10:56 | Puno (Puno region), Jun. 19.
Peru starts preparations to welcome the Andean New Year —whose official start takes place every year on June 21— with a traditional Mother Earth tribute paying ceremony, also known as Pachamama.
Declared of cultural interest by the Peruvian Culture Ministry, the Andean observance coincides with the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year.
The Pachamama ritual was held last weekend at the foot of the majestic Chilliwa Canyon —located 58 km off Ilave-Mazocruz road in El Collao province of Puno region.
Authorities and cultural promoters convened at this place to express gratitude and request permission from Mother Earth so that the coming year can be fruitful without food shortage across the entire high plateau area.
"We've come to this sacred place to present an offering to Mother Earth and renew our energies," said Ruben Saraza Barriga, head of the Kapac Kala community.
The area features spectacular stone pillars of up to 100 m height and is an alternative for mystic tourism.
This activity is the prelude to the actual Andean New Year celebrations.
Several cultural events are scheduled for June 21 across Puno region.