Cusco gives thanks to Pachamama Mother Earth deity to celebrate Machu Picchu reopening

By Andy Dare

Cusco (April 1, 2010) — The Empresa Municipal de Festejos del Cusco, staged a fantastic show on the grounds of Qorikancha on Thursday night to mark the reopening of Machu Picchu.

The celebration capped off a day in which more than 1,200 people traveled by train to visit Machu Picchu,  two months after torrential rains and landslides destroyed large portions of the track leading to the 15th century mountaintop citadel.

Seating was prepared for about a thousand people for the show, with many more watching from El Sol Avenue, which was closed to vehicles for the event.

After several videos and slide shows about the history and rituals of Machu Picchu, Cusco Mayor Luis Arturo Florez Garcia spoke about the challenges and actions taken in the aftermath of the torrential rains in January.

Then Tourism Minister Martin Peréz spoke about the rescue efforts to airlift hundreds of stranded tourists from Aguas Calientes, and the subsequent restoration of the rail line, which he said continues round the clock.

Shortly after, the ceremony of Pachamama Raymi — a tribute to mother Earth — began, with actors dressed as Inca warriors leading the Sapa Inca (the Inca King) by torch light to his thrown, perched on the edge of the great granite walls of the Qorikancha ruins.

The Inca warriors then staged the ceremonial offerings to Pachamama, the Mother Earth, and were joined by Mayor Florez and dignitaries, bearing their own offerings to the Inca earth deity.

Traditional dancing rounded off the ceremony in Qorikancha, and after the Sapa Inca departed, led out by torch light, the skies burst into a mass of color as a fantastic fireworks display lit up the whole site.

Finally the crowd gathered around a bonfire to keep warm on what was a very cold night, hugging mugs of hot chocolate, while a band on the grounds below the temple played traditional music.

The city of Cusco and all involved, put on an really incredible show, marking what is the next chapter in the continuing history of Machu Picchu.

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