Series 6: Seldom Visited Sites Last Edition

Series 6: Seldom Visited Sites Last Edition

Many of us know about the Inti Raymi sun ceremony, but have you heard of the Killa Raymi celebration of the moon?

Killarumiyoq will be the last article in this series of seldom visited sites. This site is located almost 48 km to the West of Cusco and is just above the town of Ancahuasi. Killarumiyoq roughly translates to 'œthe moonstone' and one of the main features here is a large stone that contains a semicircular and stepped (moon shaped) cut out.

This site is believed to have been a location where the moon was celebrated and as such is considered to be a feminine location, so much so that some local women still come to this site to give birth in one of the sites small fountains as their ancestors originally did.

(Photo: Lyle Walker)

Aside from the large and impressive 'œmoonstone' there are many terraces and some ruins, as well as a variety of carved stones that one can spend time walking around and enjoying, and there is one additional unique feature of this site. Above the terraces and built into the side of the cliff you will find a small cave, inside of this cave you can see some old stone carvings of faces, which I have been told are pre-Inca in origin.

Killarumiyoq is also a good place to experience a good local festival, one that mainly just gets locals and not tourists. On the last Sunday in August the Killa Raymi (or Killarumiyoq Raymi) is held at this site. This is a festival honoring the moon and is the counterpart to the much larger, and heavily touristed, Inti Raymi that is held in Cusco on June 25th of each year.

(Photo: Lyle Walker)

Like the Inti Raymi, the Killa Raymi starts with a parade of characters in colorful costumes and ceremonies before the Inca appears to perform the rituals to pay homage to the moon. One of the things that I really enjoyed about the Killa Raymi, aside from the smaller crowds, was the fact that it was shorter and felt much more authentic and less theatrical than the Inti Raymi. Once the ceremony is complete everyone heads down just below the site where there is live music, food and of course beer and chicha.

To catch up on the previous seldom visited site series, check out the following:

Seldom Visited Places: Tipí³n

Seldom Visited Places Series 2: Pikillacta

Series 3: Seldom Visited Sites

Series 4: Seldom Visited Sites Naupa Iglesia

Series 5: Seldom Visited Sites Andenes Zurite

Well, I hope that you have enjoyed this series of seldom visited sites in the Cusco region, and I hope at least one of these posts has inspired you to spend some time outside of the normal tourist routes when visiting the Cusco region.


Lyle Walker was born in California, served in the Marines and has spent much of his career working as an industrial engineer. In 2006 he met and married his Peruvian wife, Lily, and in 2012 they moved to the Cusco region to open and run GringoWasi bed and breakfast, where they not only host guests but also help them with their planning. Lyle can be contacted by e-mail at

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