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.
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.