Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winay Wayna Ruins on the Inca Trek, Day Three

Wiñay Wayna ruins are located near the last campsite on the Inca Trail. Unexpectedly, we had a lot of trouble finding the ruins, and we only managed to get to them after the sun hid behind the mountains, even though we arrived at the campsite a good few hours before sunset. It was a pity, as the site looked very interesting, and I would have loved to have more time to explore it.

Wiñay Wayna means “Forever Young”—a name given to the site after a variety of a pink orchid that grows there. Similarly to Intipata, these ruins have a spectacular location, as they are perched on a cliff overlooking the Urubamba River below, and a waterfall on the hillside above. There are also many magnificent agricultural terraces in Wiñay Wayna. However, what distinguishes this site from Intipata is the presence of multiple buildings of good quality stonework. Those buildings are connected by a sequence of fifteen baths, which suggest that Wiñay Wayna was probably a religious center associated with the worship of water. It is speculated that a ritual cleansing may have taken place here for pilgrims on the final leg of their trip to Machu Picchu.