Posted by: kauaikolea2 | August 14, 2014

Ancient Hawaiian Sites and Treasures: Heiaus on Kauai


The east side of Kauai is considered by many to be a deeply spiritual place.  Modern-day residents and visitors are not alone in this assessment: the ancient Hawaiians also felt that this area was special and made it one of their spiritual centers.  As you travel around the island, you will see historical markers for heiaus. A heiau is a Hawaiian temple for the ancient Hawaiian religions. Many types of heiau existed, including heiau to treat the sick (heiau hōʻola), offer first fruits, offer first catch, start rain, stop rain, increase the population, ensure health of the nation, achieve success in distant voyaging, reach peace, and achieve success in war (luakini).

Heiau were made in different shapes depending upon their purpose. A heiau could have been in many different forms, such as simple stone markers to large stone platforms, both parts of human sacrificial temples. They could be rectangular, square, or rounded. Some consisted of simple earth terraces, while others were elaborately constructed stone platforms. They could be placed on hills, cliffs, level earth, valleys and on the coastline touching the sea. Some koʻa or fishing shrines were built underwater. Heiaus of the people varied in size. Large heiaus were built by prominent people while small heiaus were built by the humble common folk.

When the ancient religion and its ceremonies (including human sacrifice) were banned in 1819, many heiaus were destroyed.  Some have been rebuilt and some remnants of destroyed ones remain. A lovely heiau is adjacent to our properties at Islander on the Beach and Kapaa Sands.  Very often, brides leave flowers from their wedding bouquets at the heiau and it is common to see offerings of other flowers and fruit.

Another heiau close to our rental properties, including Kauai Beach Resort, is the Hikinaakala Heiau. Hikinaakala means the “rising of the sun” in the Hawaiian language. Since it is located on Kaua’i’s east shore, it offers a nice view of the sunrise. In ancient Hawaii, the dawn was celebrated with chants and prayers. Located at the northern end of Lydgate Beach Park next to the mouth of the Wailua River, Hikinaakala Heiau encompasses about 1 acre of land. The heiau’s walls are believed to once have been 6 feet (1.8 m) high and up to 11 feet (3.4 m) wide. However, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, after the traditional Hawaiian religion was abolished, many of the rocks were taken away or used in roadbeds. Today, only the heiau’s foundation stones remain. The exact date when the heiau was built is unknown, but it is believed that it was as early as the 1300s. The heiau’s large size suggests that it used to be an important site. A row of wooden ki’i (images), known as ka pae ki’i o Wailua, once stood outside the heiau’s stone walls facing the river mouth. These ki’i statues watched over the site and were said to sway and tilt due to the action of the ocean.

Should you visit a heiau, please remember that these are sacred places: do not sit or stand on the stones.  Never remove or move the stones

So come, visit our ancient sites, all close to these amazing ancient sites.  We have a property that will fit your needs from king to queen to 2 full beds, ground floor with handicap access, oceanfront and ocean view, and 2 amazing places at Kapaa Sands with full kitchens.  You can book safely on line at any time.  See all Hula Now’s offerings at or call 1.855.Hula Now.

Wishing you warm Aloha!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: