Taos Pueblo: Home of our ancestors since ages

North America | | January 4, 2011 at 2:49 am




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Are you wondering at the name? Can’t make out as whether it is a city or a museum? Well, Taos Pueblo is the sole surviving as well as largest multi-storied structure of the Pueblo in America. It is an old pueblo meaning a community of apartment-like edifices composed of primarily adobe mud and stone and holding multiple storeys flanking an open plaza certainly made by and for the Pueblo People. Nestled outside the legendary site of Taos, today, Taos Pueblo in New Mexico is the sole Native American community that is a National Historic Landmark as well as World Heritage Site.

Structure

Always being occupied for more than 1,000 years, this amalgam of multi-storied adobe edifices was erected for the purpose defense. Taos Pueblo’s most famous architectural aspect is its residential, reddish-brown complex split by the Rio Pueblo, a small stream. The pueblo’s north side is among the most painted as well as photographed edifices in the Western Hemisphere. Access to the lower floor rooms was via the ladder that used to be up to the roof after which one needs to go down via the inner ladder. So, this very easily reveals its defensive aim – outside ladders can be taken away in case of any attack.

At Taos Pueblo, the residences hold two rooms of which one acts as living or sleeping, while the other is for eating, cooking, and storage. The most unique feature is that each home is self-reliant; no passageways exist amidst the homes. Further, running water, electricity, and indoor plumbing are banned surprisingly! The running river here is the primary drinking and cooking water source for the residents. When winter strikes, the river boasts a thick layer of ice, but never completely freezes facilitating breaking the ice because of its swift move for regaining the fresh water beneath. Taos Indians have made furniture such as beds, tables, and chairs. The entire village is within the pueblo wall except the entrance that is treated as an emblem of the frontier. However, today this wall is short, which in past was taller for safeguarding the flanking tribes.

What to see

It goes without saying that you will first wonder at the multi-story Pueblo structures. On my trip, I loved the wonderful San Geronimo Chapel, but unluckily, no photography is permitted here. Feel the charm of the Sangre de Christo Mountains enclosing via a courtyard arch. Then, you can really check the plaza packed with little shops very well marked. Each of them is also a Pueblo edifice owned as a house by a family. They are also fascinatingly diverse in the sense that a few are modern, but some are the real, traditional pueblo homes. These small shops sell pottery, jewelry, native music CDs, and baked bread in their traditional ovens. Shop directly from here with cash as credit cards here are not accepted. Do taste its peach pastry; its delicious!

Rules

In order to visit Taos Pueblo, one needs to take permission. And yes, you can explore the complex on your own via the map to be picked from the registration booth besides being a part of a scheduled tour by a local tour guide. But still, a guided one is better if you are interested in knowing about these people who are still living today along with their history. The guided tours are of 30 minutes and no reservations are needed. Oh yes, behind the Visitor’s Building, you can relax at any of the public restrooms.

No matter which way you go, you need to treat the people and their dwellings with respect. Never ever enter the edifices here unless they are marked shops or are welcoming people for a visit. Further, no photography of the folks living here is allowed without their permission. Lastly, you need to act very modestly especially at the times of ceremonies and around the church.

Fees

$10 per adult

$5 per student with a valid ID (13+)

$8 per group of 3 or more

$5 as camera fees

Timings

Monday to Saturday: 8 am to 4 pm

Sunday: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm

Reaching Taos Pueblo

From Santa Fe, the drive will take some 1.5 hours. Know the directions to Highway 285 after which it is just a matter of 23 miles. Move towards Highway 68 and go in north for 45 miles after which the Highway is known as Paseo del Pueblo Sur. Via the downtown Taos, move right to be on the Veteran’s Highway leading to Taos Pueblo.

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