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Old 19th July 2014, 13:20   #76
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!


Huyana Picchu is the mountain that stands tall over the ruins of Macchu Picchu at its Northern end. Huyana Picchu in Quechua language is called Wayna Pikchu. The words if literally translated mean a young mountain with a broad base and sharp peaks. Huyana Picchu stands at 2700 mtrs and at the top it is about 350 mtrs higher than Macchu Picchu.

The Incaís had made a trail upto the mountain peak and its believed that some priests used to stay here to signal the advent of a new day. Some terraces and tamples are still there at Huyana Picchu and tourists can visit these after taking extra permits.

Only 400 tourists are allowed up the peak every day and are divided equally in 2 batches. First batch is from 0700-1000 hrs and the second one is from 1000 Ė 1300 hrs. Tickets have to be bought along with the tickets of Macchu Picchu.

Climbing Huyana Picchu

The way to registration booth for Huyana Picchu is through the Central Plaza of Macchu Picchu. We had booked ourselves in the 0700hrs slot for the climb and reached there well in time. We had to wait for a bit till the staff came and checked our tickets and let us go for the climb.

The climb initially was down hill but when we reached the base of the mountain it was all uphill after that. The trail was carved out from the face of the mountain was steep to very steep at places. The steps were wet from all the morning dew and that made it somewhat trickier to climb. The authorities have placed ropes along the cliff side and that come in handy at such tricky places. My wife who has never ever climbed a hill before was a bit apprehensive in the beginning but she managed well.

As we went up higher the views of Macchu Picchu got better and better. We used to take breaks at such vantage points and enjoy the views while recuperating our energy levels. Slowly and steadily we reached at the top. It took us just over an hour to reach and I think we both did pretty well considering the fact that my wife was a first time climber and that too at such heights.

The views from the top were breathtaking. The ruins and the mountains surrounding the ruins looked beautifull. We managed to spend about 1 hour at the top enjoying the views and then it was time to get down.
Coming down was far more difficult while climbing. The narrow slippery steps and the drained out energy levels for some was making the ascend painfully slow. But by 1000 hrs everyone from the group managed to get back to Machu Picchu.

Pics from Huyana Picchu climb

Way to Huyana Picchu through the central plaza of MP
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The Mountain Of Huyana Picchu
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Starting the climb!! The thick undergrowth and trees made it pretty dark
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The track was carved out of the mountain face. The rocks were very slippery
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Taking a break and enjoying the views
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The track ahead that we were to go on for the climb
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Looking below was a sheer drop of more than 1000mtrs
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A traffic jam of climbers trying to negotiate the steep climb
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As we went higher the views Of Machu Picchu got better
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At 3/4th distance up the climb
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The complete view of the Lost City Of Incaís on a table top mountain
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The road with the switchbacks that we took from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
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The switchbacks with the shuttle buses ferrying tourists
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Enjoying the views from the top
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Had a small tunnel to pass through to reach the top most point
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Another steep climb after the tunnel
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Then a ladder to climb
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Finally reached the topmost point of Huyana Picchu
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Took turns to pose for a picture
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Relaxing after a difficult 1 hr climb and enjoying the views
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A panoramic view of the ruins and the surrounding hills
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Just for the record
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Going down was more difficult than going up
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The narrow steps and the sheer drop was scary
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People inching down slowly
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Another look at Machu Picchu before we finally reached there
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Next Post Machu Picchu!!
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Old 19th July 2014, 13:32   #77
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!


Once done with Huyana Picchu it was time to explore the ruins of Machu Picchu. I had my lonely planet book on Peru with me and that had ample explanation on the places of interest within the ruins. Also a route map provided at the entrance was of great help for finding directions to the places.

Machu Picchu ruins are huge and there is a story to every nook, every corner and to every stone that has been used for construction. There is so much history that one can come back again and again to gather knowledge. But here I am listing only the main places that a regular tourist would want to visit.

Please have a look at the below two photos where I have marked the main places of interest with in the ruins. Because we did Huyana Picchu first, so we started visiting the ruins from Huyana picchu, did it clockwise and finished our visit at the base of Huyana Picchu. But a toursist who is not doing Huyana Picchu climb would start his visit from the main entry point and finish it there itself after visiting the sites in a clockwise direction.

Reference picture of Machu Picchu ruins as seen from the entrance
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Reference picture of Machu Picchu ruins as seen from Huyana Picchu
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So for sake of convenience I am also starting with the sites at the main entry point and going clockwise.


After getting your tickets checked, once you enter Machu Pichu, the ruins will be right in front of you like a maze. The ruins are separated in two sections in front separated by the plaza. After climbing a few steps the track leads to a hut that is known as Hut Of The Caretaker Of The Funerary Rock. These are one of the very few structures that have been restored and have a thatched roof. Apart from providing an excellent view point of the whole ruins these huts also serve as a resting place and also a shelter if it rains. The rocks behind the huts may have been used to mummify the nobility, hence the name.

Caretaker hut as seen from the entrance
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Caretakers hut from the other side
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From the top
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The Incaís loved water and 16 ceremonial baths are a testimony to it. These baths are all linked with an aqueduct system that flows along a flight of stairs making fountains, waterfalls and streams.

One of the 16 ceremonial baths
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The aqueducts linking the baths making fountains
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Just above the baths is the only round building of Machu Picchu, this is The Temple Of The Sun. Itís a semicircular building that is tapering on the top. It has a trapezoidal window that optimizes the environment and also an altar. The window of the temple is perfectly aligned to the sunrise point during the summer solstice. The building is a fine display of the Inca masonry as it is made of highly polished stone. It stands on a solid rock of pure granite. Entry within the Temple of The Sun is not permitted but one can have a look at it from top

The Sun (INTI) was greatly revered by the Inca and hence this place apart from being used for astronomical purposes was also used for making offerings to the Sun God.

