The sunray hits this place at 7:40, but not this year unfortunately.

A Shaman Told Me:
A shaman told me that a group of them would gather today at Q´enqo, one of the archaeological sites near Sacsayhuaman, very early in the morning in order to worship the Sun God. In the southern hemisphere, we celebrate the winter solstice today, June 21.

Me and Other People but No Shaman:
After hiking from the main square through the Cuesta San Blas for about 35 minutes, I reached Q´enqo at 5:20am. A few people waited more than two hours at the top of a small hill at Qenqo around a kind of a solar observatory. Unfortunately, the sun did not show up today. “The sunray usually hits the observatory at 7:40am”, the watchman told me when I was leaving the place nearly 8 o´clock. No shaman showed up at the site, though.

Inca Astronomy:

The Incas measured the summer as well as the winter solstices. To do that, they built two rows of four towers each in the west and the same in the east.  The outer towers were taller than the inner and they served as lookouts. When the sunrise´s and sunset´s beams of light coincide in the middle of the two small towers, the Incas knew it was a solstice.

This is what the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega states in his Comentarios Reales (Chapter XXII, second book). Pedro Cieza de Leon and Father Acosta, spanish chroniclers, also wrote about this topic.

June 21st at the Sacred Valley:

If you happen to be in the Sacred Valley, you can also go to the Mirador (lookout) de Simapuquio today June 21 to wait for the Sun God. This lookout is located at Ollantaytambo. The sunray enters through the door of the pyramid of Pakaritampu. A ritual will be held in order to worship and thank the Sun.

Did You Know that…?

The aimara peoples from Bolivia celebrate a new year every 21 June and this year (2010) is the 5518 year of the Andean Culture. The winter solstice is called Day of Willkakuti or “the return of the Sun” in aimara.

You may want to read these posts too:

Huanacauri: the first Inca was here

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The fertile land of Cusco