Photos of Tarabuco, the home of Yampara culture and Pujllay, Bolivia

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Tarabuco, the home of Yampara culture and Pujllay

Tarabuco is a small Indian town about 65 kilometres east of Sucre and best known as the home of the traditional “Yampara” culture. There is a very colourful Sunday Market, where, among others, beautiful handmade weavings and “charangos” (small stringed instruments with the shell of the back of an armadillo on the back) are for sale. Many people wear their traditional Yampara costumes, which preserves their identity and advertises their location of origin to others within the Tarabuco area.

Street in Tarabuco
Near Tarabuco
Village of Tarabuco
Tarabuco street
Donkey transport
On the main square
Tarabuco Plaza
Buying coca leaves
Tarabuco street
People watching
Crowd in Tarabuco
Yampara men
Yampara women
Traditional Yampara dress
Crowds in Tarabuco
Pujllay group entering
Miskha Mayu group
Pujllay dancers
White flags
Yampara dress
Spanish style dance
Dancing with the flag
Pujllay dance
Indian flute, Pujllay
Dancers and flutes
Men and boys dance
Pujllay flute player
Pujllay in Tarabuco
Pujllay dance with spurs
Dancing with
Woman dancer
Flute and drum
Drums and flutes
Boys with sign
Dance around Pucara pole

Each March, the people of Tarabuco host the Pujllay festival, a great celebration with many colourful traditional costumes and dances. Pujllay (or Pukllay) means “play” in the Quechua language (the language of the Incas!) and is the name of a traditional festival held on various sites in the central Andes. The Bolivian Pujllay is also connected to the Christian Carnival, and the celebration of a battle won over the Spaniards - hence the headdress resembling Spanish helmets and “gallu-gallu”, jangling spurs that the men, dressed in their colourful “Yampara” costumes, wear in the dance.

There are groups from different villages in the district, carrying banners identifying their origin. They often fly the “Whipala” (the square Inca rainbow flag) of Qulla Suyu (or Collasuyu); this was the southeastern provincial region of the Inca Empire, which incorporated the Aymara territories that are now part of Bolivia. The Whipala functions as the dual flag of Bolivia along with the red, yellow, and green banner, confirming the Indian identity of the country..