Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Temples of the Moon, Sun and Earth

The Temples of the Moon, Sun and Earth, are located in the mountains very near Cuzco.
 In fact, the Temples were just a short horse ride away!  $15.00 for a two hour tour of the valley.... what a deal!

The  three temples are located just beyond the impressive walled fortress of Sacsayhuaman the Inca found and expanded upon.  Built on the mountain top above Cuzco, the walls are an engineering mystery and marvel.  The largest stone is estimated to weigh nearly 200 tons!  How did the Inca so expertly carve these gigantic stones?  Move them to their present location? And then place the stones so tightly together that even today, a piece of paper will not slide inbetween the stones!

¨That´s the mountain,¨I asked my guide, ¨where the three temples are located?¨ The place looked pretty unassuming as far as I could tell.

 On the very top of the mountain (looked more like a little hill actually) was an Inca carving.  The first clue I´d seen that the Inca had ever set foot on the mountain.  Erroded over time, the carvings included a condor (symbolizes the rise into the heavens), a puma (the force of the earth) and a snake (going down into the underworld of the earth).

 The first temple, located at the base of the mountain, was the Temple of the Earth.  A canyon type structure that went from one side of the mountain to the other.  It was bloked off, so I was anable to see what, if anything was located inside.

 The next temple, on the opposite side of the mountain from the Temple of the Earth, was the Temple of the Moon.  Hand carved rock steps lead the way up to the entrance of this fascinating Temple.

 To the left of the entrance to the Temple of the Moon, carved in rock.... the massive head and trunk of an elephant!  800 years ago or so, how did the Inca know about elephants?  There were no elephants in South America!  So where did they get their idea of what an elephant looked like?  Did the Inca travel to Asia and/or Africa even before old Columbus sailed in 1492?  Or did peoples from Asia or Africa visit the Inca, bringing with them elephants?  Or...... was there a U.F.O connection?

 A couple steps to the left of the elphant head, this carved out structure in the rock.  Was it the place for blood sacrifices?  Llama?  Human? Or was it where the body of someone who´d died was placed..... and left there?

My horse riding guide, sitting in the entrance to the Temple of the Moon, pointed out to me all the animal carvings in the stone entrance.  Carvings of snakes, puma and condor filled the stone entrance.

 An inner chamber of the Temple of the Moon, appeared to have a large stone carved alter at the very end of the cave like structure.

 Directly overhead of the stone like alter, was an opening in the rock, which allowed the moon to shine through the opening and onto the alter.

The purpose of the inner stone chamber of the Temple of the Moon is not known.  Only theories abound, like all of the Inca history, as to how this Temple was used.

Right next to the Temple of the Moon, is the Temple of the Sun.  This temple is located at the base of the mountain, with most of the temple structure built against the mountain.  Door entrances into the mountain do exist, however this temple was under going restoration, so no one was allowed into the temple grounds.

                                                                The Temple of the Sun

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