Machu Picchu was consider a holy city built with spiritual purposes in mind. Perhaps a pilgrammage site. Machu Picchu was built earthquake proof, even though between two fault lines, between 1400 AD to 1500 AD during the time of Pachacuti, the 9th Inca ruler . It was eventually abandoned after holding out during the first few years of the Spanish Conqusitadors.
The short Inca trail is the way to get a taste of the trail and all it's majesty of viewpoints, flora, fauna and effort yet save time to get to Machu Picchu. You'll see the Chachabamba and Winay Huayna stepped ruins, and pass through Inti Punku, the Sun Gate on the way to that final magificant viewpoint of the ancient Incan Machu Picchu city.
Saqsaywaman was consider a fortress on a hill with about a 1000 warriors overlooking the city of Cusco. Spelled in various phonetic ways the name from the Quechua language in one translation means royal falcon or hawk and another as "place were the hawk is satiated'. From above it's supposed to be in the shape of a puma. Possibly built in the early 15th century.
As our Cessna plane lifts off the Nazca airport runway and banks hard to the right my thoughts are about the geoglyphs I’ll see. I’ve seen these in pictures and documentaries but now I get to see them personally. What are the Nazca lines? Why and how were they made? By or for aliens, for the Gods, for some reason yet to be discovered? Looking down at the ground I realize the actual complexity of these criss-crossing lines and the vastness of the area they cover.
A small cluster of islands called the Ballestas lie off the Peruvian coast near the town of Paracas. Often touted as the “Peruvian Galapagos” or even the “poor man’s Galapagos” because of the low cost and ease to visit. A sanctuary rich with wildlife, there are over half a million birds making this their home. You’ll also pass by the Paracas Candelabra, a prehistoric geoglyph etched into sandy sloped hill. No one knows it’s true meaning or purpose. Then onto Paracas National reserve where vast golden desert meets blue ocean water.
Wat Maha That, “the temple of the Great Relic” was one of the most important temples in the Ayutthaya Kingdom. This temple was constructed in 1374 by King Boromma Rachathirat I with a design that follows concepts of the ancient Khmer mountain temples of Angkor in Cambodia. The post feature picture shows one of the most eerie and photographed objects at the temple. A stone Buddha head enveloped by by the roots of a tree.
Kbal Spean which means Bridge Head is a river of carved relief stones. The ‘bridge’ is a natural sandstone arch. These stone carvings are mainly of lingams (phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva). Also known as the River of 1000 Lingas, the trail head is about 48km to the north of Siem Reap. I was curious about seeing these and thought it would be a change from the temple agenda.
It’s a Thursday the morning after a night on Pub street and I’m feeling up to some more temple exploration in the Angkor Archeological Park. What no one realizes at first by looking at the map is that the whole park is about 400 square km. My first thought was that it would be nice to explore the temples by bicycle but it’s 7.3km just to Angkor Wat temple from the hostel. Then another 7km from Angkor to the next temple, Preah Khan, on my list and today is going to be a hot 36 deg C.