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The Magical Valley of Tepotzlan

Written on: Friday March 21st, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

Granja Tixib is located in a tiny hamlet called Ocotitlan nestled amongst craggy cliffs and jagged mountains. About a 15 minute drive down the hill and into the Valley leads to the larger town of Tepotzlan. The town is one of a handful in the valley that is officially recognized as magical or ?Pueblos Magicos?. It is the legendary birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec feathered serpent god, more than 1200 years ago. With seven churches and each hosting several festivals a year, the town seems to always be full of life, music and festivity. With its cobblestone streets, colonial buildings and beautiful mountain vistas the small town ambience is amplified by its numerous street vendors, artists, crafts, writers, interesting shops and lively market on Wednesdays and Sundays. In fact, many streets close down to traffic on those two days and the entire town becomes a marketplace. Known for its hippie atmosphere the town draws daytrippers from Mexico City, spritiual seekers, artists, astrologers, musicians and also the curious. You can have your tarot cards read, fortune told, chakras analyzed and even get a photo of your aura! The openness of the people living here and ambience has also drawn many alternative type centers and communities to set up in the valley. Just down the hill from Ocotitlan is the Ecovillage Huehuecoyotl and Tashirat, a cosmic learning center which hosts yoga and meditation retreats. Numerous other similar holistic centers sprawl across the valley. The Piramide de Tepozteco, built on a cliff 400m above the town was built to honor Tepoztecal, the Aztec god of fertility, harvest and pulque. We haven?t hiked up yet, but plan to before we leave. Pulque is an alcoholic beverage that has been consumed by indigenous Mexicans for over 5000 years. Made by naturally fermenting the juice of an agave plant, it has an alcoholic content similar to that of beer. The drink is homemade and sold in the market (bring your own container) and shady pulquerias. Rob and I both tried it and decided that it wasn?t for us. A large monastery built by Dominican priests between 1560 and 1588 towers above the marketplace. One of the most interesting things to see is how Christianity was fused with the indigenous beliefs and symbols. An amazing seed mural, built from 60 varieties of seed by local artists covers the arched entrance-way and depicts a Christian scene combined with indigenous, nature and astrological symbols.Having arrived in the area during Semana Santa (the week before and after Easter), the town was especially lively and hosting a local artists festival. The streets were packed with vendors, street performers, artists selling various jewellery, paintings, photos, crafts, clothing etc. In the main square a large group of people dressed in costume and mask and were hopping around in a circle signing and dancing. I later learnt that this was the three day ?Festival of the Hop?, part of the Semana Santa Celebrations. Check out the video and watch them hop around!

 

Tashirat also offers free yoga lessons to the community every morning. Considering that the roosters start crowing even before the sun rises we?ve decided that we might as well get up and enjoy the mornings and free yoga classes.

We?re excited about further exploring and discovering this area during the next three weeks. So many interesting people to meet, places to see and things to learn. We will certainly be busy.

 

 

From Colin on Apr 9th, 2008

Do not miss Mexico City!!

From Ana & Chad on Apr 25th, 2008

Nice site. We will check it periodically to see what you're up to. We really liked the pictures of the pyramids in Egypt. See you guys in 15 minutes. Oaxaca, Oaxaca.