Monday, 21 April 2014

Pachacamac: looking into the eyes of a God.

Pachacamac
When the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Pizarro arrived at The Temple of the Sun, near present day Lima in Peru, he was disappointed to discover that the Temple's God and Oracle was nothing more than a wooden idol. He expected solid gold. I know how he felt. One of the pitfalls of independent travel is that sometimes you miss things - and this miss was bigger than most. We missed the opportunity to look into the eyes of a God.

Oracle, Creator of the World and God of Earthquakes, Pachacamac was feared and honoured by both the Incas and the Ichma culture which preceded them. Today he dwells in a museum attached to the pyramid and temple complex which bears his name; half an hour's drive south of Lima. The museum is small, only a couple of rooms and there are no more than a dozen or so objects on display. The God/Oracle is one of them. We must have walked straight past it. We probably looked at it, but failing to recognize its significance our eyes slid seamlessly to the next item on display. I have no recollection of seeing the God and no photographs.

2017 UPDATE

Fellow travel bloggers, Yasha and Juergen of 'dare2go' have just been to Pachacamac. They didn't miss the god. It probably helped that I told them to watch out for him. Here he is, at last.

Pachacamac God
Photo courtesty of Yasha and Juergen at dare2go.com

Fortunately the pyramids and temples at Pachacamac more than made up for missing the deity. From AD 1 to AD 1532 Pachacamac was the most significant religious complex on the Peruvian coast and although time has taken its toll on the mud brick structures enough remains today to make for an impressive day's excursion from Lima. The site sprawls across a vast area of desert (5 sq kms) with a winding access road running through it and viewing areas with explanations in Spanish and English every few hundred metres. Like the Huacas in Lima some parts of the site have been re-constructed to show how they would have originally looked.

Pachacamac has pyramids, temples, streets, ramps and innumerable other ruins but the undoubted highlight is the Temple of the Sun, where the God and Oracle once lived. Even David who makes it a rule to be underwhelmed by anything built of mud was impressed by the panoramic views from the top of the long footpath leading up to the Temple.



Pachacamac
Acllawasi - House of the virgins dedicated to the sun


Pachacamac
The remains of one of the 17 pyramids at Pachacamac

Pachacamac
The long footpath leading up to the Temple.

Pachacamac
An entrance to The Temple of the Sun

Pachacamac
The Temple of the Sun




Pachacamac
The urban jungle of the town of Pachacamac is not far away.

For a review of the Lima Hilton - click here

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