We are on the edge of a field in the middle of nowhere, 12,800 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains and 35Km from Puno in the south of Peru. Looming over us is Hayu Marca, a surreal rock formation made of red-brown sandstone with deep rivets melted away by volcanic lava. Even more strange is a mysterious doorway carved into the side of a rock. Locally, this site is known as Amaru Muru; according to legend this is “The Gateway of the Gods.”
Popular myth tells the story of the Inca Priest Amaru Muru fleeing from his temple with the sacred ‘Golden Solar Disc’ which connects man with the cosmic energies of Love. The priest gave the disc to the Shamans who watched over the portal in a remote Aymara region near Lake Titicaca. Legend says the Shaman showed Amara Muru how to enter through the doorway into another dimension. He was never seen again.
Strange Portals in Puno
The doorway was only discovered as a tourist attraction in 1996, although the natives have known about the location and what it represents for centuries. Strange beings in unusual clothing have been reported passing through the portal and disappearing towards the lake.
Juan Jose is short and tanned with jet black hair. He wears jeans, a blue-striped shirt and shades. He kneels in the doorway facing the wall, his palms pressed against the side of the rock.
“At noon the gateway opens,” he tells me. “If you enter you never come back to this life.” It is one O’clock and we’ve missed our chance to escape to another dimension by a lunch hour.
Local Shaman’s still visit the site to perform ceremonies for tourists making offerings of coca leaves, corn and pieces of grain to Mother Earth which they call Pachamama. The remnant of a fire where a Shaman has performed a ‘despacho’ is evident between the rocks in front of the portal.
“At night the energy is strongest,” Juan Jose tells me. “People are afraid to come here after dark.”
An elderly man who lives in the Aymara village ten minutes walk away watches us with interest – but keeps his distance leaning on the rock near the entrance.
It’s my turn to kneel in the crevice and I press my head against the small blackened groove in the wall. This is where the priest, Amaru Muru supposedly placed the sun disc to unlock the portal. With my arms outstretched I place my palms against the rock either side of the doorway. As I meditate I feel an electromagnetic pulse emanate from the rock. The deeper my thoughts the stronger the vibrations pulse through the palm of my hands.
Years ago in Amsterdam, I attended a workshop and was asked to perform an exercise with a girl I had just met. We were instructed to look into one another’s eyes for about a minute. Then we were asked to close our eyes and go deep into ourselves to a place we felt safe. After another minute had passed we were asked to repeat the exercise. Look into one another’s eyes then withdraw into ourselves to a place we feel safe.
We were then asked to hold out our palms, up towards one another, but without touching. When we did an electric pulse vibrated in our fingers. The experiment was to identify how the electro-magnetic energy we have in our bodies can be used to help us to connect – or be repelled – to others. This is how the vibrations coming from the rock at Amaru Muru feel, only the ancients used this power we have to connect with the Universe.
Some people claim to have had strange experiences in the portal; visions of stars, columns of fire, the sound of strange music. Others say they saw tunnels and crystals. Outlandish and beautiful images are quite common in meditation and everyone has their own experience.
A spiritual healer from America claims to have passed through the portal at Amaru Muru and was stuck on the other side for some time before he could find his way back. An account of his claim is posted on the internet by a third party. If it is true he is the only known person to have passed through the gate and returned.
I knelt meditate in the doorway and feel lightness wash over me. Maybe this is the point I transcend into another world. Nothing more happened. I concentrate harder, but still nothing. It seems I am not destined for other worlds yet. My rightful place is here on Earth.
Perched on the rock above me an Andean Pakir calls to a mate. Somewhere in the distance comes a muffled whistle. The world around me is still a powerful presence.
The local Aymara of Puno
We make our way back to the car. Along the dirt road we pass Aymara workers returning to the village. They carry spades and picks. “Buenas
Tardis,” we say to exchange pleasantries. They are cheerful and polite.
Four women and a man stop us and speak in Spanish to Juan Jose. “They want to know if you want your photograph taken with them.” How could I refuse – even though it cost me five soles for the pleasure.
The Aymara women tell us they have been filling in the trenches to bridge a path on to the main road. It was the rainy season and the trenches had filled with water and blocked their path out of the village. To fill it they had used sand and gravel. Their natural surroundings were suitable to ensure they had not been stranded.
The encounter reminded me how indigenous cultures rely on nature to solve their problems. It struck me how limited we are in the west because we have money to throw at others to fix our problems for us.
Whilst we talk to the women, a man leading donkeys carrying bundles of mustard flowers comes towards us from the opposite direction. As they pass one of the donkeys collides with me and throws me off the road. Perhaps that was my penance for trying to escape to another world.
You can read more about ancient cultures and my travel experience in Journey’s to Ancient Worlds: What Modern Man Can Learn From Ancient Civilisations. If you are travelling round South America and interested in visiting archaeological sites it is essential reading. You will find far more information than any tour guide will tell you – and the book is less expensive than a guide!