chiefs, for them to make merry of themselves.
It’s said that deities, gods, semi-gods and high chiefs gathered here once a month on the night of Kane, or the 27th night of the moon. While commoners were too afraid to get close, they could see the glimmer of lights, and hear the beat of drums, the applause and loud laughter from many miles away.
In ancient times, there used to be a bellstone here. This was a huge rock, when struck in just the right way, it would make a deep thumping sound that would echo throughout the valley. This was used to announce important visitors and events, or even the birth of a child.
Also from the small parking area, you’ll get a chance to see a great view of the mighty Wailua River down below. Here you’ll see the Wailua River in all its glory as it makes its final voyage into the Pacific. You might witness a ferry boat from Smith’s Tropical Paradise, a kayak tour or an outrigger canoe headed for Fern Grotto, You might even spot another ancient heiau, Malae heiau, down below.
Once you arrive, get out of the car to enjoy the great view, take some pictures. Oh by the way, if you see chickens roaming here and even coming to you for food, please don’t feed them! The last thing Kauai needs is more chickens!
Remember, always be respectful to the heiau. Never remove or disturb the rocks.
Want to check out the Poliahu heiau for yourself?
It's on our Wailua Valley and Waterfalls Tour!