Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Machu Picchu - The Temple of the Condor is an amazing example of Incan stone work.On the floor of the temple is a giant rock that is carved into the shape of the condor’s head and the natural formation of rocks in the background form the outstretched wings of the condor in flight. There is speculation that the head of the condor was used as a sacrificial alter. Directly behind this temple stands a prison complex complete with human-sized niches as well as an underground labyrinth.The eastern view in the direction that the condor faces. Storage huts and exit out of Machu Picchu in backgroundJust south of the Temple of the Condor I climb a set of stairs which will lead up to the Temple of the Sun (light grey structure seen at top of stairs) and the Royal Tomb. Partial steps made of living stone - another example of steps carved right into the existing bedrock found throughout Machu Picchu.Beautiful green against the bluest sky. We were lucky - the two days prior had been overcast here at Machu Picchu. And friends (L & I) who went a few weeks later than us also got a hazy overcast day!Glancing out towards the exit of The Lost City of the Incas (behind the storage huts) with the mountain Machu Picchu in the background and the Sun Gate near the top left of the photo. Beautiful, beautiful agricultural terracing. This is the Temple of the Sun adjacent to the Royal Tomb below it. I would have to say that this structure provides one of the best examples of superb Inca stonework. Amazing use of existing rock formations to build on.At the entrance to the Royal Tomb you will find an Inca symbol - that of the Inca cross carved into the rock - a series of three steps representing the three levels of existence in the Inca world. The first step, symbolized by the snake, represents the past, death or the underworld. The second step represents the present or human life and this is symbolized by the puma. The highest step in the Inca cross is symbolized by the condor and represents the celestial and spiritual plane of the gods.Three important places in Inca mythology are: Uka Pacha (the lower world), located in the center of Earth; Kay Pacha, the world in which we live; and Hanan Pacha (higher world), the heavenly underworld which only righteous people could enter.
Glancing up from the Royal Tomb, you can see the Temple of the Sun. This temple is reached by a long set of steps from the Royal Tomb level. The Temple of the Sun was used to honour and celebrate Inti, the Sun, which was an important Incan deity. When the sun of the solstice enters through the central window, it falls directly on the large ceremonial stone that is surrounded and protected by the round building walls. Again, much speculation as to the exact purpose of this temple - some suggestions are that it was the royal retreat for the Inca Pachacuti. Others say a solar observatory. Still others say a combination of all of these! One thing is for sure - it is the only rounded structure in Machu Picchu and is one of the finest examples of fine Inca masonry.
Day 6 - Friendly Planet - Amazing Peru Tour