We believe that rock is inert, lifeless, but José Parco, a native of Chimborazo, would tell us otherwise: that rocks, and our very Earth, live and transmit energy and the history that has trodden over it. The worldview of the indigenous people of Chimborazo has a lot to teach us: we should not only come to tread on the land, but learn from it and its people. This is the only way to truly understand and experience a destination like this. With this in mind we begin to get to know this unique province and its sacred sites, one of them being the temple of Machay.
Machay is located at the foot of Chimborazo; it is the gateway to the mountain. The legendary Puruhá people understood this place as a secret entrance to enter the underworld “city” of wealth where taita (father) Chimborazo, generously offers life and natural riches to anyone able to reach him. The temple is actually a cave set 4,700 meters above the sea.
To get to it, there is a three hour walk uphill over grass, sand and stone. Along the way, a wonderful kishuar (a sacred tree) stands alone. You’ll see chuquiraguas, chocho (lupin) plants, alpacas and hummingbirds. The path is steep, involving some effort; but reaching the cave is a good reward. The enveloping rock formation has a heartbeat, guarding hundreds of years of history in its bowels. People still leave offerings there: photographs, animal bones, sheep or alpaca wool. The feeling of being inside the mountain is an almost mystical experience. With the great Chimborazo looming above, al- most too close to fathom, the entire landscape breathes to the rhythm of the Earth, transmitting all of its sacred energy. Places like this should never be taken for granted.