Hanalei Valley on the island of Kauai is known for it’s many taro patches. Almost all of the photographs I have seen are taken from a lookout above the valley. As I drove down into the valley to make some panoramas in the taro patches I soon discovered why. Practically the entire taro farming area is also a National Wildlife Refuge. There are no places on the side of the roads to park. And every 50 feet are "Keep Out" signs posted by the National Wildlife Refuge Service. My one attempt to make a panorama on the edge of a taro patch was cut short within five minutes by a farmer explaining that his family had grown taro for several generations in the area. And that they could be evicted for allowing “tourists” onto their farm land. He was very polite and I quickly left his land.
While driving around the taro farms I came across an old cemetery. In the middle was a very large altar. I have visited a number of cemeteries here in Hawaii and had never seen anything like this before. My research has yielded the following:
The Hanalei Chinese Cemetery, also known as Ah Goong San (Grandfathers Mountain) was built by and for the Chinese workers that built the water irrigation system in the valley many years ago. Today people of all backgrounds are buried here.
In the center of the cemetery is a large concrete altar. The altar is called The Tomb of Grand Ancestor and is named for the first person buried in the cemetery, or, it may be called Grand Ancestor Tomb and is named for all those buried there.
The platform and apron in front of the tomb is the site of the annual Qingming (Pure Brightness) festival. On this occasion, the front of the tomb is cleared and swept and offerings of food, incense and other items are made to the spirits.
This altar also has the "Omega-style" tombstone, in the center, shaped like the last letter of the Greek alphabet. This allowed the spirits to observe this world in a relaxed, seated position. Omega-style tombstones could be found throughout the Twentieth Century and were indicators of wealthy Chinese families.
Special thanks to the following people in my quest for more information on this site: Sue Fawn Chung, Terry Abraham, Priscilla Wegars, Carol Goo and Nanette Napoleon.
Apple Safari iOS devices: built-in web browser Android Tablets, Mobiles:Google Chrome strongly recommended. Warning: Panoramas are big pictures. Insufficient RAM may cause your browser to quit unexpectedly!
For some panoramas made before 2009:
Quicktime VR plugin, which is part of Quicktime 7
Note: Most Panoramas will work on most mobile and desktop devices. Some contributions may require Flash, some will only work with Quicktime VR.
PLEASE RESPECT THE ARTIST’S WORK. All images are copyright by the individual photographers, unless stated otherwise. Use in any way other than viewing on this web site is prohibited unless permission is obtained from the individual photographer. If you're interested in using a panorama, be it for non-profit or commercial purposes, please contact the individual photographer. The WWP can neither negotiate for, nor speak on behalf of its participants. The overall site is copyright by the World Wide Panorama Foundation, a California Public Benefit Corporation.