The temple of the moon in Cusco
One of the lesser known Inca temples in Cusco is the ‘Temple of the Moon’, which is located at the top of the city, from where you have a panoramic view of the entire place. It is an Inca construction inside a cave. There are many stories around this building. It is said to be a temple dedicated to fertility. Others say that it communicates the world of the living with that of the dead. This site can be reached on foot. Entrance is free.
All about the temple of the moon in Cusco
The Temple of the Moon is an Inca construction made inside a cave, considered a sacred and mystical place for the Incas. In one of the outer rocks there are stone carvings with various shapes. The most striking is in the shape of a semicircular moon. Due to this it adopted the name ‘Temple of the Moon’. Other figures of animals such as the snake, the condor and the puma (considered sacred animals) also stand out.
The interior of the Temple of the Moon is a cavern where a finely carved ceremonial table stands out. At the top there is a cavity through which light filters directly onto this table. For some people, rituals dedicated to women’s fertility were performed there. In the place there is a section of the Inca trail that leads to Pisac. From the top you have a panoramic view of the entire city of Cusco.
The temple of the moon is located approximately 2.5 kilometers on foot from the Main Square of the city of Cusco (in the Qenqo sector).
As well as the Temple of the Moon in Cusco, in Machu Picchu there is a construction that receives the same name. It is the Temple of the Moon of Machu Picchu, located on the slopes of the Huayna Picchu mountain. This building is also made inside a cave and has a ceremonial table. To get there you must take a walk of approximately 3 hours. It is also known as ‘The Great Cave’.
How to get there?
There are several ways to get to the Temple of the Moon in Cusco. The most used by visitors is to go on foot. To do this, you must go up to the San Blas sector, in the historic center. In the street ‘Atoj Saykuchij’, the tourist must begin an ascent by a set of stairs until arriving at the main road (height of the White Christ). Then you must follow the road to the Qenqo sector. Finally, you go through a farm field until you reach the Temple of the Moon.
If you don’t like walking, another option is to take a taxi or public transport from the city of Cusco. For this, the tourist must board one of the buses of the company ‘El Señor del Huerto’, which will leave him at the stop of ‘Qenqo’, after approximately 30 minutes of travel. Then you only have to walk a few meters to reach the Temple of the Moon. The cost of the trip by public transport is 1 Peruvian sol (0.3 US dollars). The taxi service will cost you approximately 10 Peruvian soles (3 US dollars).
Map to get to the Temple of the Moon
Mysticism in the temple of the moon
The Temple of the Moon, since the time of the Incas, is an important ceremonial center. Currently, this tourist attraction also attracts visitors seeking a spiritual retreat surrounded by nature and mysticism.
The Temple of the Moon is believed to be a construction dedicated to fertility. This is because the cavern is shaped like a uterus while the upper cavity through which the ray of light filters would represent the vagina. The cave is also believed to have had gold ornaments. And that during the moonlit nights, the chamber lit up.
A short distance from the Temple of the Moon is a mysterious building called ‘the Temple of the Monkey’. It is a rock carved in the shape of a headless monkey (it is presumed that it was made of gold and that the Spanish removed it). It is believed that this construction was an astronomical observatory. It is also believed that it was a site that worshiped this representative jungle animal. Tourists also often practice mystical tourism there.
Landscapes and nature
The Temple of the Moon also offers one of the best panoramic landscapes in the city of Cusco. Many tourists like to visit the place to rest from the bustle of the city. A good alternative is to bring some fruit, snacks and enjoy the scenery.
Cost of the visit
Visiting the Temple of the Moon is free. However, there are some tours that offer horseback riding or pay-to-land ceremonies at this site. These services can be hired at tourist agencies in the historic center of Cusco. The cost is approximately $ 20 per person.
The Temple of the Moon is open to the public every day of the year. It can be visited at any time of the day, although it is recommended to do it from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.
Photos of the temple of the moon in Cusco
In the sector of the Temple of the Moon there is a section of the ‘qhapac ñan’ or network of Inca roads, which runs along the slopes of the mountains until reaching the town of Pisac, an important citadel in Inca times. This route is free to tourists. It takes between 7 or 8 hours, depending on the physical resistance of the walker.
The temple of the moon is located near some of the most important archaeological sites in Cusco, such as: Qenqo, Pucapucara, Tambomachay and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman. You can visit all these places by buying the ‘Cusco Tourist Ticket’ (70 Peruvian soles).
While the Temple of the Moon is open to tourists at all hours of the day. At night it can be dangerous. Likewise, vigilantes who guard the archaeological site of Qenqo tend to patrol the area. The best thing to do is visit during the day.
During your visit to the temple of the moon, do not forget to bring a hat (or cap), sunscreen, poncho (in case of rain), snacks, rehydrating drinks and good shoes for the walk.