Exploring Banteay Kdei

A heavy summers rain sets in, all too soon filling the sunken stone passages to bursting. Water spills from the foreboding entrance of this stone-hewn labyrinth, oppressive dark clouds dissuading the dying light from illuminating what lurks within. Dancing shadows draw a maze of black twisting tunnels blocked and barricaded by rock-fall and mutant trees. At the centre of this Tomb-Raider puzzle stands a small stone alter surrounded by four passageways, each twisting off to black oblivion. Light particles rain down from a crack in the stone ceiling, a single beam of amber illuminating the ancient stone alter.

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A child’s laugh echos momentarily somewhere within the underground maze, shrill sound waves bouncing off cold wet walls, beckoning me deeper. I pick a tunnel and venture down the causeway, knee deep in water following the eerie echos from behind the gloom. Tripping hard on an uneven stone I stumble through dense wet vines, falling through a small opening in the thick stone wall out to another world I emerge, the light of a mid-afternoon monsoon flooding my senses.

The jungle here lays heavily over hidden red and green stone, a place of worship once devoted to monks and their daily routine, the entire area now laying derelict and eroded by zealous Fords and would-be Angelinas. Climbing large sodden stone steps, I make my way up to the tree line in an attempt to get a feel for the direction back out to civilization. I’m mildly lost, and it’s started to rain again.

Barnaby Jaco Skinner

Barnaby Jaco Skinner

Full time photographer & publications specialist

I’m a professional photographer and artist. I’ve worked and lived around the world, spending most of my adult life on the run from conformity and routine; it’s a lifestyle that lends itself well to exploring this vast Earth we call home. This virtual place is home to some of my latest work and acts as a portal for business and workshop clients.

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