The Incas were known for their obsession with fertility, whether it was related to crops or to the furtherance of their race. It is a fact that has since made a lot of sense to historians as the Incas were conquerors of a sort with the intention to create a thriving civilization to rule over all the indigenous races in many areas of Peru and surrounding modern-day countries.
Location Of The Temple
The Inca Uyo Temple which is a mere 18 kms from the quaint little village of Chucuito is a must-visit for all those that are embarking on a Peru holiday as it gives one a glimpse into an old civilization’s beliefs.
The Temple of Fertility has smaller ruins when compared with major heritage sites like Sacsayhuaman or Machu Picchu but it is still picturesque with Lake Titicaca not too far away.
The Nature Of The Fertility Temple
The Inca word ‘uyo’ means quite literally ‘a fertile member.’ The temple is placed in a rectangle perimeter and has man-made stone formations. The exact history of the temple is not fully known but there are plenty of legends and tourist speculations that garner interest in the site.
The megalithic formations are carved presumably by the Incas and are 86 in total. There is no evidence of the site being part of a larger structure or serving a joint purpose. The formations carved from stone are like large mushrooms although the locals have their own interpretations of the artistic nature of the temple.
The mushroom-shaped carved stones also bear a resemblance to male private parts, strengthening the argument that the temple was made to enhance fertility and was the chosen place for rituals to this effect.
History Of The Temple
The stones that were used in the temple were sourced from nearby quarries and are part of huge Basalt rock chunks that must have been altered to size by sculptors. They were first discovered in 1950 by an archeologist called Harry Tschopik who studied Peru almost exclusively over the span of his life.
There is some speculation that the original temple setting was different with the mushroom-shaped formations not really forming several rows but no such description could be found in the original excavator’s notes about the dig.
Orampelio Vidal who was working on the Domingo Church nearby continued excavation on the temple in the 1960s. Historians believe that it is possible some structures were damaged initially or may have been rearranged; resulting in the row-like pattern we can see today.
For people that are embarking on a spiritual Peru Tour, this site may be of some interest as the Incas used it for fertility rituals to enhance the well-being of their race.
Many historians claim that the mushroom-shaped stones are in fact male private parts as the site was a gathering ground for infertile women that sought to be blessed with children.
Pachamama which is the Inca’s equivalent of mother Earth was called upon to give the stones power and they reach out towards the sky for the purpose of praying to the sun god Inti. Inti is the most powerful god in the Inca mythology and forms the very top of the hierarchy which is why most Inca places of worship reference him in some way.
The Incas believed that every member of the race had their function to perform and there are visible organizational patterns which can be deduced from each major historical ruin. The fertility ritual was practiced on women that had not or could not bear children so that they could in effect, reintegrate into the society.
How The Rituals Were Done
Chicha lilac corn and coka leaves were important to these rituals and each woman brought these with her. Each woman had to sit on the stone figure and spread the leaves around her as a way to beseech the gods to grant her with children.
Corn beer would also be poured onto the rock structures while the person was sitting on it. The direction that the liquid would end up in could potentially tell the gender of a future child.
The site was also built for fertility problems in men which were occurring back in Inca times and were largely attributed to the hot weather.
The same ritual would be carried out with men with Pachamama being called upon to alleviate the suffering of infertile individuals.
While these myths exist as a story to tell each tourist, there is no exact evidence to determine the purposes the site was being used for. Many aspects of Inca mythology and culture still remain unknown.
The same kinds of cylinder-shaped stones are also found in Machu Picchu and a couple of other Inca sites, but their presence there is not attributed to an interest in fertility. They are also either lying down or placed differently which means that only the stones in the temple of fertility were specifically for this ritual.
Chucuito- A Delight For Visitors
The village of Chucuito is a lovely resting spot for tourists that are visiting Peru and have a special interest in Lake Titicaca. The part where this village falls offers a relatively rustic and isolated way to experience the lake as the area has a small population.
Tourists enjoy eating in the Plaza and can also visit the two churches which are near the temple of fertility or ‘Templo De La Fertilidad’ as it is known in Spanish. It also offers an authentic taste of quiet village life.
To this day the stones of the temple are believed to contain spiritual powers that can bestow fertility and longevity.
Interesting Archeological Finds
During the excavation, many interesting elements have been recovered including bits of ceramic and metal and other stones. Many of the recovered stones could not be traced to local origins, thus creating the theory they were transported by the Incas from other parts of their empire.
There have also been findings such as fragments of bone which are especially intriguing since it gives the impression that perhaps human or infant sacrifices were involved in the rituals.
Infant or children sacrifices were a part of the Inca ritual culture so it is not surprising that remains such as that are found at various sites.
A theory regarding the temple of fertility that historians have put forward is that the stone structures have some relevance to the constellations.
Incas allegedly used the site to determine the best times for certain crops and also patterns for weather forecasting.
For The Traveler
The Inca Uyo site is mysterious and somewhat controversial due to its purpose but this is precisely what adds to its charm.
Many tourists on a Peru holiday develop a keenness to visit the temple of fertility and there are scores of private guides with unbelievable local legends to share.
This tribute to Andean fertility and its importance for the Incas is worth a look if you are passing through Puno city or trying to get to Lake Titicaca.
When you’ve had a look, you can take a motorboat to visit the islands around Lake Titicaca. The Uros or ‘floating islands’ always emerge as a tourist favorite.