The most important thing about Macchu Picchu is that it lies in an area that has much more than just Macchu Picchu. The Andes in the Cuzco region of Peru are indeed a sacred area. In the midst of rampant tourism, the area doesn't seem to have dwindled in charm nor has it lost the powerful energy implemented by Inca civilization. Moreover, some of the most elaborate Jesuit churches and sites that I have ever seen have been built on top of Inca land, without dismissing the land's traditions. Inca icons and indigenous art exists side by side Catholic saints inside the region's cathedrals.
When I told people I would visit Macchu Picchu, I did so with a sort of half-apology. It seemed a cliche tourist location, especially with the new surge of romance that Ayahuasca journeys with shamans have transposed on the country of Peru for enlightenment-seeking Americans. But the energy is real. No, not perfect. Not utopia. In fact, the area has tons of Peruvian hustlers pitching their items at you constantly, chasing the coveted gringo tourist money. Much like St. Theresa of Avila described the inner journey to divine union as a castle one entered, the sacred spots of Peru are a labyrinthine wonderland guarded by a moat of local tricksters.
Nevertheless, the force of the energy is there; at first, it is a matter of adjusting to the altitude. But it's more than that. A celestial influx of light seems to envelop the area; the intermittent rain cleaning the air for ever-renewing sun. Some historians trace the Inca calendar so as to mark the next 500 years as the "return of the children of the sun." And that's what it feels like: a light that assuages you into growing younger, not older.
Some pics below.
|Agua Calientes, at the base of Macchu Picchu|
|Cuzco at night|