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Published: October 6th 2018
It was a pandemonium when we reached the bus station in the morning in Aguas Calientes. I thought 6 am would be early enough for a twenty minute bus ride to Machu Picchu to get a glimpse of the sunrise. Well, I was wrong. The line-up to board the bus was snaking along the street. Not to mention the bus ticket counter. Thank God that we already purchased advanced bus tickets so we didn’t have to struggle another line up in the counter. Every 10-15 minutes buses were leaving, totally loaded. Already many have left for Machu Picchu in the earlier buses. Still tourists were pouring in. Anyway, we managed to board the bus. But luck is an unpredictable element that always does not favour you. It had rained last night and the sky was semi cloudy. So absolutely there was no hope of capturing the sunrise. Ah well, what the heck; it is what it is. To view the beautiful Machu Picchu in the early morning is a bonus by itself. And indeed it was a bonus for us when we entered the ruins. What a view,- my oh my! The cloud was rolling behind the beautiful mountain guarding the
ruin – Huayna Picchu. A mixture of sun and cloud was playing throwing a mystique streak of light and shadow on the ruins of Mach Picchu; the broken stones of the rooms and the pathway were gleaming in the light and shadow. The whole ambience was carrying the somber tale of a bygone glory. Wonderful! One has to see to believe it! Slowly the cloud moved away and the whole ruin was suddenly glowing in the morning sun. Hundreds of tourists were roaming around, some walking towards the other trails and some trying to climb up the Huayna Picchu and some were strolling around inside the ruins. I was glad that we were not jostling with hundred other people to view the beauty of the ruins and the majestic mountains surrounding it; we had the whole Machu Picchu to ourselves yesterday afternoon. True the view of the morning beauty of the ruin is no doubt spectacular, but we didn’t come here to view only, we wanted to feel her glory, we wanted to listen to her tales of the bygone days. We needed to spend time alone with her. And we did that yesterday afternoon. She gave her all!
Before we started the trip to Peru, we decided not to climb up Huayna Picchu, we thought it would be a bit much for us; instead, we bought the ticket to climb up the Machu Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Montana as it is called by the locals. Machu Picchu Montana sits right across from the Huayna Picchu and it is a gentler climb than Huayna Picchu. Well, we changed our mind. Montana will take 3 to 5 hours round trip. We probably don’t have much time to do that as we had to leave before noon. We were debating. Another option for us was to trek all the way to the Sun Gate. It is at the end of the Inca Trail, just before entering the Machu Picchu ruins. The people who hike along the Inca Trail, this is the gateway for them to enter the ruins. As soon as they enter through the Sun Gate from the other end of Inca Trail, they get to see the Machu Picchu ruins from a distance. Incas used to do that and it is an alternate option for the visitors for viewing the sunrise over the Ruins. Also this
is a less strenuous trek to walk up to the Sun Gate from the Machu Picchu ruins. Although viewing the sunrise was out of question at that hour, we thought that trekking to Sun Gate would at least give us another view of the ruins from a different angle and a distance.
“Let’s take the Sun Gate.” Suman told me. “Sure” I said…didn’t want to stress her out much. Not a bad hike we found; we rested from time to time to get a view of the mountains and catch our breath. Halfway through, Suman quit and she wanted to rest. I continued to the end to reach the Sun Gate. Fifty or so tourists scattered around the Sun Gate and were busy doing what the tourists do, - photography, relaxing here and there, having a snack or a drink. The view of the ruins from the Sun Gate was splendid, although I preferred the close up view. I rested there for ten minutes or so enjoying the view and made the return journey.
All good times come to an end. Once we left the main entrance of the ruin, I started feeling nostalgic…slowly the sadness
started gripping me replacing the excitement of yesterday. This has been my dream for years, I waited for this opportunity for all my life and yes, now I have seen it; no, let me correct it, - why do I say I have ‘seen it’? Actually I captured the moments through my eyes and through my senses and tattooed in my brain. And I would retain them until I die; then why this sadness? Well, this is the sense of losing someone or something that I am deeply in love with, a desperate yarn not to be parted; it is the same sense when I say goodbye to my love at a train station when she is waving at me from the window of the running train; and I do not know when I would be able to see her again. This is exactly the same feeling for Machu Picchu, my eternal love. I wanted to hold her tight and don’t let her go and stay with her forever. I wanted to listen to the untold stories of the ruins, share the sigh of sadness of her lost glory, I wanted to lie down there and watch Huayna Picchu in
a moonlit night and watch her protecting the ruins from all evils; I wanted to feel the whispering wind circling around the mountain and I wanted to talk to the Urubamba River flowing down far below singing her tune embracing the mountain; I simply wanted to fade away into the everlasting beauty of Machu Picchu and never to wake up again. But I knew, that is simply not possible and we all are slaves of our own lives. And it was time to say Good Bye to my love Machu Picchu. Au revoir! Will be back again my love!
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