Artifacts from ancient Mayan ruins reveal that even far off Latin America was influenced by the Indian Vedic culture. In Honduras, is an archaeological site by the name of Copan, a temple site in ruins. But hidden in the ruins are many clues which authenticate what is stated in some of the verses in the Ramayana.
In the Valmiki Ramayana is the description of a route, which starts from the eastern coast of India, and after crossing five oceans, brings the traveller to Udaya Adri. There the Ramayan states is a settlement of vanaras. This city is known to Sugreeva, the commander-in-chief of the vanaras, and in a conversation with Sri Rama, Sugreeva assures the god-king Rama, that in their world-wide search for the abducted Sita, he would contact and recruit vanaras who dwell in that part of the world, who would scour for Sita in the mountains of Udaya Giri.
|The Mayan Howler Monkey God|
Copan, Hondurus, South America. His stance and the mace in his hand is remarkably close to the Hindu Monkey God Hanuman.
Whether Copan is the site where the vanaras resided in Ramayanic times is of course unknown. That they did reside somewhere close to the Andes is known from the Ramayana. The name Copan is a cognate of the Sanskrit 'kapi' (कपि) which means 'vanara' or 'monkey', and perhaps derives its name from the Sanskrit 'kapi'. However the name Copan has been in use in current times only since 1576. Perhaps the name is much more ancient and has been present in the native folklore and was brought back into prominence in the 1570s.
There is also another site in Honduras which fits the description of the existence of a city of vanaras. It now goes by the name 'La Ciudad Blanca' and is located in eastern Honduras in the La Moskitia or La Mosquitia area. Its exact location has been kept a secret, though it is known that it is near the Twas and Sikre rivers. The site is known to the Honduras Army and also to a team of National Geographic explorers. As for Indians who have read the Valmiki Ramayana, no information about any of these Mayan sites comes as a surprise. More about this site in a later post.
Another interesting fact that adds to the vanara lore is the existence of the 'Kaiapo' - a powerful and well-known Brazilian tribe - who lives in villages along the Xingu River across the Central Brazilian Plateau. The Kaiapo call themselves Mebengokre, meaning 'the men from the water place'. The name Kaiapo was given to them by the neighbouring native tribes, and means 'resembling apes' and was given to them because their men used to dance with monkey masks on festivals and special occasions in honour of their gods and ancestors. It is interesting that 'kaipo' is a cognate of the Sanskrit 'kapi' (कपि) which means 'monkey' - in fact the etymological source of the English 'ape' is unknown and is sometimes attributed to the Sanskrit 'kapi'. This is another clue that authenticates the information contained in Ramayana about settlements of vanaras stationed around Udaya Adri, which is an obvious reference to the Andes.
Another name by which this site was known is Oxwitik, where the meaning of the word witik is unknown. Ox is said to mean three. However since there is another Mayan site by the name Yaxachilan, it may be assumed that perhaps the word that has been decoded as Oxwitik should read Yakshhavitik (यक्षवित्त). That makes Copan a site, not only of vanaras but also of Yakhshas. Yakshahs are guardians of property and do not make use of the property themselves. Various Sanskrit texts mention the kinship between the 'vanars' and the 'yakshas, the rakshasas and the kinnaras. Perhaps the Mayan sites were the residence of these exotic tribes of the ancient Hindu texts. Kubera was the lord of the Yaskshas and in the Ramayanic times Kubera is said to have brought many yakshas and rakshas to Meso-America.