The nine day festival known as Inti Raymi, which takes place annually in June in the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco, Peru, is the most flamboyant celebration in the Inca calendar. Indeed, it is probably the most important event in pre-Columbian cultural history which has survived to this day. It has been taking place for over 500 years, originally overseen by the Sun King, who in a series of rituals and processions honours the sun beseeching it to deliver a good harvest, and pays tribute to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. Nowadays local residents continue the tradition, decked out in elaborate costumes, the dignitaries transported in ornate carriages. They parade through the streets of Cusco, accompanied by haunting Inca music. The festival culminates in ceremonial speeches on June 24th at Sacsayhuaman, the visit temple fortress which is perched on the brow of the city.
This is an incredible spectacle, and, if you are interested in history, it is well worth designing your holiday around attendance. Join a throng of Cusceños and visitors observing the processions along the routes and at the temple itself.