Inca Land Explorations – Cusco

I continue on my exploration of the Inca-world, in the second part of my Inca adventure blog, and this time for real and not through the million articles I waded through, the books I read and the documentaries I watched!
Why did I really choose Peru as a country to visit you may ask?  When I was in grade 8, I hated studying history said my mum.  But now that I am older and wiser (hopefully), I have actually developed an interest in our ancient world.  This, coupled with an interest in exploring a whole new country and wanting to step onto a new continent, made me pick Peru, the land of the great Incas for my trip.
Our trip started off rather well and having a consultant husband really helped in getting us upgraded to the Business class in the flight and hotel points got us to a five star hotel. Well, it was certainly getting pampered before our ordeal began!  By ordeal I mean, the 4 day arduous trek that we had decided to undertake in our week there!
Cathedral at Main square
On a bright sunny day, we arrived at Cusco. Cusco that I have spoken about already, back then was the capital of the Incas, and in the modern world is a teeming tourist town with vestiges of Inca Pride.   Cuzco is at an altitude of 3,400 meters above sea level and is the base location for several places of interest including the starting point of several important hiking trails. This city retains many colonial buildings, plazas and streets, Inca walls and ruins, which led to it being declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO
Main Square
Old Inca Palace walls
We undertook a trip to Sacred Valley of the Incas first where we saw our first Inca ruins at Pisac.  There is also a wonderful Sunday fair at Pisac where the local people come together to sell their handicrafts.   Everywhere in Cuzco too, we came across wonderful shops selling Llama wool rugs, woven cloth goods, purses of all sizes, symbolic souvenirs and super knick knacks.  I must say my husband had a really hard time pulling me away from buying everything possible in the shops there!  I certainly was far more interested in the fair rather than the ruins! We must have exchanged our dollars for Peruvian ‘Soles’ at least 10 times in 10 days at the many money exchanges at every turn, each time spending more than we anticipated!
Sacred Valley
Local shop
Pisac ruins
After Pisac, we went to Ollantaytambo which like I had described in my story earlier, had been established as a stronghold of the Incas and a raging battle took place there.  Ollantaytambo (don’t I just love the Quechua names!), was a gorgeous Inca site with walls so finely built and without the use of mortar that not even a knife could pass through them (as you can see in the picture). In 1950, an earthquake had occurred in Cuzco, during which a lot of modern structures including colonial structures came down.  However these Inca walls stood mighty and strong standing testimony to the engineering prowess of the Incas. This site also had well built terraces and granaries.   All the terraces were also wonderfully engineered with varying temperatures at different levels for different crops.  Irrigation was also done using a fine system of canals and aqueducts.  Our guide told us, that the holes seen in the mountain across from where we were were burial chambers for the Inca dead.
Fine Inca wall with niches
Ollantaytambo terraces

