⟪馬丘比丘⟫ 在秘魯天空之城尋找印加星宿 (下)

2021/09/21閱讀時間約 17 分鐘

Embrace Inca Constellations at Castle in the Sky, Machu Picchu (Part II)

Discover 5 fun facts before visiting Machu Picchu

Discover 5 fun facts before visiting Machu Picchu
Hi, I’m back! Have you read my last article?
If you’re ready, let’s continue our journey to the Inca castle. Buckle up? Now, let’s hit it!

Fact #3

Best season to visit this UNESCO attraction? The rainy season may not always be so bad!

People often ask, what’s the best season to visit a certain country, in Peru’s case, the answer is usually the dry season from April to September. Despite being so close to the equator with only two seasons, Peru is not as hot as you may think. The average temperature in Machu Picchu is around 11°C~25°C (52°F~77°F), making it suitable for trekking in either wet or dry season. What really matters is the rainfall. For me, I had my worry as my visit was in Jan; yet, it turned out to be quite a wise decision.
Firstly, even in the wet season, it doesn’t rain all day every day in Machu Picchu. More often is that it rains in the afternoon, given you and the majority of the visitors will arrive in the morning, your seven wonder expedition is still safe.
Secondly, as tourists won’t usually come in the low season, the travel quality will no doubt be greatly improved and you can even take some solo shots in the ruins with no crowd in the background, yeah! Plus, everything will be so much cheaper at that time.
Thirdly, you’ll have a chance to catch some rare rainbows in the sacred land. I was thrilled to grab a glimpse of the foggy Inca citadel accompanied by my very first double rainbow, with stretching Andes mountains ridge and beautiful Urubamba River Valley in the background. At that very moment, it was divine and enlightening, as if I were touched by a distant Inca spirit.
My Take: the only major downfall of visiting Peru in the wet season (October to March) is that your flight to Cusco may be impacted, for that, I would suggest buying travel insurance upfront, have flexible pre-booked tours, and reserve at least 2 days for Machu Picchu in case 1 day is of heavy rain.
Machu Picchu fortress surrounded by foggy Andes mountains
Can you see a double rainbow after a short drizzle?

Fact #4

While there’s no Inca left on the sacred site, today Machu Picchu is inhabited by some cute residents, whose name is Llama!

Just like you cannot see a kangaroo when visiting Australia, or can’t go to Africa without saying hi to a giraffe, in Peru, what you must meet, is the lovely Llama (or their relatives from the same camelid tree Alpaca or Vicuñas). When you arrive at Machu Picchu, you are in for a treat, ‘cuz you get to observe these cute residents real close as they wander freely on the terrace.
You can find a lot of websites telling you how to distinguish Llama, Alpaca, and Vicuñas in Peru. My view is that you just need a little imagination. The chubby faces go to Alpaca with a bit goofy look, long-pointed elf-like ears belong to Llama, and the last slender Bambi-shape cousin is Vicuñas.
My Take: save some fruits from breakfast before your expedition, apples would be nice, that way you can feed these cute llamas or Alpaca while taking some close shots. Oh, remember to slice your fruits, otherwise, they can have the whole apple in just one bite and quickly move away to the next target!
Heart-melting Llama couple with the background of Andes mountain range in Machu Picchu, Peru

Fact #5

The Inca people had their own constellations system and it showed everything is connected!

Take a guess of what the two round-shape thingy below are for? Machu Picchu’s rediscover Bingham thought it’s a kitchen tool used to grind crops like corns, and I thought it was some remaining foundation of ritual purpose.
The mysterious round-shaped ruins in Machu Picchu, Peru
Did you get it right? It’s actually a set of “water mirrors” for observing the stars. So the above room is serving as an astronomical observatory, how cool is that! Many ancient civilizations have their own constellation system and the Incas were no exception. What makes Inca constellation unique is that it was the only culture that divided the stars into two groups.
The first group of constellations comprised of inanimate gods or animals, using the connect-the-dots fashion that we are familiar with. And the second group gets more interesting, they are the “dark constellation”. It means they are formed by the dark spots in the Milky Way. Inca people depicted these interstellar gas and dust as the earthly animals Incas knew about; such as the Serpent, the Llama, the Fox, and the Partridge.
By monitoring the movement of these sacred spirits in the sky, as well as sun and moon, the Incas were able to draft a calendar system that was crucial in their day-to-day agriculture and herding activities. Machu Picchu is the very illustration of the Incas’ everything-is-connected beliefs, as it’s a site for not only performing religious ceremonies but also for doing agricultural experiments and observing the stars that outline Inca astronomy.
My Take: Incas were truly full of imagination. My guide showed me photos of those sacred animals in the Milky Way background. I get to say, it’s way harder to picture them compared to the Greek constellation! I just secretly wish that maybe someday I could camp in the ruins of Machu Picchu and observe the amazing Southern sky with my naked eyes.
View from Machu Picchu after the sun came out
This is the second half of my Machu Picchu article and it’s actually my very first public post on Second Star to the Right. I visited Machu Picchu on the first day of 2020. It got pretty tense as the COVID-19 outbreak started when I just began my trip. Even so, I felt super lucky to still be able to go abroad this year, who knows when can we travel without fear again or what will be the new normal for us travelholic in the many years to come.
One thing I did know for sure, as a South America first-timer, I felt totally awed by its amazing landscape, exotic cuisine, and mysterious ancient civilizations. Visiting Machu Picchu was a bucket-list checked, and it opened the door to a world that I knew so little in the past. I am staying put for now, but my restless soul is so ready to explore all the unknowns in the world!
I came, I saw, I shared!

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