The Singing Rocks of Teloloapan

As the sun lay low on the horizon, we took a little side trip to a massive uplifting of gigantic stones that tower above the city. Some of the rocks in this area are known to “sing,” emitting a deep, resonant musical tone, like a large bell, when struck with another rock.

Singing Rocks, Parque de Campana, Teloloapan, MexicoThe locals have been coming here for centuries to make the rocks sing, and as with many such places of uniqueness, a legend has grown up to explain the phenomenon. Like Romeo and Juliette and so many other legends, this too has an element of unrequited love.

According to one version of the Aztec legend, on the death of King Azteca Ahuitzol, in order for his son, Tecampa , to succeed him, he had to conquer more land and bring more people into the empire. Tecampa conquered many peoples but when he came to Mexicapan, the chief, Texol, and his people battled with Tecampa for nearly a month.

Though Tecampa did not capture the city, he did succeed in capturing the springs that were the only water source, thus the people of Mexicapan were dying of thirst. Texol’s daughter, princess Na, who was always at his side, even in battle, feeling that the life of the warriors was more important than her own, volunteered to go and get water for the people, even at the cost her life.

With her maidens to accompany her, she set off for the pile of rocks where the  springs were located. When she arrived, she found a strong, young warrior, the king of the Aztecs, “contemplating the infinite.” He fell instantly in love with the beautiful princess, and granted her request for water for her people under the condition that she return the next day at sunrise where he would give her not water, but his heart.

She returned the next day and Tecampa asked her to go with him to the center of his empire near the mountain of Toluca, where together they would make his people happy.

But King Texol followed his daughter that day, and upon seeing her in the arms of his mortal enemy, his heart was broken and he angrily uttered a curse that the two young lovers be turned to stone. Immediately the two bodies were merged into one large stone, one seemingly holding the other, forever. Now when a stone is touched to the rock, the young lovers sing with tenderness.

Now named Parque de Tecampana, what used to be just a local attraction, where you scrambled up the mountainside on a dirt path to climb the rocks and make your own music, the city has decided to create a real tourist attraction, with gates, paved paths, a playground, an amphitheater, bathrooms, and even exercise area at the top (though really, just climbing the hill is exercise enough!)

 

Main Entrance, Parque de Tecampana, Teloloapan, MexicoLove this accessible entrance, don’t you? There is no way you could push a wheelchair up this ramp, nor the pathway above; I don’t think even my friend Shelley’s electric scooter would make it. But if you ask, the locals, they will direct you to a back entrance that is a fright to drive but takes you to a much more level path to the singing rocks.

Amphitheater, Parque de Campana, Teloloapan, MexicoAmidst all this “beautiful,” new construction, is an old shack. It seems that the land is owned by a young man whose family has lived there for generations. The city wanted to buy the land to make it into an official park, but he refused — it was his ancestral home. Finally they made him an offer he could not refuse. Let them improve the area into a park and they will build him a better home and let him be the caretaker. A win-win — he and his ancestors, who may just be related to Tecampa and Princess Na, can continue to make the rocks sing, at least for his lifetime.

FYI — I did some research on what might make the rocks sing and came across an article by someone with some scientific background that determined that it is a combination of the type of rock, crystalline diabase, and the fact that the ringing rocks are supported on points of other rocks thus allowing them to ring rather than thud. If you want more information on ringing rocks, which occur in various places around the world, see this article about Ringing Rocks Park, in Pennsylvania. Or follow this link to hear them ring. (They kind of sound like the bell the trash collectors ring in Mexico.)

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Teloloapan

A little over an hour, and two buses, north and west of Taxco is the town of Teloloapan,  where mi amiga ,Vanessa, lived when she first came to Mexico.

We went for a special event and stayed with Pedro and Bonfilla (hope that’s spelled correctly) and their family, whom Vanessa had gotten to know in the States.

The family runs a tienda, a little neighborhood store, high on a hillside overlooking town, though not quite as high as his parents’ house which has a fabulous view of the city.

They literally live “above the store,” which is only a few steps from the open door to their living room. Rather than having to sit and “man the store”, this arrangement allows them to be doing something in the living or kitchen area and still hear and greet customers as they come in.

Tienda, Teloloapan, MexicoLike a PDQ, they sell a little of everything — things one might need immediately, avoiding a time consuming trip to the big market downtown. Children come in for candy or snacks and are often sent to get milk, cheese, or Coke  for the meal while mama is cooking.

 

 

Grinding corn into masa, Teloloapan, MexicoThe day starts early as, each morning, neighborhood women bring their corn to be ground into masa so they can make fresh tortillas for the day’s meals.

The family, their parents, and even neighbors up the street, hosted a house full of company from other towns, far and wide. Everyone congregated at their house for a simple dinner of beans and hot homemade tortillas with fresh salsa roja (red) and, of course, Coca (Cola.)   We laughed, we talked, we shared photos of family — a good time was had by all. Every bed in the house, and even makeshift pallets on the floor provided a good night’s rest.

Making breakfast the following morning proved to be a bit of a challenge as we discovered that we had run out of gas for cooking and heating water. Being Sunday and not being able to get more until Monday, cooking was done the old fashioned way — over an open fire.

Calabasa (squash), Teloloapan, MexicoAn overhang in the yard protects the cooking area from rain and the relentless sun. A big pot of corn boiled away in the corner (to be ground into masa later), water was heated for baths (aka bucket showers) in the other, and in between tortillas were made (even we gingos got in on the act) and a pan of hot coals cooked other breakfast items — huevos (eggs), frijoles (beans), salsa, and a huge pot of calabasa (squash).

Cooked slowly with piloncillo, cones of natural brown sugar, the squash  turns into a delectable, mouth watering treat, to be served, sometimes with milk, for breakfast or as a snack or desert. MMMMMMM!

After breakfast, we all piled into the car and drove to the assembly grounds, where an old quarry site was transformed for the day with the aid of a makeshift tent, made out of corn and flour sacks, which provided much needed shade from the hot sun. I loved watching the wind ripple through the floating panels to the end where, with a poof, it escaped once more to the open air. Almost as interesting as cloud watching.

I am always amazed at the resourcefulness of the people here; nothing useful ever goes to waste.