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The Inca Trilogy

If you are from those who always searching for an unknown land, then you should certainly visit Peru and the magnificent Andes. You will notice that the most common representations of animals are three: the condor, the puma and the snake. These 3 creatures represent heaven, earth and the world of the dead.  The Andes keeps the mystery of a mighty empire. Today, the Inca trilogy is present in the crafts and paintings of the Wonder of World.

They believed that the world was divided into 3 planes: the world above or the gods (Hanan Pacha), the earthly or living world (Kay Pacha) and the world below or the dead (Uku Pacha).


According to their beliefs, there were three worlds: The Underworld, The World of Living and The Upper World or the World of the Gods. Between these worlds, there were points of contact, one of them was Cusco.

There it was possible to cross the bridge between worlds which is presented by Chacana or by Andean cross, which connects this world with the world of the dead or the world of gods. Andean cross consists of four flights of stairs, two external – higher, and two internal – lower. The right outer line represents the cosmic theory and the left the theory of the three worlds, while the lower right line indicates the basic principles and norms governing interpersonal relations and left bottom row represents the hierarchical position.

What do the condor, the puma and the snake represent?

The condor

The condor was a bird sacred to the Incas who believed that it communicated the upper world (Hanan Pacha) with the earthly world (Kay Pacha).

The condor (Kuntur in Quechua) is a large black bird that lives mainly in the Andes Mountains of South America. Due to its ability to fly over heights of 5 thousand meters above sea level (16,404 feet); for the Inca worldview it was the only animal that could communicate with the world of gods and stars.

Currently, the condor is still a sacred bird for the men of the Andes. In some towns of Peru the Andean ritual known as ‘Yawar Fiesta‘ (Blood Festival) is still celebrated, which has the condor as the main protagonist.

The Puma

The puma is a symbol of strength, wisdom and intelligence. It represents the ‘Kay Pacha’, Quechua word that means ‘the world of the living’. Its characteristics are patience and strength.

The Andean puma is the subspecies of the puma that inhabits the territories of South America. The puma adapted to the tropical areas as well as to the rugged terrains of the Ande. It is characterized by its strength and agility. For the Incas it was a divine animal that represented the power of the world.

It is believed that Cusco, the capital of the empire of the Incas, has the shape of a puma. The head of this animal is found in the fabulous fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The line is in the temple of Coricancha.

The snake

The serpent represented the infinite for the Incas. The serpent symbolizes the world below or the world of the dead (the Ukhu Pacha). When people left the earthly world they joined this other dimension represented by the serpent. For the Incas the serpent also represented wisdom. On the walls of the ‘Yachaywasi‘ (Casas del saber Incas), there were representations of snakes.

One of the most important temples of the Inca City of Machu Picchu is dedicated to the condor. This building is carved in 3 dimensions: his body is carved standing while his head is like an altar on the floor. The snake (‘Amaru‘ in Quechua language) is currently a symbol of bad luck for people. It is believed that the sudden appearance of these animals symbolize death or problems in agriculture.

The Inca trilogy was represented in many buildings of Cusco. In Machu Picchu, the Temple of the 3 Windows symbolizes this vision of the world: the world of the gods, the world of the living and the world of the dead. If you want visit Machu Picchu , contact us. We are Inti Sun Trek a reliable and safe travel agency, with a trained staff that will help you to live an unforgettable experience.