Legend of Desaguadero

Version rewritten by N. Brachet, based on the book "Leyendas de mi tierra"
of Antonio Diaz Villamil (Libreria - Editorial "Juventud")

The inhabitants of the very rich city of Tiwanaku lived in peace and total happiness. They had everything one could imagine and their life only consisted in searching their personal pleasure by organizing big and never-ending orgies. Nobody was concerned with the notion of bad or good, and the heart of the inhabitants which was formerly good and generous became insensitive and egoistic.

The creation God Pachacamaj and his devastator rival Kjunu observed the spectacle of lust given by the inhabitants of the glorious city. Pained to see such man's ingratitude towards their creator, Pachacamaj decided to give them a lesson of wisdom in order to redirect them on the good track. His plan was to take the appearance of a human messenger and to spread the good words among the Tiahuanacu inhabitants. Kjunu, who was in favour of strong method, prefered to give a good correction to these disrespectful men by triggering catastrophic natural phenomena.

The two gods agreed to organize a bet: If Pachacamaj manages to change the behavior of the men, Kjunu should be committed to become inactive and stop causing natural disasters. On the other hand, if Pachacamaj fails, then darkness should cover the men's world and the fertile Pachacamaj should drown for ever into the water of a salty lake.

The inhabitants of Tiahuanacu welcomed Pachacamaj with open arms and thought the arrival of the new comer should be another opportunity for great celebrations. As a consequence, the whole city including squares and holy temples became a large orgy places. Pachacamaj tried to intervene on the public place in order to deliver his message of wisdom and veneration of the divinities, but nobody paid attention to him. He then decided to use his supernatural capacities to give a first warning to the men about what could be the Gods' fury if they did not cease their lust activities. A series of strange phenomena suddenly occurred and started to disturb the great party.

Unfortunately, the warnings and predictions of Pachacamaj did not have the effects foreseen by the God. The Tiahuanacu inhabitants, furious to see their festival ruined, blamed the foreigner to be the main person responsible for such chaos. They decided to tie Pachacamaj with a rope and put him on a boat made of reed. The boat was then launched onto the water of the Titicaca lake. After having derived for a long time, the boat pushed by the winds arrived by the cliffs of the southern shore of the lake. A miracle suddenly occurred, the enormous wall of rocks half-opened and left a small passage for the water and reed boat. The boat continued its way towards the south on the new river (the Desaguadero river), crossing the altiplano and finally disappearing into the salty lake Poopˇ.

Pachacamaj lost the bet against Kjunu. Therefore, Kjunu executed his devastating plan in order to punish the men. He used the water of the Titicaca lake and caused major floods which completely devastated the city of Tiahuanacu. A few centuries later, the water of the lake withdrew and revealed a desolated landscape, with arid soils, and a vast field of ruins replacing the site of the cursed city.