This festival takes place in the days before Corpus Christi (june/ 16-17-18).
The sanctuary of the Señor (Lord) of Qoylluriti (Snow Star) is located in the foothills of Mount Sinaq'ara 136 km from Cusco at 15,000 feet. This is one of the great pilgrimages that have been bringing the people of the Andes together since ancient times.
During the festival, all the "nations" around Ausangate Mountain send their "gift" or delegation of dancers and musicians which are offered both for the Cristo de las Nieves and for the Sacred Mountain. In this way they show their gratitude and ask for a bountiful harvest, livestock protection, welfare and health. At present, this Indian-Catholic event has been held every year since 1780, just before the catholic celebration of Corpus Christi, bringing thousands of pilgrims and visitors to maintain and renew the traditions, faith and worship to the Lord of Qoyllurit'i. They are always accompanied by the pilgrims, native dances and the Pablitos or Ukukos (half man, half bear), a magical being who mediates between men and the spirits of the mountains. This character is also responsible for carrying a symbolic piece of ice from the mountain that will renew the waters and rivers of their own group or nation.
The trip we offer is the same pilgrimage practiced by the people of this land.
Day 1: Cusco - Mawayani - Sanctuary Qoyllurit'i
At 3.00am we begin one of the most important pilgrimages of the Andes towards Lord of Qoylluriti Sanctuary(15,000 ft), located in a breathtaking spot and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. We slowly hike though an uphill trail along which we will encounter 14 crosses that are venerated on the way; the last one is already located at the Sanctuary. Upon arrival, we will be accommodated at our camp, take a rest and then we’ll have breakfast. Afterwards we will visit the chapel with hundreds of indigenous people, visitors and the groups of dancers and musicians. Lunch.
In the afternoon we’ll visit the "Alacitas" market. This is a very curious display in which one buys miniature goods such as cars, houses, cattle, university titles and others, that are only valid during the Qoyllurit’i festivity, in line with one’s real wishes. The legend says that whatever you accomplish in this “ritual”, will come true thanks to the power of the Lord of Qoyllurit’i. We stay overnight and then have dinner. (B / L / D)
Day 2: Sanctuary Qoyllurit'i - Sinaq'ara
This day is spent entirely at the sanctuary. We will attend the Soul Mass in the sanctuary atrium and ascend the foothills of Mt Sinaq'ara to observe the arrival of Ukukus carrying and sharing a sacred piece of ice. This is a good place to have wonderful views of the festivity itself. We will return to our camp for lunch.
The afternoon is reserved for other activities, for all wanting to join them: the procession of the Lord of Tayankani and the Virgin, several dancing performances, mass at the Sanctuary and the singing to the Lord. At night, after dinner, we enjoy the spectacular “Burning of Castles”, in which wooden construction with fireworks are burned. (B / L / D)
Day 3: Sanctuary Qoyllurit'i - Tayankani - Cusco
After an early wake up, we pack our bags and get ready for the pilgrimage. We wait and attend the Blessing Mass at 10.00 am and at noon we leave in the so-called “24 hour procession”, together with the rest of pilgrims. The procession leaves from the Sanctuary and runs through Calvario, Machucruz, Kumukasa lagoon and Alqamarina sectors, until reaching Yanacocha, where we arrive at around 6.00 pm. We then take a break for three or four hours and we start again walking towards Tayancani. Visibility is not a problem because the moonlight on this time of the year is enough for the night hike. (B / L / D)
RECOMMENDATIONS AND NOTES
We suggest staying at high altitude above 9,500 ft in Cusco or another high altitude city for at least two to three days before undertaking the trip.
We can provide vegetarian meals or cater for special diets with no extra cost. Just let us know at least two days prior to trek departure.
. 1 Person: US$1200.00
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