Qoyllur Rit’i, the “Bright Snow” or “Snow Star,” is one of the most important festivals of the Andean world. It combines Sun worship and Christian icons with the deities which inhabit the sacred Apu Ausangate, the 6,382m (20,940ft) protector mountain of Cusco. The festivities rise to a lofty height of 5,200m (17,060ft), where the famous sanctuary is situated at the base of Mount Sinakara. This is a stunning location, surrounded by mountains and breathtaking views of snow-capped glaciers.
The pilgrimage occurs once every year in the spectacular region of Ausangate. Since the 1920s, the festival of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i, has become an event that attracts tens of thousands of people from different parts of Peru and abroad. The ten nations that belong to the provinces of Paucartambo, Tahuantinsuyo and Qusipicanchis all attend the event. Masses of people come together to mount mock battles, dance and worship, leading to unity among all the participants. This a unique and colorful festival, permeated with intense cold and surrounded by breathtaking scenery.