Sillustani in Puno
Walking among the imposing Chulpas of Sillustani is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating experiences of the trip along the tourist route of southern Peru. The stillness and beauty of Lake Umayo and the rugged landscape at almost 4000 meters above sea level, contribute to creating this enigmatic atmosphere that is part of the environment where an ancient culture also developed.
About 34 km from the city of Puno are these fascinating pre-Inca funerary monuments. In them the ancient Peruvians of this area buried their nobles to give them eternal rest. The so-called “Chullpas” are volcanic stone towers that resemble an inverted cone. The stone material was brought from nearby quarries and even today, there are around 90 of these chulpas or “ayawasis” in this archaeological complex that is scattered on a large hill, from where you can see the landscape next to the icy lake.
These monuments not only served to preserve the body of a “great lord”, but also showed the respect that inspired his memory or the “ayllu” to which he belonged. The corpse of the “noble”, belonged to an authority, curaca or priest, was previously mummified and placed in a fetal position. Next to it, gold and silver artifacts, utensils and ceramics were frequently buried. The tallest tower in the archaeological complex is the so-called “chullpa del lagarto”, 12 meters high. This complex was declared a cultural heritage of the nation in 2003.
Within the same area of the archaeological complex you can visit the site museum. Where you can learn more about the ancient cultures that inhabited the area, among which the Kollas, Tiahuanacos and Incas stand out. In a few minutes the inhabitants of the town of Atuncolla also offer boat rides across the lake.
How to get to Sillustani?
It is recommended to depart from Puno by land. The archaeological complex is open from Monday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. at 5:30 p.m. (referential) and the entrance costs approximately S / 5.50 soles, (approximately 2.00 US dollars). You can also start from Juliaca, which is about 40 km away. It is advisable and essential to have the tourist guide service since this service does not exist on site.
Many of the travelers visiting Peru for the first time arrive in Puno after visiting the city of Arequipa and the Colca Canyon. Currently there is an excellent road that runs from this last destination – the Colca valley – to Sillustani. The journey between both places gives us beautiful Andean landscapes, where you can take excellent photographs until you reach the Sillustani complex. After the visit, the travelers are transferred to Puno to rest at their hotel and continue their journey. This option is ideal for those travelers who are traveling through southern Peru, as it optimizes their travel time (at least one day) by going directly from Colca to Sullustani and then to Puno.
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