Below the Temple are hidden natural caves that are called Royal Tombs. Apparently mummies were kept here for worship. But no mummies were found here ever.

The trapezoidal windows of The Temple Of The Sun
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The semi-circular building
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The Temple with the Altar as seen from the top
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The temple on a solid granite rock as seen from below
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As the name suggests, Royal Palace is where the Inca Emperor used to stay. It is conveniently located between the baths and the fountains on its left and the Sacred Plaza on to its right.

Way to the Royal Palace
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Inside Royal Palace
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Machu Picchu Tour to be contd in next post!!!!
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Old 19th July 2014, 13:41   #78
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!



The Sacred Plaza was designed as the political centre of Machu Picchu. All major ceremonies and festivities were held here. It is located at one of the most optimal locations of Machu Picchu. Its proximity to natural resources like water and also quarries from where stones were gathered to build it makes it the perfect place. It also has terraces surrounding it for a large gathering of people to sit and watch the ceremonies that used to take place.

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The sacred plaza is flanked by important buildings and one of them is the Temple Of Three Windows. The trapezoidal shaped windows, 3 in number give a good view of the central plaza below, hence the name.

The Inca used highly polished granite stones for its construction. They did not use any mortar at the joins and just placed highly polished stones on top of each other. The stability was provided by male and female joints put together. The Temple of Three Windows is another example of Inca Craftsmanship

The Temple Of Three Windows as seen from the Central Plaza
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Notice the highly polished granite stones placed one top of the other without mortar
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Terraces surrounding the Temple
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The Temple with three trapezoidal windows as seen from the sacred Plaza
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Next to the Temple of The Three Windows lays the Principal Temple. Itís a three sided edifice with cleverly constructed foundation. Its name derives from the massive solidity and the perfection in construction. There is some damage to its far right corner, but thatís not because of any weakness in the masonry but thatís as a result of the earth sinking below the corner.

Sacristy is a small temple adjoining the Principal Temple. Apparently the priests collected here before the start of the rituals at the main temple. It has several carved niches most probably used to store ceremonial objects.

The three sided Principal Temple with its far right corner damaged due to the earth sinking below
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Opposite the Principal Temple is the house of the High Priest. Most probably the head priest stayed here.

Pic showing the backside of The House Of The High Priest
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As you climb up from the Sacred Plaza, you will come to one of the major shrines of Machu Picchu, the Intihuatana. This Quechua word if loosely translated means ďhitching post of the sunĒ. On top of a stone there is a carved rock pillar which is often mistaken to be a sun dial. The Inca astronomers, by using the angle of the pillar, were able to predict the solstice. Thus they were able to control the return of the lengthening of summer days.

There were lots of these Intihuatanaís all over the Inca Empire. But the Spanish broke all of these to wipe out the Sun Worship done by the Inca. The one at Machu Picchu still stands as the Spanish never discovered the Lost City.

The Intihuatana
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The Intihuatana Hill on which the Intihuatana is located
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At the base of Intihuatana hill is the Central Plaza. Itís a green open stretch of land surrounded by terraces and roofless stone structures. It separates the more illustrious Ceremonial Sector of Machu Picchu from the more mundane and less celebrated Industrial and residential sectors, which are not as well constructed.

Central Plaza with a view of Huyana Picchu
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Central Plaza with the Industrial Sector on the left and the ceremonial sector on right
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Llamas grazing in the Central Plaza
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Old 17th August 2015, 21:59   #79
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!

Hey Deky,

One of the best travelogues i've read, without a doubt. I joined TBHP recently and am writing for the first time.

Request you to finish the travelogue by providing end of the MP leg and details of return journey, if at all possible. I know its been some time now.

Thanks, Sunil
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Old 18th August 2015, 14:13   #80
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Default Re: To the Lost City of Incas - Peru on a Budget!


I just chanced upon this awesome coverage of your trip to Peru and I can assure you that it can give many a Rick Steeves a run for their money. The sheer attention to detail is impressive and the pictures give the reader a ringside view of the entire trip. Kudos and looking forward to more from your end.

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Old 25th January 2016, 05:00   #81
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Smile Beetles in Peru

A few years ago I read a news story about how the president of Uruguay, Josť Mujica, was considered 'down to earth' for driving around his blue VW Beetle. Some even commented he was 'the world's poorest president'. At the time I thought this was probably a one-off freak instance of a vintage car enthusiast getting the top job.

It turns out I was wrong - it's very clearly not a case of a vintage-car enthusiast - South America seem to just love their slightly older cars!

Last month after visiting Peru I was struck by just how many Beetles are still driven on the roads. These are not carefully preserved pristine showpieces taken out for a day or two but regular workhorses that are driven to office, shopping, picking up friends and er, anything else that comes up. Like our aam aadmi cars some were in good condition, others a bit battered. The funny thing is that it's not as if this was a sanction-hit country where newer models were difficult to procure - there were gleaming Chevrolets, VWs, Hondas, Suzukis and Toyotas everywhere. People just seem to like the Beetle.

Not knowing if I'd ever see the likes of this again I decided to photograph a few before I left. These are the photographs.

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A few cars are familiar to us

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A 'true' vintage - an 1866 Ford Fire engine, preserved nicely at Lima's main Fire station. The fire officer said it was working till two years ago.

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Mods, please merge with another thread if a more appropriate one exists.
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