Man holding mountain and burial holes in there
Near Cusco, we also visited the South valley to see more sites.  We stopped at Piquilacta or the ‘town of flies’ which was a pre Inca site. I do wonder why it was called so, it certainly would not attract many people to stay there, if it really were full of disgusting flies! This town was a large town, and what remained today were the huge walls they built around the city and the houses.  There even were entry gates to this city and everyone coming in and going out was monitored.  We also visited a few churches around Cusco.  Although, honestly they did not interest me as much as the old Inca structures did, for the sake of memory, we visited the Chinchero and the Andahuaylillas church which is called the” Sistine Chapel of South America.
Piquilacta ruins
Gates at Piquilacta
We began on the next part of our trip, the four day Classic Inca trail, but I will chronicle our journey there in another blog.  When we returned from our trek, tired and with exalted minds more fun was in store for us without our knowing it!  1911 being the year Machu Picchu was discovered, 2011 was the centennial year of its discovery, and we were perfectly in time to be a part of the festivities. We were able to witness a grand spectacle of a military parade and a cultural celebration.  The whole square and streets were full of mirthful dancers and musicians in their eloquent costumes of lions, clowns, traditional Peruvian, colorful flumes of birds, elegant Spanish dancers and masked jesters who swirled about gracefully around us in a parade.  Ah! I can almost hear their lilting melodies and the beat of the music they danced to.
Machu Picchu discovery centennial celebrations
Machu Picchu discovery centennial celebrations
Machu Picchu discovery centennial celebrations
Machu Picchu discovery centennial celebrations
Machu Picchu discovery centennial celebrations
Before I conclude this post on the picturesque town of Cusco however, I would certainly like to make a special mention of our tour agency Llama Path who had made all the bookings for us and were our trek operators.  I have certainly never ever seen the exceptional level of service that they provided at the trek and outside of it.  They did goof up on not booking our hotel, but certainly made up for it by going the extra mile and we had no grouse whatsoever.  At the trek of course, the service was indeed superlative.  Every day, we even had hot water and soap in front of our tents to clean up, tea served on our waking to our tents, warmed plates to eat from and our every need tended to. The guides and porters were courteous and knowledgeable and the chef Caramello’s food couldn’t have been finer in taste or presentation.  I almost feel sorry for our guide Jose, who accompanied us and patiently encouraged the battered miserable us in difficult moments with ‘My champions – you can do it!’ even though we were taking breaks after every 5 minutes, after everyone else in the group were at the top of the mountain already! Llama path certainly was a very commendable and enterprising tour company and I would certainly endorse it to anyone who would be interested.
Like all good things come to an end, our trip did to and it was with a heavy heart that we walked away from the welcoming city with warm people and back into the world of work and humdrum existence.
If I haven’t tired you enough already, do stay tuned for the next blog on the exciting four day trek that we undertook from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. The pictures will certainly not disappoint you!
This post is re-published from my other blog Richland Talk.
About these ads
Categories: Peru, World | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

Post navigation

16 thoughts on “Inca Land Explorations – Cusco

  1. thank you for the fascinating virtual tour of peru!!

  2. BEAUTIFUL pics and write up of this ancient world and one of the complex soceity.Posted pics put forth this place with naive'untouched beauty and a well preserved culture.Agree with you being 'shopaholic' for collecting souveneirs of your trip.My salute to the Inca people for preserving such a natural beauty.Waiting for your next blog.BTW never tired of reading your blogs..Keep writing

  3. @magiceye and Amruta: Thank you. I really appreciate your feedback! Do visit again for the next photo journey I'll publish soon on the Inca trail!

  4. Wonderful !!! Nice Photo Journey in fact.. Here is my personal learning that I would want to share… If you increase the font size along with pics, blog will look much better.. I have recently started doing it and people are liking it..

  5. Machu Picchu is a wonderful place and exclusive heritage of the Incas, lovely to be showcased during the centenary celeberation

  6. Excellent coverage! I loved the virtual tour and could almost feel like I was a part of the journey too.. The captures so beautifully complement your write up!Many thanks Richa, am eagerly looking forward to the next part :-)

  7. An unusual choice for a holiday but your prelude and description have made me curious. Alas were it not for the fact that it at the other side of the globe, I would have jumped in too. Only, no words of encouragement for me on any trek — nothing short of a crane can move me when I am tired :D

  8. Peru has never been on my "Dream Destinations" list, after reading your post i'm thinking of adding it too :)

  9. The Incas and the Mayans have always fascinated us with their remarkable scientific and architectural feats. And to think the Incas achieved all this in just 100 years.Waiting to read about Machu Picchu now :)

  10. Lovely pics and narration! High on my wish list…http://traveltalesfromchennai.blogspot.in

  11. Richa, I must say you are quiet a Maco Polo! That is an absolutely amazing post with perfect images and narration. I leave your travelogue today a lot more enriched than the enlightenment I’d received in ‘The Prisoners of the Sun’!

    • Thanks! I think I should go read up that Tin Tin volume again now that I have been to the Inca Land! I am glad you enjoyed the post and the pictures.

  12. The land of Incas could not have been presented better,Richa with a lovely narritaive and picture perfect setting! Wish I can see the place especially the Machu Picchu trail! Look forward to the write up on the trail:)

    • Richa

      Thanks Rahul for your lovely comment. The place was indeed very picturesque. Will put up the post on the Inca trail soon.

  13. Thanks for the wonderful jouney to Incaland again. Few people go there more than once and thanks to your posts, I have been able to visit it twice. :-)

  14. so nice post.. beautiful pic and great informational article.. well done .. I like the aerial views

Delighted to have you here! Leave me a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45 other followers

%d bloggers like this: