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Nothing Close to Legendary Machu Picchu

Nothing Close to Legendary Machu Picchu
Looking at the photographs exhibited to celebrate the centenary of the discovery of Machu Picchu one can’t help but conclude that a centennial celebration definitely deserves to be better. 100 Years of Machu Picchu organized by the Embassy of Peru along with the Instituto Cervantes of New Delhi falls grossly short of capturing the beauty and the spirit of the sacred Inca City which was elevated to the status of a wonder of the world.
Discovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911 Machu Picchu is often citied as of the most extraordinary feats of architecture and engineering achievements ever. Bad prints marred by harsh direct lighting and woefully displayed in the lobby of the Instituto Cervantes suggest that little or no planning went into executing this exhibition. While the images cover all the bases in their bid to highlight the marvels of the ancient city such as temples, solar clocks, fountains, living quarters, urban sectors, curved agricultural terraces yet somewhere they don’t move you.
Some images like a view of Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu in the background make you stop and look long enough to soak in the beauty of the hallowed Inca city but this is short-lived. What irks is the realization that a simple Internet search would throw up better images of Machu Picchu’s history and discovery! Additionally the images have no credits or extra information besides stating the obvious which in any case is visible. Besides the lobby a separate room displays a handful of reprints that try to trace Bingham’s journey. There are maps dating from early 19th century, photos of Bingham and his team a hundred years ago as they unearthed what was considered to be lost for centuries, which in a stark contrast to the ones in the lobby, manage to redeem the exhibition to some extent.
The room has soothing music from the Andes playing in tandem with an audio-visual that even features images from Robot / Enthiran with Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan prancing around in a song that was shot amidst the ruins of Machu Picchu!
The few photos in the enclosure surely stand out and the exhibition would have been better if the journey of discovery was traced rather than putting together postcard images. The displays include a few pages from travel magazines and encyclopedias that show Machu Picchu along with a book with Rajini ‘Robot / Enthiran’ kant on it minus the fabled landscape… Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words but maybe the people behind 100 Years of Machu Picchu believe that seeing is what else could explain the shoddy effort.
100 Years of Machu Picchu is on display at Instituto Cervantes, Hanuman Road, Connaught Place (CP), New Delhi – 110001