On a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the island of Kauai lies one of Hawaii’s most important archaeological and cultural sites – the hula platform known as Ke Ahu a Laka (the altar of Laka). According to legend it is here where the ancient art of hula originated. This heiau (sacred temple) was dedicated to Laka (the goddess of hula in Hawaiian mythology). Dancers throughout Hawaii, and perhaps beyond, journeyed in ancient times to train with a hula master in the art of hula at this revered place.
Legend has it that the fire goddess Pele made her eternal home here. Hiiaka and Laka, her deity sisters, began the dance and song that Hawaiians used to preserve and teach their heritage, oral traditions and culture. The art form to express this knowledge is the hula and its chants.*
The hula platform contains a large open area where the art of hula is said to still be practiced to this day. Archaeological remains include stones that outline the heiau. Next to the back cliff is a section marked by rocks that is thought to be the actual altar. Offerings, including Lei, are sometimes left at the altar by worshippers.
Nearby, on the beach below, is the sacred Kilioe Stone.
Those who visit should show proper respect and not disturb the site.
Hula Heiau Kauai Photos
The area thought to be the altar.
Drone photos of the hula complex.