ALBORADA - SAYRI ÑAN

3.26.2011

THE BRIDGE OF THE INCA




"The adventurer looked to the top, eager to plant the flag in the heights of Aconcagua. He was about ten steps from the "Cementerio de los Andinistas "(1) and could feel the hopelessness that perpetuates the history of who tumbles without display the flag of his country - buried there, as testament of the unpreparedness, irresponsibility or lack of luck. He tried not to think, avoiding to feel something.
His foot was stuck on the ground, powerfully, in a desperate attempt to see himself bigger than the event . The guide approached calmly with a smile and an apology. Today, they couldn't go anywhere. The climate changed quickly, again, it would be impossible to reach the top in the coming days. He tried to reply, shutting up, immediately, remembering the cemetery. The guide consoled him: they wouldn't face the chill wind of the mountain, but... he would show him the secrets and mysteries of the Inca Bridge."








On the way to Las Cuevas (border with Chile), we find one of the most famous spa resort of Argentina. The baths in these waters are recommended for various diseases and the natural characteristics of the region compete with the mystery of its legends ... to enchant us ...




In 1965, a devastating avalanche destroyed the beautiful Hotel Puente del Inca who had survived, previously, of countless disasters. It was a solid building, sumptuous, with underground access to the termals pools - in this area emerge sources of hot water, mineral, that flow without stopping...


Evidence of the slip are still there, showing the cascade of rocks that rolled abruptly to the bottom of the valley...
Fortunately, guests and employees, "miraculously" were saved, by taking shelter in the little church remained intact and can still be seen today.


Located in the Cordillera of the Andes, 2,720 meters above sea level, the Puente del Inca (Inca Bridge), is famous as a natural bridge, unique in the world, declared a Natural Monument. It seems that was formed by the action of the waters, that have minerals in excess, and by the action of thermal waters in the sediments placed in the bottom of a cavity. Due to them, the yellow color, orange, ocher, that dyes all the area, and any object that you put under them, stands so impregnated with mineral salts that acquires an appearance of stone .
On the right bank, the famous spa, with five sources of the same type but of different temperatures and components. The landscape, surrounded by mountains, stretches itself tens of meters below the bridge, into the waters of the river Las Cuevas...



(Forty-seven feet long by twenty-eight wide, on Las Cuevas River. Called Puente del Inca because of the Inca nobility that served of its medicinal hot springs, that flows from the pool, under it.)






The story of the Bridge begins with the Path of the Inca and its legends ...


It is assumed that the Incas have used its waters with healing properties. His fame is rightly due mainly to its thermal baths. Existing buildings, beside and under the bridge,like small pools where the waters flow, thermal, originated from natural sources with temperatures ranging between 34 and 38 degrees. The baths are recommended for nervous disorders, rheumatic diseases, gynecological treatment, children with anemia, rickets and arthritis.




The area is ideal for adventure tourism, mountain climbing, horseback riding and snow sports.
Nearby is the "Cerro Los Penientes", so called because its great walls of stone,when seen from the distance, look like huge monks in procession.






From the bridge when the sun makes shine the dawn in tones, totaly golden, revealing stalactites, there's a magical world that takes us ... drawing fluid rainbows, in the water, and on the ice, insinuating fantastic connotations, in nature that, always, made ​​the place sacred to the Incas ...





The name of the place comes from a legend ...



A long, long time ago... long before the arrival of the Spaniards ...








THE LEGEND OF THE INCA'S BRIDGE






The successor of the Inca Empire was, gravely ill. He was a wise and just prince, like his father, and everyone loved him very much. For all the land of Tahuantinsuyo all prayed to the gods by making sacrifices and offerings for their health. But the Prince only got worse and everyone feared that his death would put at risk the future of the Empire. By consulting the Amautas (2), they were told that the prince would regain health if he could bathe in the waters of a certain place, far away, toward the south, between the rocks and mountains of the Cordillera. There, they say, sprang a water that it could cure all diseases.




However, to getting there, they should traverse distances, deserts and climb mountains. Wasting no time, the Inca ordered to preparing an entourage to accompany the prince and, in the morning, they departed from Cuzco in search of the mighty waters. At dawn, they followed the road - with many llamas, laden with food and everything needed for such a long journey. Despite concerns about the prince, the trip did them to knowing a part of Tahuantinsuyo that let them wondered ...






The long trip led them by the abrupt mountains, peaceful valleys, desert fields and verdant meadows, rivers, streams, moonlit nights and days of gold and light. For days and days were they, on the way, sharing with nature and their gods a unique experience.


By day the sun gave them all shades of green and the colored of many exotic flowers; the grandeur and the splendor of the nature snatched them. At night, the giants spectra of the mountains had placed them, in front of the unknown, with amazement - sounds and noises like if the land spoke to them with voice that only they could understand, repeating the echo in the cliffs, in the vastness of the valleys ...
Until, as an announcement that were near the goal, they stopped, paralyzed by the sight of the more beautiful and mysterious mountain that they had seen. They stood in front of the Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes and its powerful Apu (3).




By winning the surprise and the enthusiasm, they went ahead and, after a short walk, in which many hares crossed his path, as if to greet them, they arrived almost late in the afternoon, on a ravine. Down there, embedded in the ravine, ran a mighty river that advanced, invincible, on the rocks ...


The sound of the trumpet, the quepa, (4) broke the silence to announce that they had arrived. However, there was nothing to do: the hot springs were on the other side of the ravine, inaccessibles ...


A total despair overtook them because of the impossibility that presented itself. They stayed, there, the night, tired and waiting that the sun, Father of all the Incas, would bring a solution to the problem.




At dawn, as they were led by the power and love of the Sun, from which all the Incas are children, the soldiers of the entourage, Inti warriors (5), began to embrace each other, forming a human bridge so that the Son of the Sun could reach the other side. The Inca walked, on their backs, with his son in the arms and, thus, he could reach the hot springs, finding the cure for the boy.






When he looked back to thank his warriors, they had been petrified and had become what today is known as "Puente del Inca. "






Maybe this is my favorite legend for what it represents. So,the Great Tahuantinsuyo is. The power of the sun alied with the strength of men and women of a kingdom, eternally in search of perfection. This legend represents many things. There is the "divine", present in all the stages of the way and in all the discoveries and there is the human side, seeking to overcome its difficulties with union and faith, never giving up on their goals and fulfilling their duty to the end.








This legend, surely, expresses the Tahuantinsuyo in its simplest form and, at the same time, the most grandiose: land of gods, home of the Sun, nation of warriors ...






Some tell that, when night is coming, when the hills are like a rubbed drawing, shrouded in veils of startling forms, it can see pass by a caravan of strange figures, as if it came of the time, of the silence, crossing from one mountain to another, eternaly seeking the healing waters ...






(1) located on the southern route linking Mendoza to Santiago de Chile, a distance of 1,500 meters of the Puente del Inca, to six miles from Los Penitentes.




(2) a person of great wisdom, teacher, master.


(3) mountain spirit.


(4) (quepa or pututu) - great trumpet made of a large marine snail, with the inner channel, spiral.


(5) in Quechua, sun




(ARGENTINA - THE LAST RAY OF THE SUN OF THE GREAT TAHUANTINSUYO)