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.