29 October 2018
Peru’s native cultures have deep-seated roots in their traditional customs, deities and beliefs. The rituals of the ancient Inca religion are still put into practice by the Quechua descendants who preserve the Ande’s spiritual heritage. As you trek through the Andes Mountains, you’ll be able to experience first-hand the ancient culture and legacy of the Incas who built a great empire in Peru’s mountains. The Incas worshipped Inti the Sun God, Pachamama the Earth Mother, and the powers of the sacred Apus, or mountain deities, among others in their pantheon of gods and deities. As a sign of respect for the land that welcomes us on our trips, still today we ask permission to enter the realm of the Apu Ausangate, as Andean people have done for centuries. Walking into the Apu’s realm Before we venture onto sacred land, we present a “kintu” offering to the sacred mountain. In this ritual, we pick three of the prettiest and best-preserved coca leaves, spread them into a three-point pattern and offer them respectfully to the Apu. As we do this, we ask permission to step onto the sacred ground and request the mountain’s protection throughout our journey. The three leaves are meant to represent the three worlds of Inca cosmology: the worlds of the living, of the dead and the dominion of the supernatural (Kay Pacha, Uku Pacha, and Hanan Pacha respectively). Offering our respect to the land Because work closely with communities that thrive from the land and live from raising alpacas and llamas, we’re very careful about being respectful of their customs. Before we can work with the llamas that transport our baggage and supplies, we have to ask permission from the land that has bred them. To do this, we offer the Pachamama, the mother creator of these sacred animals, and of the Inca gods, all the things she enjoys: cereal grains, corn, sweets, coca and wine. Once we’ve done that, we’re then ready for the next ritual: La Tika. Everyone should pay their respects After having asked for permission, we decorate the llamas, since they’ll be walking through sacred mountains, and out of respect for the Apus they should look well-dressed for the occasion. This last ritual consists in decorating the animals’ ears with make-believe earrings that show the color of the symbolic flower of the area (“tika” in Quechua). The alpha male who leads the pack will wear bigger and more colorful decorations. Since we’ll be walking through the mountains and using the animals that the land has so generously allowed us to use to carry our food and duffel bags, everyone is encouraged to take part in these spiritual traditions. Come travel in Peru with Andean Lodges, meet the lovely llamas and take part in the wonderful sacred rituals of a living ancient culture.