Peru has a rich history associated with Sacred Valley. The origin of Incan empire is traced to this culturally significant valley. The modern day city, Cusco was in fact the administrative, political and military center of the Incan empire. Sacred Valley is a famous valley near Cusco which is home to magnificent and beautiful Inca sites like Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Machu Pichu, Wilcamayu River etc.
The Sacred Valley is called so because of various cultural and religious significances attached as perceived by Incan rulers. Fertile soil and warm climate enabled Andean civilization to flourish in the Valley. The valley is watered through the flow of Wilcamayu River (Sacred River) which enhanced agricultural productivity in the area. Maize has been one of the most common crops grown in the valley.
Incans believed that the Sacred River mirrors the reflection of the Milky Way, hence adopted the valley as their own. The location of sacred sites was called huacas and was chosen in line with the Milky Way. The Sacred Valley has rather been a personal holding of the Incan rulers throughout their dynasty. It is interesting to note that each Incan ruler chose an animal representing him like llama, fox, snake etc which had a celestial counterpart in the sky in the form of constellation. Natural formations and huge architectural designs were created in the Valley to resemble the animal figure. Figures are designed in such a manner that only a particular viewing angle provides a glorious view of the complete structure.
Ollantaytambo, is a strategically located town in the Sacred Valley which was used to manage military, agricultural and religious affairs of the Valley. There are 150 steps that separate the top from the lowermost part of the ancient site. This archaeological site includes a series of over-imposed terraces with large blocks of finely carved stones. Also called “Living Inca City”, Ollantaytambo is home to residents who live according to traditions and customs inherited from their ancestors.
Pisac is another small town in the Sacred Valley that attracts thousands of visitors. Located at 11,200 feet, it nestles various Incan ruins and hosts a popular traditional market. Incan ruins of Pisac are the richest form of ruins after Machu Pichu. Temple of the Sun, aka Intihuatana consists of an oval wall that houses a ceremonial stone, a site that cannot be missed.
Karikuy’s Inca Trail and Sacred Valley Tour are designed to help you experience the mystique of these parts. They cover all the destinations mentioned in this article. Contact Karikuy today to discover Peru’s hidden gems.
Image 1: By Aufgang – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Image 2: By Charles Gadbois – Own work, CC BY 3.0
Image 3: By No machine-readable author provided. Xauxa assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY 2.5