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Sunday, 28 September 2008

Itching for Ingapirca - Page 2

Written by Tyrel Nelson
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I had to get out of Cuenca. The six days of entrance exams (prospective students at my language school had to take an oral/written placement test prior to course registration) that I had just endured left me exhausted. I couldn’t bear to look at another language book or study guide – I needed a break. In my desperate search for a sound mind, I set out that Saturday morning in early January with two goals set before me: leave behind the frustrating Christmas vacation duties at Centros de Estudios Interamericanos (CEDEI) and make my first trip to the Cañar province. The Cañar province was a tiny, mountainous region just north of Cuenca. It held Ecuador’s most notable set of ruins, Ingapirca, and I was more than ready to make the trip.

"The United States, but I’ve lived in Cuenca for a few months now. I teach English there. So, how do we get to the ruins from here?"

"A bus is supposed to come by soon. The ride is about twenty minutes long and costs 50 cents.”

Shortly after, a rickety blue bus pulled up to the curbside before us.  I followed my fellow tourist onboard and wedged my way between a pair of seats that were practically on top of the ones in front of them.  With my knees pressed against the backrest facing me, I tried my best to get comfortable as the vehicle sputtered to life.  As the bus moved along I soon realized that comfort was the least of my worries – living through the ride becoming a more pressing concern. The vehicle coughed and choked its way up the road on the brink of death. And by the way the windows rattled the entire trip, I was surprised they hadn’t shattered all over me by the time the exhausted bus rolled into a dusty lot.

Itching for Ingapirca, Ingapirca ruins, Ecuador, travel Ecuador, living in Ecuador, Pilaloma, Temple of the Sun, The Castle, Cañar province, Ingañan, Cañari ruins, Inca ruins, El Tambo, Cuencan Spanish, Centros de Estudios Interamericanos, Tyrel Nelson"There they are," pointed a Chilean girl on the bus. She mentioned she was from Santiago and seemed as excited to tour Ingapirca as I was.

I snapped my head around to see Ingapirca's Temple of the Sun through the bus's back window. The temple stood atop a small hill in the distance and even through the crusty window, it was breathtaking.  Excited to get an up-close view of the ruins, I squeezed my way out of the cramped vehicle as quick as I could.

While the midday sun played peek-a-boo behind the clouds that dominated the Southern Sierra sky, I wandered the tiny pre-Columbian site. Tiny white houses, sporadically dotted the lush green valley like fluffy dandelion seeds randomly pop up from a healthy lawn.  I walked along the southern part of the grounds, passing through the city of Pilaloma, originally a Cañari colony.  I also strolled by a neighboring reconstruction of an Incan house as well as colcas, which were ball-shaped indentations used to stock food.  Itching for Ingapirca, Ingapirca ruins, Ecuador, travel Ecuador, living in Ecuador, Pilaloma, Temple of the Sun, The Castle, Cañar province, Ingañan, Cañari ruins, Inca ruins, El Tambo, Cuencan Spanish, Centros de Estudios Interamericanos, Tyrel NelsonDown the remnants of an Incan road, known as the Ingañan, I was impressed by the ancient, yet intact drainage channel that accompanied it. Their architectural knowhow surprised me – that they actually constructed drainage channels so long ago. I noticed the foundations of a handful of bodegas (used to stockpile food as well) lining the primal passageway.              

Veering off the Ingañan, I arrived at a large rock which was riddled with 28 impressions along the surface. It was believed that rainwater filled the divots and reflected moonlight in different directions over the course of a month, making the stone a makeshift lunar calendar. Itching for Ingapirca, Ingapirca ruins, Ecuador, travel Ecuador, living in Ecuador, Pilaloma, Temple of the Sun, The Castle, Cañar province, Ingañan, Cañari ruins, Inca ruins, El Tambo, Cuencan Spanish, Centros de Estudios Interamericanos, Tyrel NelsonI also happened upon another strange-looking, V-shaped rock structure along my walk.  One popular theory, as I came to find, suggested that the unique stone was used for llama beheadings.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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