The Embassy of Peru brought the smells and sights of the Inca Trail to Singapore on Friday with the opening of flora exhibition Orchids of Machu Picchu. 

The Orchids of Machu Picchu exhibition will run for six months at Singapore’s horticultural wonderland, Gardens by the Bay. 

Horticultural diplomacy meets eco-tourism

Indranee Rajah, Singaporean minister of the Office of the Prime Minister, places an orchid at the exhibition. Carlos Vasquez, the Peruvian ambassador to Singapore is to her left and Felix Loh, chief executive of Gardens by the Bay, is to her right.

The exhibition is an initiative of the Peruvian ambassador to Singapore, His Excellency Carlos Vasquez. It is also supported by Peruvian eco-tourism company Inkaterra, whose Chief Executive Officer, Jose Koechlin, kindly loaned 80 orchids for the floral exhibit. 

Beyond the horticultural surface lies a lesson on ancient Mesoamerican culture and history

The orchids, unique to UNESCO world heritage site Machu Picchu, offer a window into what it was like to walk along the Inca Trail in the 15th century. 

“Visitors to the Orchids of Machu Picchu display will be able to experience the historical significance of Machu Picchu, which stands not only as a testament to the Inca civilisation’s advanced understanding of engineering, agriculture, and astronomy, but also as a culmination of centuries of preceding cultures,” Vaquez said. 

Orchids of Machu Picchu brings orchid artefacts to Singapore

Oncidiumtrigoides is found in Peru on the eastern slopes of the Andes on mossy trees at elevations around 1800 meters.

The exhibition has been curated to replicate the environment where the Inca empire ruled centuries ago. It also includes a special collection of preserved orchids in glass resin, with it being the first time these specimens have left Peru.  

“[These artefacts] from these cultures that are on display are a homage to the rich and intricate tapestry that has been woven together to create the remarkable Inca civilisation,” Vasquez said. 

“We also wanted to give a sense of the diverse flora and fauna of Machu Picchu, many of which are endemic to the region. The lush vegetation and unique microclimates of Machu Picchu have given rise to a rich botanical garden, where the orchids at the display are but a glimpse of that diversity.” 

The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of Indranee Rajah, minister of the Office of the Prime Minister, who also serves as second minister for Finance & National Development.  

Friday’s event also provided an occasion for the attendees to savour Peruvian cuisine, reflecting the growing appreciation for Peru’s culinary traditions in Singapore.