Transcription of my Journal: Machu Picchu p3
Three is an important number popping up a lot in Incan culture. There’s 3 golden rules that the Incas lived by:
- Don’t be lazy
- Don’t lie
- Don’t steal
These ideas helped form the incan sun/cross known as the Chakana. Whenever there’s four of something in Incan culture, the four points represent North, South, East, & West; as well as Fire, Water, Earth, & Air; as well as the Incan empire that was divided into four. (With the circle, Cuzco the capital city, in the center)
You know what else has 4 points? The southern cross. It’s not just a symbol bogans of Australia revere so deeply. The Southern Cross was also used by Peruvians as a compass at night, just like indigenous Australians!
Back on the number 3, there’s a 3 sided plaza not far from the quarry at Machu Picchu, called “The Temple of the Three Windows.” It commands an impressive view of the plaza below through 3 trapezoid windows that give the building its name.
With the Temple of Three Windows behind you, the “principal” temple is to your right. Its name derives from the massive solidity & perfection of its construction. There’s a bit of damage to the rear right corner of the temple which was the result of the ground settling below its corner, rather than a weakness in its construction.
Located near the entrance to the Wayna Picchu trial is the “Sacred Rock.” Some say it’s carved to look like a guinea pig. Some say it imitates the mountains behind it. No one knows exactly of its purpose, but it makes for some great daggy tourist photos!
Transcript of my Journal: Machu Picchu p2
Where to begin?
Walking up from the bus stop I was beside myself with excitement. I was short of breath, but that might just have been the high altitude.
There’s some incredibly beautiful flowers on that path. After only 5 minutes it opened up to a grassy terrace. Fog was very thick, shrouding the view before me. As the fog rolled over the mountain a patch would clear giving you a tiny glimpse of the sight before you, only to quickly cover up again. Habir was busy talking for about 20 minutes, and after that the fog cleared, revealing the classic postcard shot!
There’s a magnificent stone archway in the wall surrounding Machu Picchu which I’m told once had a big wooden door in it. There’s these interesting bumps and holes which once held it in place.
I made my way up some steep steps to the sun dial. I don’t think it’s possible to take a bad photo at Machu Picchu, but I’ll say it anyway: the view from here was spectacular!
On the summer solstice the sun shoots through a hole in the opposite wall, passes over the tip of the sun dial & hits an unusual shaped brick paved into the ground. It’s meant to look like a puma, representing the living world. There’s a little symbol carved into where the eye would be.
The puma is an important symbol to the Peruvians. Like many religions there’s 3 plains of existence.
- The underworld represented by the snake, symbolizing knowledge (Which I found interesting because it reminded me of the symbol for medicine which also happens to be snakes, entwined around a staff!)
- There’s the living, as a said represented by the puma, symbolizing strength.
- The condor represents the heavens, as well as freedom.
You’ll learn that 3 is a magic number in Peruvian culture. It links to plains of existence, ideals, laws, hierarchy of society, jewelry, pottery, achitecture, and all sorts of things you wouldn’t expect.
Transcription of my journal: Machu Picchu p1
Today has been one of the best days of my life. This is the stuff patronuses are made of!
My day started at 5:10am. I said goodbye to that wonderful hotel Sonesta Posadas del Inca, with its beautiful views, gorgeous lush gardens & charming rooms.
It was a half hour trip from the hotel to Ollantaytambo where the Vistadome train was ready to take me to Machu Picchu.
The train was just terrific. The dry grass-covered mountains slowly became more and more lush. The Urubamba beside gained more strength as more creeks joined the flow. Gum trees were replaced with jungle, cacti replaced with orchids. I’m told some 300 orchids grow in Peru. The train snaked its way through the Sacred Valley for an hour, over 43 kilometers.
I hadn’t even made it to Machu Picchu but I’d already been filled with awe at the beauty of the Urubamba & and Sacred Valley. I’d have been happy spending a whole day on that train, but we made it to the base of Machu Picchu mountain & it was time to hop aboard a bus to take me up zig-zagging through the jungle. This day just got better and better!
As the bus twisted through the valley it showed and hid different views of the hillsides, epiphites & orchids, climbing vines & moses decorating every tree. Chinchillas darted from rock to rock as humming birds attended the beautiful blue & red flowers.
Running straight up through the bus route you can find a beautiful lichen-covered stone stairway. The trip apparently takes 3 hours, but I reckon it’d be just marvelous. It connects to the 4 day Inca trail which I’d love to do some day.
Notes from my journal from when I traveled to Machu Picchu.
- My sketch of Wayna Picchu from the hill of the Intihuatana stone
- Arriving at Machu Picchu
- About Machu Picchu
- Incan symbolism
- Chakana and its symbolism (I may be missing information, or laid it out in the wrong order. I’m just repeating what my friend Habir told me)
Bromeliads of Machu Picchu.
One of the horticultural curators I met on the terraces Machu Picchu
I’m imitating a guinea-pig beside the Sacred Rock of Machu Picchu. Some say it’s a guinea pig, some say it resembles the shape of the mountain peaks in the distance. It was a fairly mysterious day with mist rolling through mountains, so I couldn’t see them. It’s definitely a guinea-pig to me!
There’s this town in the valley below Machu Picchu called Aguas Calientes which looks like something out of a fantasy novel. Imagine drains carved like serpents, fountains flowing at the end of every street, statues of brass and copper and stone, cobblestone alley-ways full Peruvian shops.
The town spreads down the valley with the mighty Urubamba river loudly cascading through the middle.
It was wonderful to visit!
Twitch Plays Pokemon or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Helix Fossil.
Sitting in the Pachakutiq Inka Yupanki’s or Inca ruler’s living quarters at Machu Picchu. Imagine how it would have been in its prime with coloured woolen tapestries, plush carpets, golden ornaments, exotic perfumes and scents. Statues of condors and pumas and llamas and snakes; collections of fine jewelley, patterned clothes, and detailed accessories. It would have just been marvelous!
It’s so hard to imagine that place even more beautiful than it currently is!