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Santa Clara University Archives :: Exhibits :: Urban Dreams / Suenos Urbanos :: Altiplano Ch'alla
University Archives - Urban Dreams / Suenos Urbanos - Rituals and Beliefs in the City - Altiplano Ch'alla
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Altiplano Ch'alla
  Altiplano Ch'alla, 1993
Just outside of El Alto, along the highway to Viacha, is a sacred hill (calvario) where yatiris celebrate traditional rituals for urban residents. People travel to this location and hire a yatiri to preform a ch'alla (blessing) to the Pachamama, insuring future good luck in business ventures, family matters or other personal issues. Like similar rituals in the campo, when asking for good fortune from the Pachamama, one must reciprocate by "feeding" the Earth. Traditionally this is done by constructing a "table" consisting of amulets, coca leaves, llama fat, sweets and wool, which is then blessed and set on fire. As this image depicts, while the fire burns, Pachamama is given libation, with the sprinkling of beer and alcohol upon the ground. If this pleases Pachamama, then the people's prayers will be answered.
  ©1996
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