The Lost Temple

We take a boat trip to ElNakix’s eerily beautiful build

A long-forgotten temple crumbling into the water below should be a sad sight, right? But then we see a build that looks as pretty as ElNakix’s creation, The Lost Temple of Jinksai, which makes overgrown abandoned buildings look great, and now we don’t know what to think. Are crumbling ruins destined to be the hot new look of 2019?

“I was inspired by traditional Chinese architecture, but not any specific temple,” ElNakix explains to me. “Rather the characteristics and form that these temples usually have.”

“Later I began to build the temple little by little, starting with the centre and extending towards the sides until I reached the arms of the land,” says ElNakix. “I repeated this several times until I reached a considerable height, and then added several pagoda towers to finish the construction.”

With the temple complete, it was time to start work on the abandoned boat floating gently on the emerald water, a brilliant part of the project that wasn’t even in his initial plans.

“The idea of building a ship was born shortly after I started to build the project,” he tells me. At first, he was going to build many boats, but decided he didn’t want to crowd the structure itself. But even creating just one boat was a difficult task.

“I was a little scared because I had tried to do an oriental-themed boat before, and the result was not good,” he admits. “This time I’m very happy with the result.”

As he should be! I especially like the little holes in the sails, a small touch that instantly tells you this boat hasn’t been properly maintained for a very long time. It’s a good thing I like them so much, as ElNakix tells me these sails were the hardest thing to get right.

Plus, the boat even hides some secrets. “A detail that I love despite it being difficult to perceive, is the trail left by the boat in its path, where there are no water lilies and the water is clean.”

ElNakix says that getting everything in the build just right is why it took him so long to complete it. For example, as well as piling on vegetation and adding waterfalls cascading down the front of the temple, he destroyed some parts of what he’d built to give it the look of a place that’s been lost for a long time. Undoing your hard work to make it look better – now that’s dedication. Not to mention incredibly risky!

But ElNakix doesn’t mind. “I think it's those little details that ultimately determine a good job,” he explains. His favourite is the way that the waterfall splits into two smaller streams, before trickling into the pool below. “Instead of using blocks of water, I used white tinted glass, simulating the foam of the water when hitting the rock.” A clever trick, and a good tip for anyone who might want to make some realistic water features themselves.

“I think the little details make big differences,” ElNaxkix says, a motto he kept in mind throughout the project, as he “wanted the result to be as realistic as possible,” and I think he’s certainly achieved that!

I can just imagine taking a nap on that boat, with the sun warming the deck as the water laps gently against the hull… Sure, living in an abandoned temple might get a little lonely. But when it looks this good, who cares?

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Jay Castello