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Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu

The Temple of the Sun built by the Inca as a sacred precinct and give offering to the Sun God at Machu Picchu. This was one of the most important deities of the Inca civilization. Only priests and high ranking Inca could enter the temple. This is the one of the most popular attractions today.

The Sun, the most important God to the Inca. Inti means sun in Quechua, the language of the Inca. Because of the cycle of sowing and harvesting the Inca empire prevailed. The Sun God wife was the moon and was called Killa, the son was the Inca Emperor. In addition to the temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu, the Inca constructed Coricancha in Cusco which was also built in the Sun Gods honor.

What is the Temple of the sun?

The temple of the sun is built in a natural cave. Due to its high location and styling, it is considered a religious building to worship the sun. The temple is built with granite blocks that belong to the imperial Inca style.

It is the only construction in the Inca city that has a circular shape. It also has windows, niches and an entrance door. According to some chroniclers, the mummy of the famous Inca emperor Pachacutec was buried there , who ordered Machu Picchu to be built. Before the Spanish invasion, it was decorated with gold and silver ornaments.

Where it is located?

This temple is located in one of the most important areas of the Inca city of Machu Picchu, in the ‘Hanan’ neighborhood, in the religious sector.

To get there you just have to follow the tourist circuit in the company of an official tourist guide.
Currently you can only see the Temple of the Sun from a viewpoint located at the top of the building. For protection reasons, you cannot enter the temple.

What was the function?

As the name implies, the Temple of the sun had the function of paying homage and giving offerings to the sun. In addition, at the bottom, was a cave that would have had the function of a cementry or mausoleum.

The temple of the Sun served as an astronomical observatory where it was possible to determine exactly the arrival of the solstices and the seasonal changes. The center of the temple is an altar carved in rock where religious ceremonies were probably performed in honor of the sun. During the sunrise in the summer solstices, the two windows cast shadows on the central rock of the temple.

How was the construction of the Temple of the sun?

The temple is built with granite blocks that belong to the imperial Inca style (the time of the Inca Pachacutec). The site can be accessed through a double jamb trapezoidal door. It also has a straight wall and a semicircular wall with two windows, one facing north and the other facing east.

The structure is built on a natural cave. Its walls are made with irregular stones assembled perfectly. However, one of its walls has a perfect curvature of 10 meters.

The temple is attached to a huge mountain rock above the natural cave. On the back wall you will see a window with small carved holes that probably had precious stones. This window is called ‘The snake window’.

What mysteries does this temple hide?

The connection of the Temple of the Sun with the Royal Tomb suggests that the Inca Pachacutec was buried inside. This tomb must have been decorated with gold and silver ornaments, which later must have been looted.

Within the royal Tomb you can find walls of fine stonework, life-size trapezoidal niches and an altar carved in the form of a three-step staircase, representing the famous ‘Chakana’ (Inca trilogy that means the Inca worldview of Hanan Pacha (the world of the gods), the Kay Pacha (the world of the living) and the Ukhu Pacha (the world of the dead).

What are the visiting hours?

The entrance ticket to Machu Picchu offers different entry times: from 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 1 and 2 in the afternoon. After admission, each tourist has 4 hours to visit the entire tourist circuit, including the Temple of the Sun.

The Temple of the sun can be visited every day of the year during the visiting hours of Machu Picchu: from 6 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.

Can I enter the Temple ?

It is currently not possible to enter inside the Temple of the Sun. The only way to observe this site is through the viewpoint located at the top of the archaeological site.

The other way to visit the Temple of the Sun is from the viewpoint of the Temple of the Condor. From there you can also see the Royal Tomb but you cannot enter.

With what entry to visit this temple?

While it is possible to visit the Temple of the Sun with any of the entrances to Machu Picchu; Most visitors decide to purchase the ticket ‘Machu Picchu Only’, which includes the tour of the tourist circuit, including the Temple of the Sun.

The ticket ‘Machu Picchu Only’ can be purchased online or in the city of Cusco.

In addition to the entrance, it is an excellent idea to get an official tourist guide that explains details of the Temple of the Sun in the same Inca city of Machu Picchu. Guides can be hired at the same entrance door of Machu Picchu.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Sun Temple in Machupicchu

What is the Temple of the Sun?

The Temple of the Sun was a sacred Inca precinct located in the heart of the religious sector in Machu Picchu.

Where is it located?

The Temple of the Sun is located in the high part and in the religious sector of Machu Picchu. A few steps away are important buildings such as the Main Square, the Royal Tomb or the House of the Inka.

What to see in the Temple of the Sun?

The Temple of the Sun stands out for its fine granite constructions carved in a semicircular shape. There you can see trapezoidal windows as well as niches where religious ceremonies were held.

Is there another Temple of the Sun in Ollantaytambo?

Ollantaytambo is famous for its Temple of the Sun. This construction is made up of six immense monoliths carved and fitted together to perfection. It is located in the upper part of the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo.

Can I enter the Temple in Machu Picchu?

The Temple of the Sun can be seen from different viewpoints in Machu Picchu. It is currently forbidden to enter this site. It can only be observed from a distance.

How much does it cost to visit the Temple of the Sun?

The visit to the Temple of the Sun is included in the entrance fee to Machu Picchu.

What to bring to my visit?

During the visit to the Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu do not forget to bring: comfortable clothes, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a hat, water, snacks and whatever you think is necessary.

Where to take the best photos of the Temple?

The best photos of the Temple of the Sun can be taken from the top, in the religious sector.

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