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STORIES OF DEVILS AND CHULLPAS

A glance to Sillustani

Fervent devotees of the Virgin of the Candelaria - the Patron Saint worshipped by the city of Puno - the demon in the awful mask is entrusted to God in the atrium of the Cathedral...

"Here is Sillustani", a drowsy clerk of a hotel points out and bangs a distant point in the map that is displayed on the table. "No!, it is not very far, 34 kilometers" he informs with words are interrupted by continuous yawns. "That yes, he has to go anyway. The place is impressive and mysterious", he adds in an intriguing tone that wakes up the traveler's curiosity.

Impressive and mysterious.. did you think of those words when the vehicle fought against the slopes or did you still not wake up from the seduction of the devils? You don't remember.You maybe yook it down in your notebook; then, you begin to look for it and you flick the leaves with frantic desperation. You surprise yourself at your own thoughts.
"I am heading for Sillustani.

They have told me that they are giant chullpas, built by the collas and the Inca... ah, I taste the emotion and entertain the expectation, observing the houses, the church steeples and the flagged crafts that float in Lake Titicaca, begin to be swallowed by the horizon... ".

You follow the search in your wornout binnacle. The task is difficult. You find references to the islands of the Auroches and Taquile - the past bastions in the immensity of the Titicaca, you wrote -, but, also, whole pages of crossed out texts and barely legible as your handwriting was deformed by the lashes of fatigue, treated by the height.

You read: "the chullpas or ayawasis, are big turrets of volcanic stone that had a funeral function. In the 150 hectares of Sillustani one of the biggest necropolis in the world you can see 90 of these constructions that surpass 12 meters high in their majority. Nobody knows for certainty when these monuments that harmonize with their calm neighbor's beauty, the lagoon of Umayo, were built."

You don't find more notes. Maybe because you allowed yourself to take in the serene view of the highland: restless waters, cloudsthat seem to be the hats gray or white - of the mountains, a snow field that amazes those far and arrows of light that burn faces... Impressive and mysterious, yes, these are the words in which you think now.

Texts and Photographs: Rolly Valdivia Chávez



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