Exploring the Temple – Eye of the Serpent; Empty-Handed

This page provides a step-by-step guide for the Exploring the Temple story mission in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

The page also includes a description of Lara’s visit to the Mountain Temple and Cenote during Eye of the Serpent, one of the game’s main missions. Lara will face various challenges, including climbing, defeating savages, and solving a complex puzzle. Lastly, players will need to escape from enemies during a short mission called Empty-Handed.

  • Navigating the Mountain Temple
  • Finding the Silver Box of Ix Chel
  • Solving the Gates Puzzle – First Gate
  • Solving the Gates Puzzle – Second Gate
  • Escape from Cenotes

Navigating the Mountain Temple

The entrance to the Mountain Temple is located near the monolith in the northern part of the Hidden City. While it was previously inaccessible, players can now reach the giant hole by climbing the wall.

Inside the temple, players must reach a climbable wall. Grapple it with Lara’s axe and slide down the rope.

After a cut-scene, players will continue on a linear journey through the temple. Lara will need to make several jumps and move sideways while holding onto ledges. Eventually, players will reach the Mountain Temple Base Camp. Move forward by sliding down the rope.

Lara’s first encounter with hostile cultists occurs shortly after. Players should try to stand near walls or remain on the move while fighting them. Additionally, aim for the cultists’ heads, particularly if they are wearing headgear.

Continue forward. The cultists in the next room can be attacked by surprise. Players can pick up one of the jars and create a Smoke Bomb (see picture above). This will blind enemies temporarily and make them easier to kill from a distance or in close combat.

The next location is the Great Gate, where players will encounter more cultists. Players can use a surprise attack and look for mud spots, which allow Lara to camouflage herself and avoid detection. This also allows her to hide near walls covered in mud. If detected, try to avoid open areas and destroy red containers when enemies are standing next to them.

Climb the scaffolding located on the right side of the Great Gate (see picture above). After a cut-scene, players will learn that Unuratu has been kidnapped.

Leave the temple by climbing the wall on the right. Jump towards a nearby ledge, move to the side, reach another climbable wall, and slide down the rope. Run on the wall in the spot presented in the picture above to reach the protruding beam. From there, players must reach another wall, using Lara’s axe if necessary.

To progress in the game, Lara must first reach the other side of the wall, slide down the rope, and land on the stone ledge surrounded by water. She should then move forward and grapple the fallen tree with her axe to reach the adjacent ledge. Upon entering the new ruins, she will find herself in a cave with waterfalls. She must jump towards the climbable wall in the center and then jump down into the water before swimming through the submerged corridor and climbing onto the upper ledges. Eventually, she will reach a vantage point in a new location called Cenote.

To find the Silver Box of Ix Chel, Lara must approach the rope and catch it to reach Cenote Vista before jumping into the water from great heights. While exploring the new water body is optional, it will lead to the discovery of many new secrets. To continue the main mission, Lara must swim into the ruins presented in the picture and dive and swim west, being careful to reach places where she can catch a breath.

After getting out of the water, Lara must cut the rope to disarm a trap with spikes before entering a large and dimly lit cave. She should approach a climbable wall located nearby and reach the top before jumping towards the ledge and moving to another climbable wall. Sliding down the rope, she must then swing and jump towards the ledge with stairs. While one of the challenge tombs is nearby, her objective is to keep going through the large cave, jumping towards interactive ledges and climbable walls but being careful not to fall into the abyss.

Lara’s objective is to reach the stone ledge with a hanged person, which she might have noticed right after entering the cave. She should cut the rope to make the corpse fall to the ground before picking up the Bishop 600 shotgun. This shotgun can be used in attacking enemies and destroying some of the barricades, including the one near the Cenote Temple Ruins camp, which she can shoot to unlock a new passage.

Following the linear path, Lara will soon have her first encounter with savages. Fighting these “monsters” has the same general rules: she must eliminate the majority of the savages at a short range using her newly acquired shotgun, dodge a lot because these enemies deal a lot of damage once they get close to her, and look for ammo crates. Some of the savages will use bows, and Lara can eliminate them with the same weapon or use a rifle, aiming either at the enemies or at exploding objects. Finally, she must find a wall that she can climb and aim at the ropes to connect both elements of the construction before rotating the handwheel to progress in the game.

