Posted 14 April, 2016

Sacred Spaces in the Sacred Valley

Sacred Spaces in the Sacred Valley

In the heart of Peru, several streams and rivulets course out of the gorges of the Andes, to join the River Urubamba or the Rio Sagrado (Sacred River). The waters cut through the mountains to form a valley. The colonists called it the Valley of Yucay, the Incas called it El Valle Sagrado los Incas. We know it as the Sacred Valley – a place the Incas worshipped for its incredible spirituality, fertility, and climactic harmony.

At its epicenter lies Cusco, a well of deep spirituality and culture. Cusco is the perfect place from which to start exploring the Sacred Valley – as well as your mind, body and soul. Even as the altitude wears thin, breathe in the crisp cool air deeply with a yogic pranayama at the Temple of the Moon with one of Enigma’s yoga experts. These gorgeous ruins have an important spiritual significance and are a place of immense tranquility. Enigma’s yoga teachers guide you through the asanas and breathing techniques to align your inner equilibrium, so that it resonates with the rhythm of the Sacred Valley.

A short walk brings you to the Temple of the Monkeys. This tiny but exquisite jewel of archaeology, is filled with fascinating primate iconography. Hewn out of rock, the ancient rock cut monkey figures can be discerned even after so many thousands of years. Make a small offering of local flowers or a piece of fruit at the small shrine of the heart shaped stone.

Walk a little ways to arrive at Q’engo, and pause to meditate as you contemplate the stairway to the Holy Trilogy. According to Andean myth, the holy trilogy consists of the serpent, the puma and the condor, which symbolize our mental, corporal and spiritual faculties (read our facebook post on the Andean Trilogy: Q’engo is a fascinating place and was a path of pilgrimage for the Incas. The labyrinthine zig-zag cuts across the complex which actually consists of four separate blocks of ruins. Q’engo Grande was an important site of worship on the Chichaysuyu – a suyu was the intersection of several ceques, or pilgrim paths. For the ancient Inca, Q’engo not only served as a huaca or shrine, but also as an important astronomical observatory from where they could explore the heavens. A beautiful sequence of caves, altars, thrones, water channels, basins and other such spaces, were hewn out of its rock face. Several of these related to the passage of the sun, and the two little knobs at the head of the ruins cast shadow patterns during the summer solstice. These were known to the Inca as the “awakening of the puma”. At the onset of the solstice, the knobs are bathed in a light and cast a shadow formation that resembles the face of puma. At the equinox, only half the puma’s face is seen.

Beneath the ruins lies a cave, within which are two beautiful altars, and three series of stairs. The three stairs depict the three worlds: The underworld, our current existence, and the world above. At the onset of the summer solstice, sunlight streams into the cave and each of the stairs is bathed in its light in progression.

Follow the course of the Urubamba to your home away from home, the magically rejuvenating Sol y Luna Lodge Spa that lies just on the outskirts of Urubamba. Indulge yourself in an Andean spa therapy at the Yacu Wasi (House of Water) spa – a body massage with coca leaf cream, or an exfoliation with honey and kiwicha (amaranth), may just help to ease out those stressed muscles even further.

A journey to the Sacred Valley opens up your mind, body and soul to the beauty, wisdom, and mystical spirit of the Andean region. Peel back the layers of time and history in this incredible energy center of our planet, to take a journey of the spirit into yourself.

Posted 06 January, 2016

The Tuber Trail - A Journey into Peru’s Quechua Potato Culture

The Tuber Trail  - A Journey into Peru’s Quechua Potato Culture

The next time you eat mashed potato, pause.
You may just be consuming “Ashes of a Soul” that have been beaten to pulp (and chances are, its not yours!).

Did that French fry give you indigestion?
It could be that the gods are upset that you consumed a “Sacred Mountain”.

Feeling a little bloated?
A “Guinea Pig Fetus” may just be resting within your belly.

No – this is not witchdoctor speak. These are in fact various indigenous varieties of the humble potato, which are native to Peru.

Posted 10 March, 2016

Back-Strap Loom: Women Weavers as the Backbone of Peru's Textile Heritage

Back-Strap Loom: Women Weavers as the Backbone of Peru's Textile Heritage

“I always brought my spindle. That’s the easiest thing to bring. You need yarn, you have to produce yarn, you cannot just be a weaver. (My spinning) is the thing I am most proud of today. I was getting good grades, I could have easily dropped my spinning and my textiles. I think emotionally it is from the heart, in your life thing happen that you can’t explain. I just love it… it is something I like to do. The teachers don’t understand why I was interested in it, so a lot of times I just didn’t talk about it.”

- Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, Director of the Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco

In Peru, spinning and weaving yarn is an art form, an intrinsic part of Peru’s national heritage, and an integral part of Peru’s living culture today. Weaving is a tradition that exists in the family. It is passed down from one generation to the next. In the Andes, the women form the backbone of these spinning and weaving communities.

Posted 10 January, 2016

Chicha Street[sm]art

Chicha Street[sm]art

When Elliott Tupac’s work of Chicha Street Art ‘Antes Sonoba’ (I used to dream) was painted over by Lima city officials, the global arts community woke up.

Posted 23 September, 2015

En Famille with Enigma

En Famille with Enigma

In our opinion, few experiences can exceed the joy of traveling with one’s family. Undertake a new adventure, discover a new land and create an indelible bond between each one of you – and what better place than in Peru?

Posted 10 February, 2016

Jungle Fodder - Food Fantasies from the Peruvian Amazon

Jungle Fodder - Food Fantasies from the Peruvian Amazon

Are you known to be an adventurous eater? If so, the Peruvian Amazon will provide fodder for your stomach - and imagination. While fish, fruit and fowl form the staples of an Amazonian diet, exotic additions in the form of protein-enriched grubs like Suri or grilled giant snails, are not to be missed.