Hello! My name is Amanda, the most recent employee of Apus Peru, a growing sustainable trekking company located in Cusco, Peru. I will be posting regularly with photos and stories from my travel experiences, updates on Apus Peru treks, local news, Cusco travel tips, and more. I also hope to involve our trekkers in contributing here by sharing photos, feedback and advice! Here is a little about what I have been up to:
This past weekend I attended Qolloritty, a religious pilgrimage to the Chapel of Señor Qollorritty, located at the base of Sinakara Mountain. Cities and villages send costumed delegations, known as comparsas, to the chapel, where they dance and ask that their animals grow well. They are accompanied by the special shaggy protectors of el Señor de Qollor Riti, known as the paluchas.
Along with them, thousands of others come to observe, attend mass and ask for luck in life, business and love. When the Apus Peru group and I arrived, the narrow valley below Sinakara and its glaciers was filled with tents and vendors. People waited in line for hours to enter the church, while paluchas danced in several different areas. This continued all through the (freezing cold!) night, and into the following day. This is how a 2008 Apus Peru trekker described Qolloritty:
“Imagine tens of thousands of Peruvians, the majority indigenes, dressed in a range of amazing costumes, all converging on to a mountain top sanctuary for three days of non stop dancing, singing, praying, the letting off of rockets and fireworks in endless cacophany and then, when exhaustion should have felled them, walking all night with just the full moon for light, carrying heavy wooden crosses up glaciers and across high passes (over 5000m) to the final procession on a mountain top.”
If you are interested in joining the pilgrimage next year, check out this page: http://www.apus-peru.com/qolloritty_pilgrimage.htm
Below is a photo of myself and amazing Apus Peru cooks Herbert and Amancio. Behind us is the chapel and the hundreds of tents and homemade shelters of other visitors!