Apu (A-pu) means “Lord” in Qechua. The Inka religion uses the term Apu to refer to a mountain that has a spirit that is alive. Body and energy bubble of the mountain together form his wasi (Qechua for “home” or “temple”).
Apu Salkantei, one of the big snow-capped mountains of Peru (suyu apu)
Often, residents or students give an Apu the name of an important Paqo or teacher, such as Apu Manuel Pinta or Apu Benito Qoriwaman. An Apu is usually male, but there are many exceptions such as Apu Mama Simona or Apu Wachay Willka, both female Apus
An Apu is also a protector that can have different names, depending on its size and strength:
Ayllu Apu – protector of a village (like Apu Manuel Pinta)
Llaqta Apu – protector of a region (Apu Mama Simona)
Suyu Apu – protector of a country (like Apu Salkantay or Apu Ausangate)
Besides mountains there are other living beings that are considered as Apus – the so-called Tekse Apus. In the Andean tradition Pachamama (Cosmic Mother), Wiraqocha (God or Cosmic Father), Father Sun (Taita Inti), Father Wind (Taita Waira), Mother Water (Mama Unu), Mother Moon (Mama Killa) and Mother Stars (Mama Ch’aska) can be seen all over the world, that is why they are called Tekse Apus, which means Global Apus. Jesus Christ and Mother Mary for the same reason are also called Tekse Apus.