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Intipunku or Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

Intipunku or Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

One of the most well-known Incan sites along the Inca Trail is IntiPunku or the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu. Inti Punku translates to “Sun Gate” in the Quechua language. Quechua was widely used between 1400 and 1500 BCE. So, keep on reading if you are planning to see the Sun Gate on your next trip to Machu Picchu.

Intipunku or Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

Why was Intipunku built?

The Incan architecture is one of the most fascinating in the world, with many incredible constructions, monuments, and gorgeous temples and palaces. This also holds true for the Intipunku, which is thought to have served as Machu Picchu’s entrance during the Incan era.

While many researchers think it was a military endeavor, others think that Emperor Pachacuti used it as a fortress and dedicated it to the Sun God, giving it the name Intipunku.

Because of the many gates, it is generally thought that Intipunku was used for military activities. Guards were posted there and given the responsibility of recording who was permitted to enter and exit Machu Picchu.

Today, it is one of the prime sites in one of the seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. Researchers believe that Intipunku, along with the entire city of Machu Picchu, was abandoned during the early 1500s Spanish invasions.

Intipunku or Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

How to start the Intipunku hike?

Intipunku is the point of entrance to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu for those hiking the esteemed Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or the two day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Typically, the Classic Inca Trail Hike is a four day hike. It starts at Piscacucho or Km.82. The place is called Km.82 due to its distance from Cusco when travelling to Machu Picchu. 

On the third day of the hike, after touring the Inca complex of Wiñay Wayna, you will be hiking to Intipunku or the Sungate. Here you will have the opportunity to witness the sunrise from here. This is a rewarding experience only a handful of travellers get to immerse in. 

Alternatively, if you are hiking the two day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you will be finishing the first day of the trek in Inti Punku. 

Intipunku or Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

What is the Intipunku hike like?

Since Machu Picchu’s Intipunku or Sun Gate is more than 2700 meters above sea level, it is common for tourists to feel the effects of altitude sickness. Symptoms are nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, and exhaustion.

Therefore, if you encounter any difficulties when hiking the Intipunku. Be sure to take breaks by stopping along the trail every 20 to 30 minutes. To regain your energy, drink plenty of water and eat snacks such as chocolate and protein bars.

The views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas, particularly at sunrise, are stunning. So the struggle is well worth it. On a clear, good day, you can sometimes see other snow-covered mountains in the distance! 3

So, try to make it to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu no matter how difficult it seems to be and you will feel a great sense of accomplishment!