Sunday, August 13, 2006

Machu Pichu - a trip to the serenity of the soul

My visit to this Inca monument on 6 August 2006, was as inspiring and impressive as I had read and imagined. Built in the fifteenth century, it stands majestic at a height of 8000 feet, surrounded by other mountain peaks around. The serpentine river Urubamba around the base of Machu Pichu is a spectacular view from the monument. The monument consists of temples, terraces, astronomical structures and residences for about 400 inhabitants who were mostly priests and the nobility of the Inca empire. The duality, trinity, worship of sun and moon and a lingam-like structure at the centre of the sanctorum are similar to some of the beliefs and temples of India. But the lingam of the Inca is rectangular unlike the cylindrical one of India.

The emotions evoked by this Inca monument has been aptly described by Pablo Neruda in his poem "Alturas de Machu Pichu",

Machu Pichu es un viaje a la serenidad del alma,
a la eterna fusion con el cosmos
un reposar del mariposas en el epicentro del gran circulo de la vida
allĂ­ sentimos nuestra fragilidad.


Machu Pichu is a trip to the serenity of the soul,
to eternal fusion with the cosmos
a resting place of butterflies at the epicentre of the great circle of life
there we feel our own fragility.

The tour package organized from Cusco, the nearest city about 120 kms from Macu Pichu took me by surprise. It is one of the most efficient and pleasant in terms of organization. Cusco city was earlier the Inca capital. The train journey of three hours and forty minutes through mountains, valleys and along the river Urubamba is scenic. The Cusco- Machu Pichu train is a luxury train with glass even on the ceiling to see the steep mountain peaks on both sides of the rail road. The train service is punctual and the service includes entertainment too. There is a fashion show with a female and a male model displaying typical Peruvian dress and the famous Alpaca woolens with modern designs. The costumes are sold thereafter. The passengers are entertained by a local folk dancer. The train stops at the valley below Machu Pichu and there are luxury buses every few minutes shuttling between the valley and the monument. Next to the Machu Pichu station there are over hundred handicraft shops offering colourful and varied pieces, similiar to the Rajasthani ones. One can buy sweaters and shawls made from the wool of Alpaca, the typical mountain goat of Andes. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to taste the Peruvian delicacies like Ceviche ( raw fish marinated in lime juice ), Pisco Sour the local drink and "Inca Cola" a yellow colour drink which competes with Coca Cola.

From Cusco there is a 200 $ package tour to Machu Pichu. This includes pick up from hotel, train ticket, shuttle bus from tain station to machu Pichu, guide and lunch. value for money !

In Lima I played golf at the Lima Golf Club with Kitri, the son of our Ambassador. He is a champion- material and is going to do Golf management studies in a North Carolina University.

The city of Lima is historic,modern, safe and pleasant to live. I met Viswanathan, the Ranbaxy executive, living there since the last four years. Indian pharma companies do a business of about 15 million dollars per year. The pharma market turnover is about 450 million dollars in the private sector and 200 million of government purchases. Registration of products takes a maximum of three months and cost per product is under 1000 dollars.

The Peru- India Chamber of Commerce, under the guidance of Mr Kishore Gupta, is active in promotion of bz. They plan to bring a delegation to India in November.

The peruvian economy is doing well. There is scope for Indian cos to invest in Petroleum and mining besides exports.

Readers are welcome to visit my album for fotos of Machu Pichu

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