Machu Picchu shows the Inca's  connection between the earthly and spiritual realms. The Intiwatana (1), or Hitching Post of the Sun,  is aligned with the landscapes surrounding the temple. The tip of Wayna Picchu lies due north and Salcantay is due south though it is not visible from the temple. Machu Picchu sits in a saddle along a ridge that begins at Salcantay 40km away. At the Equinox the sun rises over the peak of Wakay Wilka and sets behind the highest summit of Cerro San Miguel to the west.

The Temple of the Three Windows (2) is situated high above the plaza area. The temple was unfinished when Machu Picchu was abandoned but the large stone pillar likely supported the roof. The stone next to it on the left is carved with the three tiered form seen in many religious sites.



The Condor Temple (3) is very unique. It utilizes an in situ outcrop of rocks and may be walked under and through. In this picture you can see the collar of feathers and the beak on the ground. The head is the remaining flat rock on the ground while the enormous wings spread up above. It is the wing on the left that you can crawl under and come up behind the condor wings. An amazing experience. Large niches are built into a wall on top of the wing on the right. Researchers speculate that mummies of important persons might have been placed in the niches and carried by the spirit of the condor into the afterlife.

The Sun Temple (4) is clearly an astronomical observatory as well as a religious temple. The niches in the walls are typical of religious temples and the window serves an astronomical purpose. When the sun rises on the summer solstice the light pouring through the window falls exactly onto the area carved out of the large in situ rock the temple is built on.



Machu Picchu 3


Ritual Baths