Location: Canas (Cusco)
Date: January 20.
A Ritual Battle The tradition of staging ritual battles to ensure the fertility of the land lives on in a remote part of the department of Cusco.
The Pampa del Chiaraje, at an altitude of 4,700 meters above sea level, in the province of Canas, can be reached by a paved road from the old Inca capital and then via a dirt road. Here, every year the peaceful villagers of Checcas, Langui and Layo stage an impressive battle.
Armed with hardened lambswool slings, leather whips and waistcoats decorated with flowers, young warriors taunt each other in the mist or amidst pelting hailstorms. This is pucllay, or war games, where the name of the game is to control as much territory as possible and force the enemy to retreat.