Ritayan Chatterjee: ‘Men around A.D. 100 raised it. And so fascinating was the view of the temple-lined Avenue of the Dead, a roadway about two-and-a-half miles long that ends with the Pyramid of the Moon’
In the spread sand land, I can see the big pyramid welcoming the visitors. The one is known as The Pyramid of the Sun. To reach the pyramid one has to enter the pyramid complex, which contains two ancient pyramids, a museum and a park, by paying an entry fee of seventy pesos. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The complex is pretty large. I preferred first to reach at the foot of the Sun Pyramid and to climb up before it became too late and the sun reached to the top. Guidebooks say that Teotihuacan becomes too warm at noon. A series of visitors could be seen climbing upstairs. Those who are close to the top, looked as small as Lilliput. Or more like a trail of ants over the brown walls of the pyramid. The visitors were mostly from Mexico, or foreigners may be from the southern Europe.
The structure is like stages over stages with the final one kind of imperfect hemisphere. One has to climb up two hundred and fifty steps to reach the two hundred feet high top. After finishing the steps to the first platform the steps would become stiffer. But as soon as I reached to the platform and got some space to wait, had a long breath and looked at the beautiful city or city ruins from the height, it surprised me, refreshed me, made me forget that I have climbed the steps and I have to climb few more. The view of the ruins of the city of past and that of the beautiful Moon Pyramid was so charming; it creates a sensation of different happiness in the travellers’ mind. Once, the platform was used for the dance performances related to religious practice. Today a young amateur photographer is busy to capture the flying posture of his dancing fiancé. With a group of cheerful people I finished the final steps to reach the top. It is not perfectly flat but not very stiff either. A small uneven field. It is a different feel when you recall that you are standing on one of the largest pyramid of the world, about half as tall as the Great Pyramid of Giza. Men around A.D. 100 raised it. And so fascinating was the view of the temple-lined Avenue of the Dead, a roadway about two-and-a-half miles long that ends with the Pyramid of the Moon.
I took a longer way through the sand to reach the Moon Pyramid. After walking through path beside cactus bushes, I entered the yard, a square area adjacent to the pyramid staircases, surrounded by temple-ruins. The temples’ walls and that of the pyramids are of very typical colour and design made of dots, common in this area. Only a little more than half of the Pyramid of Moon is open for climbing up, the rest is under restriction. At that height it stands like a balcony or a mammoth stage. Reaching there when I turned back, it was kind of dream: at the horizon the trail of mountains, over that backdrop sleeps the Pyramid of Sun, down that the massive central road, the Street of the Dead comes straight to the feet of the stage. In front of me sleeps “the largest city anywhere in the Western Hemisphere before the 1400s”, as described by George Cowgill, an archaeologist at Arizona State University and a National Geographic Society grantee.
Words and photos: Ritayan Chatterjee
About the author: Ritayan Chatterjee teaches Physics in a college in Kolkata. He explores materials science as a researcher, and his heart wanders into places enjoying culture and people as a traveller, be it an academic visit or a leisure trip.