Pachatusan mountain, images and information

Pachatusan mountain, images and information

The Pachatusan is the mountain located in the Cusco region in Peru, whose summit is 4842 meters above sea level, with an area of ​​3909 hectares. The Pachatusan mountain has three peaks, the highest of all is in the coordinates -13.522451, -71.784243; This peak together with the other two forms a rocky ridge that follows the south-west to northeast direction and divides the Cusco Valley and the Sacred Vale of the Incas. In its southern skirt is the archaeological group of Tipón, and in its northern skirt is the Sanctuary of the Lord of Huanca, where a pilgrimage is directed annually from the city of Cusco.

The Pachatusan is the highest peak of the city of Cusco (not of the region); and, the Andean cosmovision has endowed it with the status of Apu, which in Quechua (language of the peruvian andes) means a form of divinity, a god. Many years ago I have been fascinated by this mountain, so much so that I have climbed a couple of opportunities, although the photos I had of those expeditions have been lost unfortunately. Something that I have always found curious about the Apu Pachatusan is that whenever I have uploaded photos of the Apu to the internet, it has been quite visited by people from all over the world, so I am going to translate this text into ensglish (I do not know if the translation will be good); this fact, added to the almost total absence of information on the internet, has made me decide not only upload the images I have, but also write a bit about the Apu Pachatusan.

Photo of the Pachatusan taken from Wanchaq – Cusco
Creative Commons by: Erick Guiomar Gonzales Aparicio,

The importance that this mountain had for the Andean peoples centuries ago is demonstrated in the biography that exists about the geography of the Cusco Valley, which is considered by many as “the sacred geography” of the valley that saw the birth of one of the most important empires of the world antiquity, the Inca Empire. All the hills, mountains and summits that make up the geography of the Cusco Valley were sacred entities (Apukuna “that is the plural form of the word Apu in Quechua”), which just induced the occupation of the Cusco Valley, by the human group that would become the Inca Empire, coming from different points of the Sacred Valley of the Incas (north of the Cusco Valley). Nonetheless, Apus was the center of important religious events. Mercedarian chronicler Fray Martin de Murúa noted: “It was very common among all Indians to worship huacas, idols, ravines, rocks or large stones, hills, mountain peaks, springs, fountains and finally anything of nature that seems noble and different to the others. ” Dr. Jorge Flores Ochoa, cited in the book “Cusco Monumental, ombligo del mundo” (2013): In the sixteenth century, when referring to Cusco, Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa wrote the following: “There was […] around the town, some guacas (Quechua word used to refer to temples and shrines), which were Guanacauri and another called Anaguarqui and another called Yauiray another said Cinga and another Picol and another that was called Pachatopan … “. The latter obviously refers to our Apu Pachatusan, which has changed due to the variation of the language over the centuries. The same doctor Jorge Flores Ochoa points out in the aforementioned book:

Another of the important shrines of the Inkas is Pachatusan, a word whose translation alludes to the “element that holds the world”. It is a prominent hill that is the continuation of the orogenic chain that, from Senca and Pillku Orqo, concludes to the east of a mountain range whose sharp ridges of rock constitute the separation between the Valley of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The chroniclers offer information about the great sacrifices made in their skirts and the importance of their andesite quarries in the Waqoto area, as the main suppliers of the material used in the architecture of the Incas, which even today continue to be explored.  The presence of prehispanic infrastructure of the surroundings testifies to the importance of this ancient divinity. Just in its foothills towards the Watanay stands the beautiful structures of Tipón; and, towards the Sacred Valley of the Inkas, the venerable sanctuary of the Lord of Huanca, current site of religious pilgrimage, reminiscent of the cult of an ancient Andean waka called Wanka Rumi, whose fame increases in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Dr. Jorge Flores Ochoa, ob cit, 2013

As a final note of this text and before including here the images of the Apu Pachatusan, I must add that as part of a long process of cultural syncretism, the Spanish friars began the custom of placing crosses on the tips of all the hills that were worshiped, to demonstrate that their god was on that of the Incas, the last observation will be to know that on the crest of the Pachatusan there is no Christian cross; what happens with the Picol mountain for example.

Posted on: May 31, 2019Erick Guiomar

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