Oahu’s Largest Heiau (Hawaiian Temple) Puu O Mahuka

Puu o Mahuka Heiau on Oahu's North Shore. Photo credit to Joel Bradshaw.
Puu o Mahuka Heiau on Oahu’s North Shore. Photo credit to Joel Bradshaw.

Oahu’s largest heiau,a Hawaiian religious temple, is Puu O Mahuka. You’ll find this temple perched on a hill overlooking Waimea Bay on the North Shore. It’s definitely worth a 20 minute or so diversion from Highway 83 to visit it. Educational plaques are stationed by the heiau. This diversion is also worthy because of views.

It is estimated that this temple was built in the 1600s. This heiau was probably used for religious services until the religious kapu (taboo) system was abolished by the Hawaiian ruler in 1819. Sacrifices were offered to the gods here. Traditionally, food offerings were presented to the gods, but it is reported that human sacrifices may have also been offered here. For more information on the history of this heiau, see this link.

Heiaus are constructed out of stacked stones. The overall shape of a heiau is usually rectangular. This two-page brochure shows a drawing of how Puu O Mahuka once looked.

Puu O Mahuka is managed under the Hawaii State Parks system and visiting this site is free. If you visit, please do not remove and/or stack any stones. Please also be respectful if you see someone worshiping here.

To get here, take Pupukea Road by the Foodland grocery store on the North Shore. Then turn right on Puu o Mahuka. To generate your own driving directions, see this Google Map.  Ample parking is available.

  1. Hi Sheila,

    The Puu O Mahuka heiau is a beautiful and quiet place to visit on Oahu. It provides some of the best views of the North Shore, Waimea Beach and the Pacific Ocean.



  2. Is this a good place to view a sunset? sunrise? If not what areas do you recommend for a sunset and sunrise in Oahu?

    1. It wouldn’t be a good sunrise spot. It might be a good sunset spot, but I’m not sure.

      Lanikai Beach is a beautiful sunrise place.

      Ko Olina, Waikiki and some of the west-facing North Shore beaches are nice sunset spots.

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