The Ulupo heiau is one of the oldest and largest cultural sites on Oahu and is thought to have been constructed by the menehunes. Menehunes are Hawaii’s mythical little people. Hawaiian legend has it that the Menehune were the first settlers in Hawaii, prior to the arrival of the Hawaiians we know today from Polynesia.
It’s believed that menehunes carried lava rocks from as far as 10 miles away to construct this temple. Originally established as a mapele, or agricultural temple, it may have been later changed to a luakini heiau, or sacrificial war temple.
Today the heiau is no longer used for religious reasons, but some say it still has a special mana or spiritual power. It may appear to be just a pile of rocks, but it’s important to stay off of the site and not disturb anything in respect for Hawaiian culture and religion. Below the heiau is a traditional lo’i or taro patch, irrigated by a natural stream. Be sure to explore both!
Shaka Guide’s South Shore Oahu Tour takes you to Ulupo Heiau, in addition to many other must see destinations!