Quillarumiyoc, the Moon Rock
What follows on your way to Cusco is the immensity of the Anta plain, with its deal lands for agriculture. The plain, known as pampa in Spanish, expands the more you move away from the Vilcabamba Range and the apu Salcantay. You can spot all kinds of green colors in the landscape, blended with lilac from the potato flowers and the land that is ready to be sowed. As a matter of fact, Anta could easily be considered on of the most beautiful places in Cusco and it would be terrible if the much-desired new airport is built here…Let’s save Anta!
You can stop in Quillarumiyoc (kilometer 923), a sacred place that preliminary studies date back to 3200 years. The site can be seen from the left side of the highway, and can be reached climbing uphill, after crossing a small forest. The purpose of this place for ancient Peruvians can be explained from meaning of its name. Or maybe, the other way around, where quilla means “moon”; rumi, “stone,” and yoc, “place.” This meaning: “the place of the moon.” The site has been incorporated recently to Cusco’s archaeological monument network, so now there is a guard and admittance is charged.
The antrophologist Theo Paredes and archaeologist Manuel Silca have studied this place comprehensively. They have an association, Poqen Kanchay (www.pkcusco.org), with a lot of information about Quillarumiyoc in their website. The site has an extension area of 5000 square meters, and the majority of its constructions are buried in mud and stones from an old landslide. So, we are talking about an impressive place such as Sacsayhuamán, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero, with huge terraces and thick walls. Farmers from the community of San Martin de Porres participate in the work done by Poqen Kanchay, and they are who keep the fundamental sense of this place.
One of the main attractions in Quillarumiyoc is what seems to be a carved throne in a huge rock. Silva explains that the Incas practiced stone carving following the rocks features (veins and interior cracks.) This was achieved by a natural process or human action. The technique enabled them to obtain a shape according to the purpose they wanted to give to the stone. In some cases fire was even used, subduing the rock to high temperatures, and using rocce, a very resinous pine that can resist fires up to 1300ºC. Fire disintegrates the rock, but always respecting its internal nature. So the rock in Quillarumiyoc is, according to Poqen Kanchay, a huaca, or a replica in stone of an apu, dedicated to the worshipping of feminity.
Another interesting spot at this archaeological site is a cave with paintings, maybe traces of the oldest inhabitants in the area. You can also see farming lands. As a matter of fact, studies revealed that there is “a terrace system equipped with an advance hydrographic deposit” three meters under, according to the website. “The terrace system enabled an area capable of producing more food with less work, but also hydraulic system that was used to control erosion and develop agriculture.” This means the place was a symbolic representation but it was also functional. Hence the architecture used: There is an ushnu with special characteristics, with a plinth course made with carved stones, another indicator of its high hierarchy. This place is visited by meditation groups since, they say, it has a unique energy. Theo Paredes told me that even today, pregnant women give birth alone in a small waterfall in the river, so their child can enter a world of greatness, of light and cosmic force. From here, small walks can be done, all of them fantastic.