The mechanism is obstructed. Dive into the water, locate the obstacle and remove it with the axe. Return to the handwheel and turn it in a way that allows Lara to swim through a small hole – refer to the picture above.

Surface and disarm a new trap (cut the rope). Move to the edge of the stone ledge and jump towards the wall. Use the axe to grapple it. Slide down the rope and run on the wall. Lara must jump towards the bigger ledge (see picture).

Move forward and follow the corridor until you reach a small wall that you can climb. Grapple it with the axe and slide down the rope to reach a bigger room. Solve the puzzle that involves opening two large gates (the first gate is visible in the distance and the second one is behind the first).

Solving the Gates Puzzle – The First Gate

Release the rope and swim towards the ledge on the right side of the gate. Follow the linear path that leads to the upper part of the room. Be prepared to eliminate some savages who will attack Lara.

Stand near the spinning wheel and aim with the bow at the interactive construction with a serpent’s head in the center. Connect it to the spinning wheel (refer to picture 2).

Rotate the spinning wheel to move the construction with a serpent’s head to the right (picture 1). Climb it (picture 2) to access the previously inaccessible ledge.

The upper construction with a serpent is blocked with boards. Use the axe to remove them.

Return to the spinning wheel and shoot an arrow at the newly unlocked construction (refer to the picture above).

Use the spinning wheel to move the upper construction with a serpent’s head. It must reach the location presented in the picture so that water flows into the construction in the center.

Cut the rope attached to the upper construction and shoot another arrow with a rope at the construction in the middle (the one you climbed earlier). Use the spinning wheel to move the middle construction to the left (refer to the picture above).

Cut the rope again. Connect the lower construction with a serpent’s head to the spinning wheel (refer to picture 1). Start rotating the mechanism. Move this construction to the location where the falling water can turn the wheel (picture 2). This raises the large gate. Eliminate the savages before moving to the next mechanism.

How to Solve the Second Gate Puzzle

To solve the second gate puzzle, jump into the water and dive. Wait until you see a hole in the rotating mechanism and swim through it. Once you’re out of the water, follow the linear path and reach the spinning wheel on the left side of the gate. Beware of the savages who will attack you.

Stand next to the spinning wheel and aim at the taller construction with a serpent’s head (picture 1). Connect it with the spinning wheel and start rotating the mechanism until the construction reaches the same position as shown in picture 2. This will fill the small tank with water.

Jump into the water and dive to remove the boards blocking the shorter construction with a serpent’s head.

Go back to the spinning wheel and aim at the ropes on the shorter construction. Use the spinning wheel to move the construction so it can face the large wheel.

To complete the puzzle, adjust the position of the taller construction to create a waterfall. Water must flow from the shorter construction onto the wheel (as shown in the picture) to raise the second gate. This will trigger a cut-scene during which you will meet Yaaxil, the queen of the damned.

How to Escape from Cenotes

Escaping from Cenotes is similar to the previous mission, but do not try to fight the savages or stop, as Lara will be overrun and killed. You’ll need to jump, grab ledges, and use the grappling axe to swing using attachment points on the ceiling. A successful escape ends with falling into water and unlocking The Underworld achievement.


What is the Eye of the Serpent temple?

The Eye of the Serpent temple is an ancient temple located deep in the jungle. It is believed to have been built by the Mayans and was dedicated to the sun god. The temple is named after the serpent carving on the entrance which is said to represent the god Kukulkan. The temple is known for its unique architecture and intricate carvings. The temple is said to be cursed, and many adventurers who have tried to explore it have never returned.

What does it mean to explore the Eye of the Serpent temple empty-handed?

Exploring the Eye of the Serpent temple empty-handed means that you are not allowed to carry any weapons or tools with you. This is a rule set by the temple’s guardians, and it is believed to be a way to show respect to the gods. The only thing you are allowed to carry with you is a torch to light your way. Exploring the temple empty-handed is a challenging experience, as you have to rely on your wits and physical abilities to overcome any obstacles you may encounter. It is also a spiritual experience, as it is believed that exploring the temple in this way will bring you closer to the gods.

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