Megan Shute for Only In Your State on a famous revered temple in Kailua Kona. Sea Paradise offers the best in snorkel and manta ray tours. After you finish with your coastal adventure you may want to check out this famous temple in Kailua Kona.
The Ahu’ena Heiau in Kailua-Kona is a truly fascinating historical site in Hawaii. A heiau, pronounced, hay-au, in its simplest form means a temple or a place of worship. But the significance and tradition behind heiau go much deeper than a simple physical structure. Ancient Hawaiian heiaus were built for many reasons, including the treatment of the sick, offering the first fruits, starting and stopping rain, increasing the population, achieving success in distant voyaging, ensuring a nation’s health, or reaching peace. You’ll find the remnants of these temples across the Hawaiian Islands, and while all are sacred, there is one heiau, in particular, that is so revered no one is allowed to step foot inside or on the grounds surrounding it.
Located on a small, artificial island across from Kamakahonu Beach and King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona, the Ahu’ena Heiau is truly fascinating.
Built by King Kamehameha I between 1812 and 1813 to honor Lono, the god of fertility, Ahu’ena was a temple of peace and prosperity.
Many ritual prayers took place here, though it was not a temple of human sacrifice.
These rituals focused on humanity’s higher nature, and Kamehameha would gather the kahuna who would go into a deep trance and receive messages from the gods at the oracle tower (the tallest structure of the heiau).
The stone platform, or paepae, is home to three main structures:
Hale Mana, thatched with ti leaves and trimmed with fern was where the King and his advisors met, and prayer was held, the Hale Pahu which housed the great ceremonial drum and the large white tower, ‘Anu’u, where the high priests communed with the gods. Surrounding these structures are tiki representing various gods, including Koleamoku, the god of healing.
The heiau served as the king’s personal refuge and was his home for the last years of his life.
It is even believed that King Kamehameha died here. As the myth goes, his bones were prepared according to an ancient ritual soon after his death and taken to a secret burial place, perhaps Wawahiwaa Point north of Kailua.
Today, Ahu’ena is so revered that no one is allowed to set foot inside or on the grounds surrounding it. You can, however, check it out from the nearby Kamakahonu Beach.
Ahu’ena is not only a National Historical Landmark but is considered to be one of the most important historic sites in the Aloha State.
The temple was restored in the 1950s, became a Designated National Historic Landmark in 1962, and three decades later, was added to the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places.
History buffs will love admiring this unique site from afar, but everyone can appreciate the sense of serenity you’ll find here.