The majestic city of Machu Picchu is located 7,000 feet above sea level. It lies nestled on top of a small hill that lies between the Andean Mountains. The city rises above the Urabamba Valley. The structure has been built by the Incans. It has been rightly deemed as one of the ‘Lost Cities’. It was discovered in 1911. Prior to that, it was relatively unknown.
Archaeologists and excavation specialists have estimated that nearly 1200 individuals must have inhabited the area. Some believe that the site served as a retreat for Incan rulers. The city is isolated from the remainder of Peru. Inhabitants of Machu Picchu would have to spend great amounts of time in travel in order to make it to the nearest village.
The town is segregated into three primary areas: urban, religious, and agricultural. The function of each structure blends wonderfully with the form of the surrounding environment. The agricultural terraces and aqueducts use the natural slopes to their advantage. Farmers and teachers occupied buildings that belonged to the lower areas. The significant religious regions are situated at the hill’s crest. It overlooks the lush green Urubamba Valley that lies thousands of feet below.
Hiking enthusiasts, explorers and travelers have reported similar emotions as they make their way through the Inca Trail. Most of them have hailed the experience as magical. Travelers can get a splendid view of the temples, fields, baths, and terraces from the Funerary Rock Hut. It transports you to an altogether different time. The city blends well with surrounding hills. Most travelers agree that the town forms an elegant and flawless paradise. It is a must-visit for those traveling to Peru.
Machu Picchu served primarily as an astronomical observatory. The Intihuatana stone means ‘hitching post of the sun’. It indicates precisely the date of the two equinoxes. Other celestial periods are also indicated. The stone is also known as Saywa or Sukhanka. Its design serves the purpose of hitching the sun at both equinoxes and not at the solstice. Certain new-age books and literature beg to disagree.
Noon times on March 21st and September 21st witness the sun standing perfectly above the pillar. There is no trace of a shadow here. The sun seems to be sitting with its might o the pillar. It gives the illusion that it is ‘tied’ to the rock. During these times, the Incas had elaborate ceremonies at the same stone. This was done in order to halt the sun’s northward movement. In addition, there is an Intihuatana alignment that coincides with the December solstice, which is the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere. At dusk the sun descends behind Pumasillo, which is also known as Puma’s claw. It serves as a sacred mountain of the Vilcabamba range. The shrine is equinoctial in nature.