The Inti Raymi “Festival of the Sun”) was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the God Sun, one of the most venerated gods in Inca religion. According to chronicler Garcilazo de la Vega, Sapa Inca Pachacuti created the Inti Raymi to celebrate the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. During the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi was the most important of four ceremonies celebrated in Cusco. The celebration took place in the Wakaypata or the main plaza in Cusco city. The ceremony was also said to indicate the mythical origin of the Incas, lasting 9 days of colourful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to ensure a good cropping season.The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor’s presence was carried out in 1535, after which the Spanish conquest and the Catholic Church suppressed it. Some natives participated in similar ceremonies in the years after, but it was completely prohibited in 1572 by the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, who claimed it was a pagan ceremony opposed to the Catholic faith.
After four centuries, in 1944, a historical reconstruction of the Inti Raymi was directed by Faustino Espinoza Navarro and indigenous actors. The first reconstruction was largely based on the chronicles of Garcilazo de la Vega and only referred to the religious ceremony with a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi and took place at Sacsaywaman. Now, in the actuality, the festival is developing in three different places, which are Koricancha (Temple of the Sun), Wakaypata (Main square of Cusco) and Sacsaywaman, attracting thousands of visitors and local people.
The Inti Raymi contemporary version is developed each June 24 since 1944, when the festivities were instituted in Cusco in memory of their ancient origin and cradle of Inca civilization.
ITINERARY FOR INTI RAYMI FESTIVAL
We leave the hotel at 8:30 am and we walk to the Koricancha temple, according to the program, the ceremony starts at 9:00 am. Here begins the festival with the participation of the people that arrive from the Four Suyos (Four Regions), each region dressed with special costumes for this occasion. Then the Inca makes his entrance accompanied by his entourage to begin the ceremony a greeting to Sun God. Then we will transfer to the main square where at 11:00 am the imperial entourage will move to play in scene the second part of the ceremony, the rite, “The Meeting of Two Worlds”.
Completed the second part of the festival, we will transfer our passengers by bus to the esplanade of Sacsaywaman; the principal scenery to play in scene the Inti Raymi. In the place we take a lunch box while awaiting the arrival of the Inca and his entourage. At approximately 1:30pm, the Inca makes his entry into the esplanade carried by his soldiers, in the Ushnu (Ceremonial Platform). The Inca and the principal authorities of the Empire celebrate with offerings, rituals and give worship to the Sun God. We return to the hotel at approximately 3.30pm.