Tipon, The Temple of Water

The archeological complex of Tipon is among the three places included in the tourist Southern Circuit. It is found at the southern end of the city of Cusco, some 23 kms. Away, at an altitude of 3560 meters above sea level.

The dominant hypothesis about the origin of the name Tipon is that it probably comes from the Quechua word timpuj, which means boiling. This could be true since when you visit this place you see many canals and water fountains, water that when it falls gives the impression of boiling.

We know that the Incas achieved impressive development in their architecture and especially in construction involving water. Throughout the site you can appreciate the amazing for in which water is carried and distributed.

Unlike other places, Tipon still has functioning water canals and many of them still serve to meet the needs of the population of the area.

Among those that most stand out are twelve terraces that are larger than those of other archeological centers and they have canals and water falls. Their irrigation system is advanced and shows a high knowledge of engineering. As a result, the scientists of the American Society of Civil Engineers recognized it as a manument of Civil Engineering on the 26th of July of 2008.

It is said that Topon was the Royal Estate that Inca Wiracocha ordered built for his father Yahuar Huaca, a palce with beautiful gardens. We can see the importance of this place in two ways.

As a first approximation, we have the description made by Father Cristóbal de Molina that considered the mystical pilgrimage of the Tarpuntaes, the Andean priests. They carried out a pilgrimage before the winter solstice in which they visit temples that were found in a straigth line between Cusco and Sicuani. They returned through Mantocalla where the Imperial astronomers observed sunrises in the Sucancas on the east. In this way they could define the length of the year and know the dates of the solstices and equinoxes.

The seocnd is in the temple of water, water that originates in a spring, a natural fountain close to the peaks of Pachatusan which in the Andean ideology of Cusco is considered an Apu, that is a deity. In Tipon, the presence of water is considered acred because it springs from the holy Pachatusan which is a strut of the sky.

These water canals explain the cycle of life, from ones birth represented in a paqarina, an origin point such as a spring or cave, until death where one returns to the earth and once again is reborn like water.

Tipon is a model of hydraulic engineering in teh service of people and nature. It required engineers copleely committed to technologicla development as a means of adapting to the environment and living in balance with it.

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Olivera Echagaray Luis

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