Discover The Temple Of The Sun Machu Picchu

Welcome to the ultimate guide to the Machu Picchu Temple of the Sun! This awe-inspiring sanctuary is not just an architectural marvel but also a celestial observatory that has captivated travellers for years. 
At Skyhook Adventure, we'll help you discover its historical significance and architectural brilliance and share tips for making your visit unforgettable with our vetted guides and affordable group tours.

Quick Facts: What and Where Is the Machu Picchu Temple of the Sun?

For those who love quick, digestible information, here's a snapshot of the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu:
  • What: The Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu is a semi-circular Inca sanctuary located in the mountains of Machu Picchu and renowned for its intricate stonework and alignment with celestial events.

  • Area Size: Approximately 50 square metres

  • Age: Estimated to be over 600 years old

  • Altitude: Located at an elevation of around 2,430 metres above sea level

  • Location: Situated in the religious sector of Machu Picchu, in the 'Hanan' neighbourhood.


Unveiling the Mysteries of the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu

Let's delve deeper and unveil interesting facts about Machu Picchu and the mysteries that make the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu a captivating blend of history, architecture, and celestial wonder.

The Historical Significance

You might be asking, 'Why do tourists visit Machu Picchu?'. For one, it's a place with a rich history.
The Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu wasn't just another building for the Incas; it was a sacred space with immense religious importance. 
Reserved primarily for Inca priests, the temple was the epicentre for religious ceremonies dedicated to the Sun God.
Intriguingly, its sanctity was so revered that a double wooden door with a stone safety mechanism secured the entrance, ensuring only the chosen could participate in these rites.
llama in machu picchu ruins

Architectural Marvel

The Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu is an architectural masterpiece that stands out. Its semi-circular construction is a feat of engineering, showcasing the Incas' advanced building techniques. 
The temple is built with finely polished stones that fit together so perfectly you'd be hard-pressed to slip even a piece of paper between them.
But what truly sets this temple apart is its trapezoidal windows. These aren't just aesthetic choices. They're designed with a purpose. 
The unique shape of the windows allows for specific solar events to be observed, tying back to the temple's role as a celestial observatory. It's this blend of form and function that makes the Temple of the Sun an architectural marvel worth exploring.

A Celestial Observatory

The Temple of the Sun is strategically aligned to capture specific solar events, making it more than just a religious site—it's a scientific marvel as well.
One of the most captivating features is the winter solstice window. During this time, sunlight streams through the window to illuminate a sacred stone within the temple. 
For the Incas, this was a harbinger of abundance and a pivotal moment in their religious and agricultural calendar.

The Royal Tomb

Beneath the grandeur of the Temple of the Sun lies another layer of mystery—a natural cave that has intrigued archaeologists and historians alike. 
While some theories suggest that this cave served as a royal tomb, possibly housing the mummified remains of Inca royalty, there's more to the story.
Recent studies propose that the cave had a different, yet equally significant, role. It's believed that the space could have been used for ceremonies to honour Pachamama, or Mother Earth, in the Inca tradition.
Machu Picchu llama

Visiting the Temple of the Sun

So, you're sold on visiting this marvel, but how do you go about it? Don't worry; we've got you covered.

Best Times to Visit

The Temple of the Sun is open year-round, but the best times to visit are during the dry season, from May to September.
During these months, you'll have a better chance of hiking Machu Picchu and catching those celestial events without a cloudy sky ruining the view.

Ticket Information

Tickets for the Machu Picchu circuit include access to the Temple of the Sun. You can choose from various entry times starting from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Machu Picchu permits allow you a 4-hour window to explore the site. It's advisable to book your tickets well in advance, especially if you plan to visit during peak season.
Be sure to also book your train from Cusco to Machu Picchu tickets well in advance too.

What to Bring

When visiting, make sure to pack:
  • Comfortable hiking shoes for the uneven terrain

  • Sunscreen and a hat to protect against the intense Andean sun

  • Water and light snacks to keep you energized

  • A camera to capture the breathtaking views, of course!

For a more detailed packing list, check out our handy Inca trail packing list guide.
machu picchu on a sunny day

Tips for Visiting the Temple of the Sun

You're almost ready to embark on this incredible journey, but before you do, here are some insider tips to ensure you get the most out of your visit to the Temple of the Sun.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Visit

  • Hire a Local Guide: While the temple is fascinating on its own, hiring a vetted Skyhook Adventure guide can provide invaluable insights into its history and significance.

  • Arrive Early: The site can get crowded, especially during peak season. Arriving early ensures you have the temple (almost) to yourself.

  • Stay Hydrated: Machu Picchu altitude sickness can catch you off guard. Keep sipping water as part of your Machu Picchu training plan throughout your visit.

Recommended Viewpoints for the Best Photos

  • The Religious Sector: This area offers a panoramic view of the temple, perfect for wide-angle shots.

  • The Upper Terrace: For those who love capturing architectural details, this spot provides a close-up view of the temple's intricate stonework.



Embarking on a Peru adventure with Skyhook Adventure isn't complete without a visit to the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu. This architectural and celestial marvel offers a unique blend of history, spirituality, and natural beauty. 
Don't miss the chance to experience this captivating site and enrich your journey in ways you never imagined.

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