Traveling to Machu Picchu

Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.Elie Wiesel

The Incas undoubtedly rank high on the list of empires that have captured modern civilization’s imagination – and like every great civilization the Incas too have a great romance – one that laid the very foundation of the empire.

Traveling to Machu Picchu

Manco Capac was the original founder of the Inca empire in Cusco. Some say that Manco Capac wasthe direct descendent of Inti, the Sun God, and along with his wife Mama Lloca, who was also his sister, and the daughter of the Moon, they guided the indigenous savages who resided in the Andes towards a civilized life.

While other versions of local lore say that Manco Capac and Mama Lloca were more likely natives of a nearby settlement who gathered their neighboring tribes to conquer the indigenous mountain tribes and thereby establish their empire, there is no doubt that the Incas certainly held the Sun in high regard. This is most apparent in Machu Picchu’s incredible architectural prowess and its highly advanced function as an astronomical observatory of that time.

The Intihuatana stone is the centrepiece of this magnificent feat of ancient science. It has consistently been a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes as well as other significant occurrences in the universe. At mid-day on March 21st and September 21st the sun stands almost directly above the stone altar, leaving no shadow in its wake. Hence its name, Intihuatana, means

Hitching Post of the Sun, as it is almost as if at that moment, the sun is tied to the rock. It was these brief periods that the Incas held most sacred.

The Inca were a deeply spiritual people and according to Peruvian shamans, touching one’s forehead – the third eye – to the Intihuatana stone opened up one’s insight and inner vision. When the Spaniards conquered the Incas, they systematically made it a point to destroy the Intihuatana altars, literally killing the spirit of the Inca.

What makes the Inca empire so much more impressive is the fact that they built the incredible citadels, roads, and monuments without any use of the wheel. It seems as if they preferred to leverage the strength of their man power to literally lift the stone into position and some of the ruins still indicate evidence of handles and levers that may have helped to leverage these mighty slabs of rock into place.

So strong was the faith of the Inca in its leadership and the power of the gods, that until the Spanish conquistadors pillaged them, there was no major known uprising and the empire stretched from Central Chile right up to Colombia. The Inca Empire ran its course like clockwork on the feet of its peasants, its armies, and its belief.

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