After our visit to he floating islands, a few of us took an optional tour to Sillustani, about 40 kilometres to the west of La Paz. Here there are a number of Inca Relics dating back to the 1400’s.
These burial towers, or Chulpas, were used for burying the Inca noble class.
When an important man died, his body was stripped of its organs, formed into a foetal position and then bound tightly with cord. It was placed in the inner chamber of the Chulpa. In addition, close members of his family were killed after being drugged with a alcoholic drink and similarly mummified. Their bodies were placed on shelves within the Chulpa along with artifacts, pottery and precious belongings. Perhaps this was a time to be in the outer circle of the family rather than the inner circle!
These Chulpas were only discovered in the 1950’ and have not yet been fully archeologically assessed.
Some of then have been damaged by lightning as the hill on which they were constructed is in a very lightning prone position.
There were other locations where common folk were buried in Chulpas –that were made from adobe rather than this finely carved stone.