Nothing stops the thousands of pilgrims on their way to the Sanctuary of the Lord Qoyllurity. The freezing cold night under the moonlight is not a deterrent; not even the altitude of more than 15,000 feet.
Mothers carrying their babies on their backs, children accompanying their parents and even elders walking with sticks just take breaks to put candles below the crosses along this 8 km trail. Some drink hot beverages like ponche or mate de coca in make-shift stands. Some can not help renting a horse to ease this 5 hour hike that starts in Mahuayani (how to get there from Cusco).
Pilgrims do not even care to wait in a queue from 2am til morning in order to enter the Sanctuary and see the Lord. Many literally sleep in tents pitched on the hills that surrounded the Sanctuary so that this barren land looks like a refugee camp. The contrast comes from the white of the snow mountain Sinakara farther away.
It is said that Qoyllurity is a miraculous image. This may have something to do with what occurs outside the Sanctuary. There are dozens of vendors that sell replicas of small houses, cars and other things such as fake 30,000 and 40,000 dollars and soles bills.
When locals buy them they believe that in the future their wishes will come true. The vendors bless the selling with prayers and they even pass an animal called kirkincho through the buyer´s head as well as through the object bought.
On the way back to the town of Mahuayani, the high spot is the view of the snow mountain Ausangate as you can see next.
Beyond what I have seen, it is said that locals do this pilgrimage to worship the Apus or sacred mountains as well as to get the fertility of their lands. To experience that, much more time it is necessary.
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