The Chachapoyas´ Mausoleums

In addition to sarcophagi, the Chachapoyas also built mausoleums with the same pattern: on the very cliffs of the mountains. These mausoleums, locally known as pucullos or chullpas, resemble small houses which were made out of polished stones. Some of these houses have two or three floors, but each one is less than one meter high.

Unlike the sarcophagi that housed just a single corpse, the mausoleums received many bodies. Archaeologists have found mortuary offerings inside such as musical instruments, necklaces, pottery and feathers. In addition to the mummies, another remarkable feature is that the walls are painted or decorated with religious magic figures.

One of the largest mausoleums ever found in this region is situated above a lake known today as Laguna de las Momias (the lake of the mummies). It was more than 200 funerary bundles which belonged to Chachapoyas elite. There were even mummies of children in this mausoleum.

When I came over the town of Leimebamba, I managed to talk to the landlord of the land where the lake was, and he told me that the hike to the lake could last from 12 to 15 hours. He added that it was necessary to rent horses, and so on. It was very expensive for a backpacker like me, so I decided not to go. It would be less expensive if I were in a group, but I was alone.

Anyway, this town (Leimebamba) has a modern museum which showcases a great number of mummies.

I missed the Lake of the Mummies, but I visited the mausoleum of Revash.

Related posts:


Chachapoyas descendants

The eternal guardians on the cliff


About Peru En RoUte

Natural-born backpack traveller around Peru
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2 Responses to The Chachapoyas´ Mausoleums

  1. Actually, the government is doing much effort to promote this region as part of the northern route which includes icons as the archaeological sites of Chan Chan in Trujillo, Sican – Sipan in Chiclayo, the peaceful city of Cajamarca and the department of Amazonas where Chachapoyas and all its attractions are situated.

    However, Chachapoyas is a remote region. It has rough unpaved roads with no regular buses (especially if you go from Celendin to Chachapoyas). Flights were prohibited after a deadly airline accident near the airport of Chachapoyas a few years ago. Accommodations and restaurants are very poor. I can not say anything about travel agencies in this region as i went by my own, but i guess they are not good either.
    This destination is especially for backpackers who are willing to endure these kind of things.

    All in all, it is worth visiting this region becuase the landscape is striking, the archaeological sites are really unique and the people are very very friendly. You would never regret the inconveniences of the trip, I assure you.

  2. rocio reyna says:

    Do you know why this place and the arqueological elements found in Chachapoyas are not as popular and known as other in Peru? Actually . it does not have as much publicity as other arqueological sites or discoveries. It’s good that you have gathered all this info and pass it along as it is very interesting.

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