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The Moon Temple
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Moon Temple

Machu Picchu is a destination full of mysteries. The Inca constructions seem to be in harmony with nature. For example, the wonder of the world was built on top of a mountain, which is accessed by different paths. Not only that, it is possible to continue the route by Inca trails and reach Huayna Picchu. Before reaching this place, you can take a detour and reach the Temple of the Moon. One of the most surprising and little-known constructions because visit to this place is limited for some periods. The temple of the moon encloses details that we will know below.

Continue the Inca Trail route

When hiking the Inca Trail, many conclude this magical trek when they reach Machu Picchu. Few dare to continue with the trail that will connect with Huayna Picchu and also the Temple of the Moon. This construction is located on the slopes of Huayna Picchu. To get there you have to follow an Inca route, a little complicated but perfectly signposted. This temple would refer to fertility since it is also known as such. This type of temple can be found in Cusco, very close to Qenqo and Sacsayhuaman, and another in the Sacred Valley.

Surely many more temples were referring to fertility, but many of them were destroyed. This makes it difficult to recognize the remains that do not allow to establish its functionality as such. On the other hand, the Temple of the Moon near Machu Picchu houses an almost intact enclosure and is fundamental for the understanding of such an important temple. In this sense, if you are a person attracted by the archaeological remains of the Incas and also want to see more Inca constructions, this route is the perfect choice.

One way to hold on to the Inca trails is by doing the route we are recommending. To arrive and do this short hike, it is necessary to purchase the Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu ticket. This ticket is very different from the one that will be given to you when you book the Inca Trail ticket. Of course, with this last ticket you will be able to visit Machu Picchu, but only the Inca citadel, being unable to enter the detour to Huayna Picchu.

The route to get to Huayna Picchu and therefore to the Temple of the Moon is near the Sacred Rock. An important sector considered until today as sacred and full of mysticism by the shape and the altar that is underneath. To enter this route it will be necessary to present the corresponding ticket and write down the name and time of entry. Likewise, it is necessary to present the ID card to validate the reservation. The DNI, passport, or identity card will be important to validate any reservation you make, both for tickets and services purchased.

This will be the most appropriate way to complete the extensive 4-day Inca Trail. This fifth day of the visit or the fourth, if you make the reservation to Huayna Picchu coincides with the arrival to Machu Picchu. It will take you through new trails impressive. Some of them will be bordering the mountain and you will have incredible views. Many of these views allow you to appreciate the cliffs where they dared to build and also to plant crops. This new complementary route is a spectacle.

Reaching the Moon Temple

Huayna Picchu route
Climbing the Huayna Picchu stairway

The Temple of the Moon is located near the Urubamba River and on the slopes of the Huayna Picchu mountain. This construction requires a hike of at least 2 hours. Luckily the hike is by a descending route and the time can be considerably reduced. But during the return trip, it is possible, but on the way back, the time can be extended. In the same way and as we mentioned the route is really beautiful. It crosses spaces of abundant vegetation and when arriving at the temple, some Inca constructions will welcome us.

It is important to make the hike with the corresponding care. As it is not a very busy route, it is likely that the vegetation has grown and also that some elements of road safety have been damaged. Remember to do the hike carefully and without haste. When hiking this and other Inca archaeological sites, it is advisable to walk calmly, enjoying the scenery and the details of the construction of each of the enclosures. Both when doing the Inca Trail and this short route you will appreciate a great amount of all these details.

The Temple of the Moon is a construction that uses a cavern. That is also why it is known as The Great Cavern. This type of construction is difficult to find. There are similar constructions in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. But the remains of these places are very damaged. On the other hand, the Temple of the Moon, which was built between Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, has great importance, as we will see below.

What is the Moon Temple?

panoramic view of the moon temple
Panoramic view of the moon temple

The Temple of the Moon is an Inca construction dedicated to fertility. The construction that we can find in Huayna Picchu, has different ornamental walls as niches to deposit offerings and also stone spaces carved in the form of tables to make offerings or larger sacrifices. Something that is striking is that the stones of these walls connect with a gigantic stone that appears above the entire cavern. The walls fit perfectly with it as if they were supporting it.

It is believed that the worship of caves or similar is due to the resemblance that these places have with the female reproductive system. For this reason, it is also directly associated with fertility. In other spaces, you can find small stations or ceremonial stones that connect specifically with the nine months of gestation. Probably, these constructions of the temple of the moon of Huayna Picchu, have been looted, missing discoveries or the construction has not been completed by the sudden arrival of the Spaniards.

On the outskirts of the temple, some stone constructions can be found in the form of dwellings. They probably served as warehouses for all the clothing or requirements for the temples to have everything necessary for each ritual. You can also find a gate that connects directly with the road that is taken. There is also another route to return to the point of entry. Both routes will allow you to learn more about the flora and fauna of the place, as we will see below.

All that can be seen on the route

Route to the Moon Temple
Route to the Moon Temple

After making the entire 4-day hike through the archaeological sites of the Inca Trail, in this sense, you will be able to see several Inca constructions and you can even make a tour of Machu Picchu. Something beautiful to do because of the different landscapes that can be found from the top of the mountain and during the hike. But that is not all. After doing the tour of Machu Picchu and entering the route that connects to the top of Huayna Picchu, you can find some striking plants and birds.

Although the probability is not very high, it is possible to find large numbers of birds and even some large insects. But, to see these in just one trip, more luck is required. As for the road to the Great Cavern or Temple of the Moon, it is possible to find birds more easily. This is because it is an uncrowded route. Especially because those who do it know that they have to make a great journey. As we mentioned, the total trip just to get to the Temple of the Moon can take 3 hours, taking into account that the ascent to the top of Huayna Picchu was achieved.

After arriving at the top we take a path, when descending that will take us directly to the temple in question. This whole route can take the 3 hours we mentioned. After that the return to the control area for those who wish to enter Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu. The return can take 1 to 2 hours approximately. This takes adequate time to rest and contemplation of all the temple and the other Inca constructions that are near the Temple of the Moon. At the time of return, we follow another path that will connect with the first path, very close to the access area.

Perfect complement to the Inca Trail

Inside the Moon Temple
Inside the Moon Temple at Machu Picchu or on the way to Huayna Picchu

Throughout the blog, we saw that this is indeed a new route. A route that will allow us to learn more about the mysteries of the Incas. At the same time, a way to complement a wonderful experience in a single trip. There are many people who, by complementing the single visit to Machu Picchu with the Huayna Picchu, are already well served. The fact is that following the stairs to the top of the mountain is one of the most memorable experiences because the constructions that can be seen are truly a challenge to modern engineering.

In this sense, make the 4 days of adventures through various Inca constructions and have a special bond with nature, because it will be four days of sleeping under the stars. It will allow you to know and understand in more detail about this famous mysticism and spirituality that is breathed in Machu Picchu. Complementing this trip is a way to enter into the sacred and mysteries that the Incas came to create from their famous stone constructions, roads that act in harmony with the topography of the place, and the fascination of building on the tops of the mountains.


By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 27-02-2024

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