Winter Solstice at Q´enqo

I came back to Q´enqo archaeological site this morning, june 21st, as I did last year. Like other people, my purpose was to wait for the sun at the beginning of the winter solstice. It is said that the sunrays draw a puma´s face when they hit a carved rock on the top of a small hill.

When I arrived at 7:15 the hilltop was crowded. Therefore, I had to manage to take these pictures over people´s heads (for the first pic I nearly lied down on the ground).

This event takes about 40 minutes from 7:20 to 8 o´clock. Nonetheless, if you want to get a good place, you should be there earlier. Last year, I was the first person there at 5:30 am. Unfortunately, the sun did not show up. I would recommend to appear between 6 and 6:30.

As a matter of fact, I have not found any scientific evidence on what the Incas carved this rock for, but eventually it seems it has something to do with astronomy and the sun.

However, the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega states in his Comentarios Reales (Chapter XXII, second book) that the Incas measured the summer as well as the winter solstices. He adds 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.

Now the question is whether or not you are able to see the puma´s face. As far as I can notice, the eyes are on the carved boulders and the ears are above. Actually, I should have taken one more picture where the ears are bigger and therefore much more noticeable. Maybe next year.

Related Posts:

Qenqo the hike

Qenqo the least visited zone

Other shrines in Cusco


About Peru En RoUte

Natural-born backpack traveller around Peru
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