Three men and three women appeared in a place called Pacaritambo, which is not far from the city of Cusco. Pacaritambo means House from which they Originated. The three men were called Ayar Cachi, Ayar Uchu and Ayar Manco and the three women were called Mama Rahua, Mama Huaco and Mama Cora.
They tell that these people left Pacaritambo dressed in large cloaks and the men in sleeveless and collarless shirts called uncu which were woven of very fine wool of vicuña and alpaca with many motifs of different forms called tukapu, which on Quechua means The cloth of Kings. One of the men came out of Pacaritambo with a golden sling and put a stone in it. And the women came out dressed as fine as the men carrying golden vessels.
Ayar Uchu spoke to his other brothers telling them it was time to make a new population in Pacaritambo and this was accomplished quickly because they had the help of the people. A lot of gold and jewels were put there with other precious objects. They also tell that one of the men, who was called Ayar Cachi, was very brave and so powerful that with only his sling he brought down mountains and he could throw a stone so high with his sling that it hit the clouds.
This was how Pedro Cieza de Leon had heard about the Incas ancestors and mothers. They must have been people of flesh and blood, and I can see them alive for me. Also because he mentioned them by name: Ayar Cachi, Ayar Uchu, Ayar Manco, Mama Rahua, Mama Huaco and Mama Cora. There they came, the royal founders of the Inca Empire in their sleeveless and collarless shirts and long cloaks.
Ayar Uchu had declared that it was time to create a new people. Ayar Cachi with his golden sling could lay mountains down. It sounded violent, but cracks and crevices in rocks can inspire faiths about an ancestor with insane forces and divine strength. And then there was Ayar Manco.
Ciezas project was to reproduce what Incas had told him, and in the center of the story was Ayar Cachi, who with his golden sling could bring down mountains. Cieza also thought it sounded a little exaggerated, but what didn’t you do – the Incas – to boast of their origin?
1586, in Lima, the Spanish-born theologian Miguel Cabello de Balboa – nephew of the conqueror of the Pacific – completed a work containing some detailed informations:
Some five leagues distant from the city of Cusco is the Pacaritambo, which means Lodging of the Dawn or Palace of Windows, which is much talked about and greatly prized more because of what they say about it than for its beautiful structure, because it is such that it only serves as witness of its antiquity and now it is walled by trees which the natives believe are sacred, and the natives declare that from these dwellings the first Incas came out into the world after the universal flood.
Like Cieza, Cabello had heard that the first Incas should have come from Pacaritambo. According to Cabello, the name of the place should mean Lodging of the Dawn or Palace of Windows, while Cieza had written that it should mean The House from which they Originated.
Cabello wrote that Pacaritambo should be about five league from Cusco, which is about 15 miles. Betanzos wrote the distance from Cusco was seven league. And Cieza had written that Pacaritambo was not so far from Cusco – but how far was it when the Inca Empire measured about 2700 miles from north to south when the Empire was largest? Could the Incas come from Cuscos immediate surroundings?
Myths referred to the Incas migration, the great flood and the first people from Lake Titicaca. As explanation of an Inca coat of arms, Poma mentioned Lake Titicaca as origin of the eight Inca brothers.
But is that a proof that the Incas came from Titicaca?
Together we have sailed on the almost magical Lake Titicaca, and I have pointed to Tiahuanaco at the lakes southern shore. You know the lake is about 300 miles south of Cusco.
Today, linguists and historians doubt that a tribe from the area around Tiahuanaco at Lake Titicaca in southern Peru, where Aymara is spoken, would be able to establish itself as the ruling power in an area around Cusco where Quechua was spoken, which became the dominant language in the Inca Empire.
The Peruvian brothers Fernando E. Salazar Elorrieta and Edgar Salazar Elorrieta point to the circumstance that in the area just north of Cusco there are several placenames where the word choque, gold, is included: Choquetacarpo which can be translated into the staff of gold, Choquepayan where gold sprouts, Choquepacarina the place-of-origin of gold, Choquebamba the plain of gold, Choquellusca where gold lies.
These place names just there are hardly a coincidence.
Cabellos concrete information of five league from Cusco makes Elorrieta & Elorrieta to point at Ollantaytambo – though there is a little more then 15 miles on the road.
And now we are in Ollantaytambo!
If we turn our back to stairs and terraces you will see a divine head, a 500 ft tall rock formation that resembles an old man with beard: the creator god Viracocha!
The location high on the rock wall makes him look down on Ollantaytambo. The name of the city can be translated from Quechua to The Plain One Can Look Down On. The city name reflects, so to speak, his divine look.
According to Cabello, the mythological place name Pacaritambo could be translated into the Lodging of the Dawn. The builders – who not necessarily were Incas, it may have been built by a earlier civilization – had observed and marked where the suns morning rays hit at winter solstice on June 21 – we are in the southern hemisphere – and where to build their temple.
If we turn our back to Viracochas divine head and see stairs and terraces a little further away, then – with some good will – we can see that it looks like a llama and its young.
At winter solstice, when we again turn to lighter times, the first rays of the sun will enter through the valley and exactly hit the adult llamas eye. The morning light this day awakens the sacred animal. The head consists of ruins, and on this day the light originally hit the doorway and the middle of the wall of the house. That house could have been that of the morning dawn.
Let’s get up the stairs – we will pause when we need to enjoy the view and breathe!
Here the building methods are opposite to the one we saw at Saqsaywaman, where the largest stones lay at the bottom, followed by the medium and with the smallest at the top. Here in Ollantaytambo we see the smaller stones at the bottom followed by the middle and the largest stones at the top. The reason is that the materials come from a quarry on the other side of the river, so they chose to start with the lightest and finish with the largest and heaviest. In fact, the construction is not completed, so we will see stones which the workers have pulled down the opposite mountain side, have crossed the river and dragged up to the construction site here.
(pp. 94-98 in volume 2, reproduced without notes and illustrations):
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO AZTECS AND INCAS: MYTHS AND STORIES FROM MEXICO AND PERU. Edited, translated, retold and commented by Mikael Witte. Volume 1 + Volume 2
476 pages + 540 pages. Richly illustrated in colors
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