Considering how precious of a resource water tends to be, droughts aren’t exactly the most welcome of weather conditions. It doesn’t take long for them to become major concerns, even if one of the only solutions is to try and wait one out. As it so happens, though, there may be one hidden benefit to a heavy drought: the reduced water levels mean there’s more land to safely traverse. In the case of one Mexican town, it means more than extended stomping grounds; it can uncover a relic of the past.

The current theory is that El Nino’s powerful activity this year has led to some fluctuations in the weather and climate - and the droughts that have plagued Mexico are some notable consequences.

The southern state of Chiapas is one of the areas affected, which has led to the deterioration of some of its key water deposits. It’s no small wonder, then, that its Nezahualcoyotl reservoir has felt the brunt of the heat; the water levels have dropped more than eighty feet, and could sink even further if the drought continues on. The only respite is that the wateris low enough to reveal the Temple of Quechula - a long-abandoned church left to erode in the reservoir’s depths.

A temple plagued by tragedy

According to official reports, the Temple of Quechula was built in 1564 - a number which puts its age at an impressive 451. The intent back then was to have a new church in place that could handle the rapid influx of new citizens, and as a result become a key fixture of the town as well as a religious center.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen; the Temple of Quechula could never get properly started - or even a proper priest - and the situation only grew direr as the plagues spread in 1773. Ultimately, the temple was abandoned by 1776, and left to its devices. In this instance, that meant no one raised a complaint when the reservoir’s dam was finished in 1966 and the church was flooded - and buried underneath a hundred feet of water.

But with the drought in full effect, the Temple of Quechula has risen again, and people are taking full advantage of it. Granted this isn’t the first time the temple made its return; dire conditions in 2002 brought it back to the surface once before. Still, that happened more than a decade ago, and the restored church represents some strong opportunities.

Ferries have brought curious men and women to the temple’s remains, where they’re free to explore and climb as they wish.

There’s no guarantee that any historical value or artifacts lie hidden within its walls at this stage. Then again, that might not matter; if the temple can serve people better as a playground than as a church - however temporarily - then maybe that’s all anyone could ever ask for.

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