Monday, 15 April 2013


Sacsayhuaman is a walled complex near the old city of Cusco, at an altitude of 12,000 feet in Peru. As is the case with the names of many other ancient Peruvian sites, there has been a debate on what the name 'Sacsayhuaman' means.

If one uses Sanskrit to decode the name, the meaning is obvious. In Sanskrit 'Sakhshi' (साक्षी) means 'witness' or 'observe'. 'Huaman' is the same word that occurs in the names of two other Peruvian sites - 'Inti Huatana' and 'Huayana Piccha'.

In Sanskrit 'ayana' (अयन) means 'solstice'. 'Ayana' also means 'half year' or 'precession (of the equinox)'. 'Hayana' (हायन) means that which repeats every year. It is from the Sanskrit 'hayana' that 'huaman' in 'Sacsay-huaman' is derived from.

'Sacsay-huaman' is therefore a distortion of the Sanskrit 'Sakshi-Hayana' which means 'Observation of the Half-Yearly Solstices' or 'Observation of that which Returns Every Year' - which are the two solstices. That Sacsayhuaman is an observatory for witnessing the solstices, equinoxes and mapping the stars in the sky is an accepted fact. The Sanskrit interpretation of the name is therefore appropriate.

Sacsayhuaman Observatory, Peru
Name derived from Sanskrit' Sakshi ' meaning 'Witness',
and 'Ayana' meaning 'Solstices'.

Two other Peruvian site names can be explained if we accept the above as correct. One is 'Inti-Huatana'. This too is an Observatory. 'Inti' mean 'sun' in Quechua language. In Sanskrit one of the words for 'sun' is 'ina' (इन). 'Huatana' comes from the Sanskrit 'ha + ayana' (हायन). As mentioned above, 'ayana' means 'solstice'. Two solstices happen in a year. Put together in Sanskrit, they are known as 'Hayana' - which literally means 'the yearly solstices'.

The second site is 'Huayna Picchu. Again, 'Huayana' is a distortion of the Sanskrit 'Hayana'. 'Hayana' means 'that which returns every year' in the context of the Solstices. 'Picchu' is a distortion of Sanskrit 'Pacchas' (
पच्छस्)  which means 'step by step' referring to the steps that lead up to or the climb to the sites of 'Huayna Picchu'.

Suggested Links:
Macchu Picchu - The Sanskrit Connection
The Sun Temple of KoriKancha - The Sanskrit Connection
Chankillo and Huayana Piccha, Peru - The Sanskrit Connection
Ollantaytambo, Peru - The Sanskrit Connection

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