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Chullpas

Funerary Tower (Chullpa) on the Shores of Peru’s Lake Umayo

In the lands around Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia, the native cultures believed in building funerary towers called chullpas to house their dead. Even under Incan rule, the Aymara-speaking Colla people continued this practice.

In 2015, I visited Sillustani, which contained the most impressive collections of chullpas situated on a nearby hill. Unfortunately, one cannot always guarantee good weather on a vacation outing, and the weather at Sillustani was vile that day. Consequently, I not only took no pictures but decided not to climb the hill in the rain (and at 12,000 feet or 3,700 meters altitude). So I took none of the pictures shown on this page.

Funerary Towers at Sillustani

I paid dearly for my trip to Sillustani, which included sampling some quinoa soup at a local resident’s kitchen. The next day, I was struck with a horrible need to go to the bathroom while on a lancha plying Lake Titicaca. I must have looked green in the face as I soldiered on in search of some toilet somewhere. Finally, on Isla Taquile, I found one; though I can’t say I got much from that day’s journey other than incredible discomfort.

Some days just are like that.

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