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Pilgrimage to the Lord of Qoyllur rit’i in Cusco Peru

A religious celebration in the heart of the Andes

A perfect example of the marriage of Catholic traditions and Inca worship, is undoubtedly the pilgrimage of Qoyllur rit’i, in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. Bruno, a member of our team, had the opportunity to participate, and he tells us everything!

What does Qoyllur rit’i mean?

Qoyllur rit’i comes from two Quechua words: qoyllur (sunset or morning star) and rit’i (snow), which means snow star. This traditional pilgrimage is carried out annually for more than two centuries, with the aim of paying tribute to the appearance of the image of Christ crucified on a rock in Ausangate, one of the highest mountains in Peru.
The tradition comes from a legend: the Child Jesus, disguised as a shepherd, appeared to an indigenous boy, Marianito, and the two became friends. When the parents found them dressed in rich clothes, they informed the village priest, who tried to capture him but without success. The boy disappeared and Marianito died of grief. In the place where the boy was buried, the image of the crucified Lord appeared on a rock, in a magnificent environment, surrounded by glaciers.

Opinion on a Pumadventures customer?

Although I grew up near the Pyrenees, it was my first multi-day camping trip. I must say that I was really impressed during these 3 days: firstly, for the impressive landscapes, but also for the religious fervor of the pilgrims who participate in this surreal event. Then also for the comfort of the camp and the speed at which the muleteers installed it every night. We ate very well and slept without suffering too much from the cold. Chances are I will try again next year!

What can you tell us more about the Qoyllur rit’i pilgrimage?

In some figures:
– 5200 meters: this is the highest altitude reached during this pilgrimage (Col de Machucruz).
– 5 ° C below zero – This is the lowest temperature the thermometer can display overnight, according to our guide. We have not verified the information, but the frozen walls of our stores during the last awakening attest to their accuracy.
– + than 30,000: this is the number of pilgrims who participate in this celebration each year.
– 72 hours: it is approximately the number of hours that the procession lasts. Most pilgrims do not sleep during this time.
– 30 km: this is the approximate number of kilometers that we have covered during these 3 days.

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