Machu Picchu is a dream destination for any travel enthusiast.
Since the 600-year-old Inca hill city was rediscovered in 1911, it has become a symbol of history, travel, adventure and mystery.
In 2007, it was elected as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Located in Peru, Machu Picchu is the cradle of Inca civilisation.
Visiting the ancient city was one of the best things during our first trip to Latin America.
We landed in Lima, the Peruvian capital, with two Mexican travel mates - Isaias and Juan.
Then, we took a train to Cusco - the former Inca capital, and reached Ollantaytambo after a few days.
Ollantaytambo, famous for its Inca ruin and trail, took us to Aguas Calientes - the gateway to Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is visited by millions of people each year, but now, due to Covid-19 restrictions and for the hill's safety, only 4,000 visitors per day are allowed to visit the Inca citadel.
Among the 4,000, only 250 visitors are permitted to hike to Huayna Picchu, from where you can get a bird's eye view of the mighty Machu Picchu and the whole valley.
Fortunately, we managed to receive both the permits to visit Machu Picchu and hike to Huayna Picchu through local connections; it was not cheap, we had to pay almost $250 per head.
Tourism officials also said that fewer tourists will be allowed to visit the place in near future for its safety and longevity.
They may have to view the city from air, sitting inside small airplanes.
That night, we stayed at a hostel called Super Trump in Aguas Calientes.
The next morning, it was raining so heavily that for once we thought we would not be able to experience the wonders of Machu Picchu at all.
But slowly the weather improved and by 10am we got a call from our guide to board the bus, which took us to Machu Picchu through the world famous crisscrossed road "Hiram Bingham" - named after the American archaeologist who rediscovered Machu Picchu with the help of locals in 1911.
We bought the passes and cheap poncho-like raincoats as it was drizzling.
Many famous places in the world are overrated and they are made popular for the tourism industry's sake, but Machu Picchu is a true wonder.
Among the high green peaks of the Andes, among the floating white cotton-like clouds, dark green valleys and the distant red snake-like Urubamba River, lay our dream destination.
From the very beginning of our journey, we kept wondering about how, during those ancient times, the Incas managed to build the massive yet perfect stonewalls.
Later when we saw some of the massive boulders, weighing a few tons each, all we could do was wonder.
The photo of Machu Picchu shows a few rooms and many terraces, which were used for agriculture purposes.
The Incas were the first in the world to cultivate potatoes and those terraces were mainly used for potato and corn irrigation.
And with their ahead-of-time technology, the Incas managed to pump the river water and use it for the crops.
Machu Picchu is elevated 8,000 feet above land, so nothing here is easy.
With each passing breath, you can feel the lack of oxygen if you are not properly acclimatised.
We saw small trees and bushes at a few places and a few species of glittering jewel-like hummingbirds were collecting nectar every now and then.
Only the giant Condors (Andean vulture) were missing, probably due to the murky weather.
We noticed quite a few domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on the fields.
Machu Picchu was built around 1450AD during the rule of the Inca emperor Pachacuti.
A century later, this mighty city was abandoned and no one knows why.
It is still a mystery to historians whether Machu Picchu was abandoned due to famine or war.
We noticed a few stone rooms with roofs newly made by some kind of leaves.
The guide explained to us that no roof from the ancient Machu Picchu had survived, but locals thought that the roofs during those times were made from this kind of leaves, so they tried to build a prototype to demonstrate how the city actually looked.
We called it a days by visiting the half-circle shaped temple of the sun, which is probably the most sacred place there.