Tiahuanaco: Godly Incan creation



Also known as Tiwanaku, Tiahuanaco refers to the ruined city that existed before the time of the Incan and is believed to be created by Viracoca, the Incan god who arose from the nearby sacred lake named Titicaca in Bolivia. Having ruled the Andean zone for 400 years, this ancient city is now the archaeological site boasting a myriad of monumental relics showing off the religious beliefs as well as the strong culture of the Incas who came later.

For the tourists, there are magnificent temples, soaring pyramid, symbolic gates, temping monoliths, and peculiar face carvings seeming to be more of the aliens. As similar as the other megalithic ruins elsewhere, Tiahuanaco also holds a few most stunning architectural styles that adorn the monumental temples. Well, if you want to know the most outstanding structure, it is none other than the pyramid of Akapana standing over a natural formation. Although it is a termed as a pyramid, it is a square in shape with the flat summit whose center is not only oval, but is also sunken due to which it is believed to be a water storage or as the outcome of the Spanish plunderers’ digging. However, this pyramid has lost its charm as several stones were robbed to make the local dwellings.

Walk now a bit towards the north and explore the worthy Kalasasaya Temple that is believed to be a ceremonial platform representing Earth. Composed of andesite and red sandstone, its big entrance is reachable via the steps flanked by two monolithic standings. There is also a remade portico that meets the inner courtyard along with the remains of the priests’ quarters. As you go in, secondary platforms become visible where a myriad of additional monoliths stand like the Priest (El Fraile). At the corner of the northwest, discover the stunning Gateway of the Sun (Puerta del Sol). As the name suggest, it is linked to the sun god and is thought to be used as a calendar. On it, you can minutely spot the bas-reliefs designs, an array of four profound alcoves, and a model of a deity. In contrast at the west end, the Gateway of the Moon (Puerta de la Luna) stands, which is comparatively smaller and that it is decorated with the animal carvings.

If you go in the east of the main entrance of the temple, a wide stretching structure called Templete Semisubterraneo emerges, which is also called the Semi-subterranean Temple. This one is regarded as the symbolic representation of the Underworld, an obvious conclusion by its name. Fully carved from red sandstone, the temple boasts walls that are sculpted with over 150 interesting human faces as well as rectangular sunken courtyard. Now, these so-called faces of humans are pretty much close to what we called as aliens today. Yes, this is a mystery that is to be solved as to how the Incas knew about the aliens. Have they seen the aliens or was it just their imagination? Were the Incas so ahead of us in terms of science, architecture, and astronomy? I think, to some extent, yes!

To the west is the still being excavated spot of Putuni or Palacio de los Sarcofagos that refers to a bug rectangular zone. At its eastern end, you will encounter debris that is now termed as Kantatayita adorned with the fabulous geometrical designs. One more highlight of Tiahuanaco is in the south of this complex across the railroad tracks, which is known as the Puma Punku or the Gateway of the Puma. This is a religious complex of giant as well as heavy megaliths.

Astronomical significance/Best day to visit

21st June, the day of winter solstice in southern hemisphere, is the best day to visit Tiahuanaco. As the sun comes up, the beam enters the east temple entrance and that scene is really commendable. Locally, the event is marked as the Aymara New Year (Machaj Mara) drawing countless travelers each year along with the New Age cliques.

Watch out for the locals who have put on their vivid ceremonial robes and will greet you to party with them. In this celebration, you will not dance until sunset, but will also chew coca and drink special singani. In addition, you will see the disappointing event of sacrificing llamas. What is even more indulging is the fairs of the local artisans.

Celebrations are also held on the other days of solstices or equinoxes, but they are on a small scale.

Reaching Tiahuanaco

It is obvious that one needs to arrive here prior to sunrise. Therefore, from La Paz, special buses leave at around 4 am. Many of them plan to arrive before a few days of the solstice and stay in camps outside the site.

Tour timings

Daily: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Cost

Bs15.

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