Machu Picchu Pueblo 1/12 by Tripoto
All year
Couples, Friends
1 out of 15 attractions in Aguas Calientes
Gargi Vishnoi
Arvind Kamath
On reaching the top, the friendly staff at the tourist desk hand over a navigation map of the site and also offer guide service for a fee. I was accompanied by my Peruvian friend, who had earlier been to Machu Pichhu couple of times and offered to be my guide. I also got my passport stamped with the name “Machu Pichhu” asa souvenir. The air is really thin at the top and care needs to be taken not to over exert. Fortunately the weather was extremely sunny and pleasant that day (20 degrees Celsius),which is a rarity. Maybe we were blessed by the Sun God that day. Located about 2.400 meters above sea level on a small hilltop between the Andes mountain Range, the mystical city soars above the Urabamba Valley below. Built by the Inca Kings, this majestic structure was considered a lost city until it was discovered in 1911 by an American archaeologist named Hiram Bingham and later declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. It was estimated that approximately 1,200 people could have lived in the area, though many say it was most likely used as a retreat for Inca rulers. Due to it’s isolation from the rest of Peru,living in the area full time would require traveling great distances just to reach the nearest village. Since majority of the Incan population lived in and around the Andes Mountains, cities like Machu Picchu were generally reserved for those of a more rich and noble blood. It still remains a mystery as to how and why this ancient city fell. Was it war, earthquake, smallpox or the ruthless Spanish invasion? However the Spanish invaders did not know about Machu Pichhu although they controlled the majority of Inca Empire settlements, including nearby Cusco. Had they known about this site, when they arrived in the 1500's, Machu Picchu would probably have been lost to the world as local people say. As local history goes, Machu Picchuwas probably built around the year 1450 AD, and it only thrived for approximately 100 years. Once abandoned, the site survived only within the knowledge of locals who knew about its existence. Machu Picchu would live in lore until its rediscovery in 1911 by Hiram, who was exploring the area when he found the ruins with the help of a local farmer. Coincidentally Bingham found thousands of Inca artifacts upon his discovery of the ruins which are now housed at a museum in Cusco. Due to the fact that it had remained in obscurity for hundreds of years, Machu Picchu has been preserved and appears today much like it would have during its heyday. Among the most impressive characteristics of Machu Picchu is the technique that was employed to build it. It is still a general mystery as to how the In camanaged to move the large rocks that they used to construct the city,especially when you consider how it is perched almost precariously over the Urubamba River valley. You will likely stand in awe upon examining how these rocks were so expertly joined without the use of cement. The rocks of Machu Picchu were painstakingly carved until they perfectly fit the stones around them. Since the timing of my visit coincided with the Inti Raymi or Sun God festival celebrated on June 22nd (shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere), the period is considered very high season. There were lot of tourists especially from US, Japan and Europe. I could sight one lone Indian couple from Hyderabad in the crowd of about 2,500 visitors which is the maximum allowed in a day bythe Peruvian Government. The adventurous tourists take the Inca trail to Machu Pichhu that lasts 2 to 4 days of trekking. Some even scale the nearby mountain called Waynapicchu located quite a distance from the main site. At Machu Pichhu one can visit three primary structures i.e. Intihuatana (Hitchingpost of the Sun), the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. We used the route map to cover these places as well as Astronomical observatory, Temple of the Condor (bird worshipped by the Incas) and the fountains. I was amazed to see a rock resembling a sun dial perhaps used as a clock those days; vessel like objects and the huge condor bird carved in stone. The Temple of Sun God is prohibited to the visitors as reconstruction activity is still going on. The site is secured by guards posted all over the place, perhaps to ensure safety of this marvelous structure. The stepped terraces apparently used for agriculture is really intriguing and I could sight few llamas (National animal of Peru)grazing on the lush green grass. Close to the Astronomical observatory, there are orchids and trees with beautiful flowers, which are soothing to the eyes.It takes about 3 hours to see the entire site of Machu Pichhu and those interested in archaeology could perhaps spend an entire day. Thanks to the lovely weather, we were not tired even after 3 hours of hard trekking. Since no food is allowed within the premises we had to go back to Aguas Calientes for lunch followed by shopping for souvenirs to take back memories of Machu Pichhu. There are plenty of restaurants that serve all kind of cuisines but I settled down for a local Peruvian restaurant. The trip back to Cusco left me with profound memories of this great wonder and i tremains even after I landed in India.It’s a mysterious location, which leaves lot of questions unanswered even to this date. A must see location for those who love adventure and want to be left intrigued for years to come.
I Have Travel Lust
To climb up to the entrance of Manchu Picchu took 1 hour and a further 1 hour steep rocky climb to Wayna Picchu. Sunrise at Manchu Picchu wasn’t terribly fantastic and the light quickly turned to a dull grey sky, at least it didn’t rain up in these Andean mountains! There were 2 timings up to Wayna Picchu and I was recommended the 11am timing when the fog and cloud dissipated, but it gets really hot and I would sweat off all 1 liter of my water bottle. Reluctantly paid a whopping us$5 for a tiny bottle of water! The view overlooking Manchu Picchu was amazing and photographs hardly express my feelings of this amazing Inca complex.It is said that Manchu Picchu is a spiritual university for the Incas where selected scholars and priests who come study the various science of that time, astrology being one of them. Whatever it was, the whole place gave me a huge sense of how amazing and god smacking awesome to have built this great university complex right in the mountains.
Yellow River Peru
Most people visit the sacred ruins during their time in Peru. It's an impressive location, breathtaking scenery and fascinating architecture. Try to get up to the ruins on the first bus or start walking the 1800 steps at around 4am to be one of the first let in to the park.
Jenny McIver
It was rainy season when I visited but on the second day my persistence was rewarded with a sunny afternoon. My favorite part of visiting Machu Picchu was hiking Machu Picchu Mountain for a bird's-eye view of the ruins. For the uninitiated – as I was until recently – Machu Picchu was 'rediscovered' by Hiram Bingham in 1911. At the time, the Machu Picchu area wasn’t unknown, but the ruins themselves remained undiscovered by the outside world until Bingham’s expedition. No one knows for certain what role the lost city played to the Incas but the generally accepted theory is that Machu Picchu was an agricultural outpost used to maximize the rare and valuable growing zone between the Amazon jungle and the high valleys of Cuzco. Regardless of its original purpose, it is impossible to understate just how impressive the site is as you approach it (rain or no rain). It was much larger than I realized and you could easily spend days exploring every nook and cranny. Obviously, I didn't have that much time (or intense desire for knowledge) so I opted for the scenic route. Though the rain had let up considerably from earlier in the day, it was still cold and dreary and hard to get great pictures with the clouds covering most of the top of Huayana Picchu. I spent a few hours wandering around and taking in the beauty of my surroundings before calling it quits and heading back into town.
Totally-Latin America
A Vistadome Train will take you to and back from Machu Picchu. On the first day an organized 2 hour guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site includes visits to the Caretakers Hut, the Temple of the Sun, the Royal Tomb, the Three Windowed Temple, the main quarry and Intihuatana (the Solar Clock). On the second day there, you have until the afternoon to explore some of the sights that are not included on the standard tour. The tour package includes entrance tickets to Huayna Picchu, a moderately challenging trek, where from atop you are afforded spectacular views of the Machu Picchu citadel. After a train back to Ollantaytambo, you will be transferred to Cusco, for the last leg of the journey.