It's easy to see why many cultures have considered Lake Titicaca to be sacred for thousands of years, calling her Mama Qota, or the Sacred Mother. Pre-Incan cultures like the Uros, the Pukaras, the Kollas and the Lupacas had made their homes on and around the lake. Considering themselves to be the Children of the Sacred Lake, they worshipped their Mama Qota, for she provided them with abundant fish and birds to eat. In the evening, she gave them the heat she had stored from the sun all day, allowing them to sow potatoes, quinua, beans, and fodder for their llamas and alpacas. This sacred lake is a beautiful blue wonder amidst the harsh dry expanse of the Altiplano. Monica went off to some of the many islands in the lake while I stayed on shore and had the chance to see some of the ruins left behind by some of the other Children of the Sacred Lake.
The main role of the special site was to worship the Mallku (deceased chiefs), with the construction of great chullpas (tombs). The ruins on the hilltop of Sillustani consist of tombs that were constructed during different time periods. The Pukara and the Tiwanaku built stone tunnels and underground tombs. The Kollas tombs were more advanced, and they built large, cylindrical, above ground chullpas out of large grey stones from the area. The designs and techniques in stone carving and polishing had become even more innovative by the time of the Incas. The chullpas of the Incas are incredible structures of perfectly fitted stones that create enormous, smooth cylinder buildings with intricate carvings and entranceways. Some of the stones used are of a different color, indicating that they were brought from great distances to this sacred site.
Unfortunately, most of the chullpas have deteriorated due to looting and the passage of time. I guess the Spanish and other gravediggers since those times didn't believe that the mummies really needed all that gold to make it to the otherworld! Sillustani is still an important sacred site for the local people. All the chullpas were built facing the northeast, coinciding with the directions where the sun and the winds carrying the rains come from. Here, the inhabitants continue to invoke the spirits to ensure that there are abundant supplies of fish and that the rains come so their food stocks don't diminish. The Children of the Sacred Lake have not forgotten to worship their Mama Qota.
Kevin - Banished or Delivered?
Abeja - What Next? A Roller Coaster to the Temple of the Moon?
Shawn - Coca and the Environment
Team - Coca: Modern Vice or Traditional Power?
Making A Difference - Save the Redwood Forests (and the Coho Salmon, and the Spotted Owl, and All of Us)!!!
Trek Connect |
Time Machine |
Multimedia and Special Guests
Home | Search | Teacher Zone