Monday, August 31, 2015


[August 28, 2015] Friday

Today, eight of the other missionaries here at the temple went with us in a van to the Incallajta ruins, about 135 km east of Cochabamba, about 25 km off of Highway 7 to Santa Cruz. It's about 10 km from a little town called Pocona. Here's what the countryside looks like between the Punata valley, and the turn of to Pocona. It's taken from inside the van, traveling 50-60 miles an hour, so the quality is a bit lacking:

Farms in the valleys on the way to Incallajta.
The ruins are from the Incas, dating from about the same period as Macchu Picchu. They aren't as elaborate, and they aren't as developed, nor as touristy, either. Which made it that much more interesting.

The area is cared for, cleaned, maintained, and administered by the residents of four Quechuan communities that surround it. It is located in a narrow valley, and from the base of the valley, you can't see anything to clue you in that there are ruins near. Here is a view up the valley from the site. You can see some cultivated plots on the hillside across the valley. We saw a lot of these along the way.

Looking westward, up the valley from the Incallajta site.
There is a little building at the base where you pay the entrance fee (the Centro de AtenciĆ³n al Turista in the map below) that has some bathrooms - much needed after a three hour ride from Cochabamba, with the last 25 km being over a cobblestone road. Mind you, it is a nice cobblestone road. Nevertheless, the availability of bathrooms was welcome.

Site map of Incallajta ruins.
The entrance fee was 15 Bolivianos per person, with an additional 50 B's to have the guide accompany us through the site, explaining everything. It was well worth the extra cost (50 B's = $7.50 USD). The fees are shared by the communities, and they take turns cleaning, and maintaining the site. It has no government involvement, although the Cochabamba governor sent them some funds to help with maintenance and signage.

The guide was a tiny man with a big heart. It was clear that this site was special to him and his community. In the area, Quechua is the dominant language, and only the men who have to take products to market, etc. speak Spanish, in general. He learned his Spanish from the archaeologists that come to research and investigate. He was immensely well-spoken, and as generous and friendly as all the Bolivian people. He told us he has six children, with the oldest being thirteen years of age. We met his wife - she spoke no Spanish whatsoever.

Our guide at Incallajta.
The central feature of the ruins is called the Kallanka. It is a building 78 meters long, 26 meters wide, with 12 doors, and 44 "hornicias" or niches. They may have placed torches, idols, etc. in these niches during community gatherings.

The Kallanka
Here's a view of the outside of the Kallanka. The sun position made it a bit difficult, but you can see the scope. The green tent on the left covers the last remaining stucco-like covering that was plastered on the inside walls:

The Kallanka
This is a view of what they called the Casa de Dos Pisos - the house of two floors. They suppose that this must have been where the King lived. It doesn't look like it has two floors now, but I believed our guide:

Casa de Dos Pisos
A bit to the west, there were living and administrative buildings:

Living quarters.
View of the living quarters in front, and the Kallanka in the distance.
Towards the west end of the site, there is a waterfall - the Cascada. You have to descend down some very steep stone stairs to get to it, and climb back up the opposite wall with similar steps. Fortunately, they have a very secure handrail to hold onto.

The Cascada with some of our missionaries.
Here's a final view of the whole site from the west end. You can see the living quarters towards the front, and the Kallanka way off to the east.

Incallajta site from the west end

Our group descending from the site to the road back on the valley floor.
All in all, pretty impressive.

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