Getting a Glimpse of Ancient Peru

Article by: Chip Conley|@ChipConley

Sun June 24, 2012 | 00:00 AM

Part of the allure of Inti Raymi is just how indigenous and old-world it seems even though it’s more of a reenactment than authentic. There’s a vibrant procession through narrow streets led by ceremonial virgins carrying sacred offerings, there’s a theatrical slaughter of a white llama and the holding aloft of a bloody heart (don’t worry, there’s no real bloodshed but fake organs are studied to predict the year’s events), an Inca warrior in a chariot, there’s speeches from a snake, puma, and cougar, and much of the ceremony occurs in the ruins of a 500-year old fortress that has some of famous Incan stonework.

The key times and places to know are these. At 9 am, it all starts with Qorikancha, the Main Inca Temple built for the Sun God. At 11, the procession moves to Cuzco Town Square where an Inca elder gives a speech in the native language (Quechua). At 1:30 pm, the ceremony moves to the Sacsayhuaman Ruins which used to be the Royal House of the Sun and Temple dedicated to the Thunderbolt. The Ruins hosts the New Fire Rites, Cocoa Leaf Rites, and the offerings to the Four “Suyos.” All in all, I’m sure it felt more real a half a millennia ago, but it’s nice to see such rituals still be held in such regard by the Peruvians.