THE SOUTHERN AREA OF USHNU
Significance behind the images
This images shows The southern area of the Ushnu, which was very visible before the excavations, which indicates that it was not completed. Today this part is full of vegetation.
This image that shows a part of the Ushnu, that portrays the shadow relationship between the Huchuypicchu and Huaynapicchu. The big terrace that seen in the image with the big rocks looks like it’s a bit disordered since the work on it was left unfinished. Usually all these parts are covered by vegetation in most images of the Ushnu. Now, an Ushnu, would translate like a throne,. It is a place where the Inca sits and does administration work and receives people. It is usually in the main square, but in this case, since there is no space, its put at an edge. It has a special connection with what originally was in the middle square, which was a Wanka that cannot be seen today. It is also very interesting that there is not a lot of vegetation and all the buildings of the Wayna Picchu are visible. In fact, it is because this image was taken right after a famous fire.
Understanding the architecture of Machu Picchu means understanding its relevance to the sun and the shadows it creates over the buildings of the sanctuary. In this image, there is the Huchuy Picchu, and the Huchuy Picchu is reflecting very low on the illuminated face of the Wayna Picchu and it means that the sun behind the Huchuy Picchu is getting low, but it is still very high, because the shadow is not as high as to cover very much of the face. So the sunset is just beginning.
When asked if it’s possible to climb up the Wayna Picchu, Adine said:
Oh yes, there is a special time to go there, very very beautiful,very powerful, very dangaerous as well. Tourists are allowed to go, but very reduced number of tourists and they have to be visually controlled by the Hilantes. Because in many parts, you can fall. If you fall from there, 100% person there is no possibility that you survive the fall of the Wayna Picchu. There is more than 300 people who have died since we know Machu Picchu. 300 is a big number, I mean Machu picchu has been open to the public only in the last 100 years and we have 300 people who died, that’s like 3 people each year. Its scary. The most dangerous thing to do, is hike up the Wayna Picchu and so everybody wants to do that.”
Another interesting story that was told through this picture was the significance of the the little 90º angle that is visible at the top of the mountain next to Wayna Picch. It is not just an ordinary space, but a very special site where indigenous people get married. It is not something that many people are aware of and climbing that area is not possible as it is not open to the public.
Now, is there a specific reason why? As a matter of fact, yes. That area at the top is one of the places where it is possible to see areas where people are buried below. According to Adine, Andean people believe, ‘when you are looking at dead people is when you’re looking at your future and at your past as well.’ So, for them it is very important to have the opportunity to be looking at their ancestors physically. This is also one reason why dead people are buried high up in the mountains, so looking down at them signifies one looking at their future. Adine explained. That they are called ancestors and they are those who are ahead of us, not those who are behind us. Because we are heading towards where they already are. It’s not very easy for a western mind to grasp this notion.
To explain this Adine gave an example: “To explain how they conceive time and space, when you have a procession like a music, for instance there is a festivity and you have all the musicians, the oldest ones go first with their instruments and the kids are at the end because kids follow older people. We walk in the footsteps of our grandparents, so time goes backwards. This is very difficult to grasp. It took me many many years to think like that. Because in our western mind we go forward, our time has a beginning and we go forward. But then when you hear old sayings like we walk in the footsteps of our grandfathers and our ancestors are literally those who are in front of us. So we also have a tiny winy memory of this ancestral way of thinking. So this is why it is so important to make peace with your past. Because if you don’t make peace with your past, your path is wrong, it’s going to be broken, your life will not be happy…You have to make peace with your past, its literally compulsory, and the incredible amount of ceremonies, like when you have a natural catastrophe, the first thing they do is they make peace with the event as if you don’t want to be quarreling with the forces of nature. So you make peace with the past. So this is why this area of marriage is located right over here.”