Sinking into Atal’Hakkar: Exploring the Original Sunken Temple


Once a massive dungeon spanning four levels, Atal’Hakkar was shaken to its very foundation by the Cataclysm and the lower floors crumbled: rendering them inaccessible and blocking off large portions of the ruins to adventurers.

sunken temple
The upper chamber is the only section of the temple still accessible… by conventional means.

However, while that story may be true in the World of Warcraft cannon, the real truth is just that the developers wanted to make The Sunken Temple less confusing to navigate, and blocked off the lower levels during the Cataclysm revamp.

sunken temple portalAnd while that may be sad news for fans of the original dungeon, never fear! Developers are much less destructive than dragons, and where Deathwing leveled the lower floors; the devs merely moved the instance portal into the upstairs hallway, preventing players from going downstairs. But an especially daring outlaw rogue can bypass the instance portal in the method detailed above and venture forth to explore the original temple for themselves!

sunken temple stairs
Are we not going to mention the torches that have been burning for 8 years?

sunken temple old portalUpon reaching the bottom of the stairs behind the portal, we’re greeted by the original entrance room for the dungeon. A large rectangular chamber with 4 sets of stairs leading in various directions, and a fifth set blocked by an invisible wall that once held the entrance portal for the dungeon.

sunken temple great pool
FOR SALE: Historic Gurubashi temple, 48,000 sq feet, indoor pool, light mildew but foundation is good, real fixer upper.

Continuing ever further into the depths leads us to the great pool at the base of the dungeon. Players would need to light 6 beacons on the balconies shown above in the correct order to summon the Idol of Hakkar, who they would fight in the center pit.

sunken temple grateDirectly above the pool, you can see the underside of the small grate in the main chamber which looks down into the lower levels. This grate is the only glimpse players in the new dungeon normally get of the original structure.

sunken temple passageway
Seriously, who is making these everburning candles and torches?

Heading back to the top levels via a series of staircases, we come to the upper floor. A circular hallway which runs around the upper edge of the Cataclysm dungeon, with various stairwells leading down onto six now-inaccessible platforms which overlook the main chamber.

sunken temple balcony
Folks are DYING to get a seat! (I’ll see myself out)

The long abandoned lower levels of the Sunken Temple provide us with a fascinating look at how much of an area can be blocked off by simply making a few minor adjustments.

So whether you’re a fan of the original dungeon looking to return to the dusty halls after almost a decade, or you never got a chance to see the once great temple for yourself, the depths of the Temple of Atal’Hakkar are well worth the visit.

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Ever since I started playing World of Warcraft back in 2009, I've loved hunting for hidden items, secret areas, and unanswered mysteries in the game. The goal of Hidden Azeroth is to combine all the things I've found into one place so that other players can learn about and explore them as well. I hope you enjoy!


  1. Back in the day, I was playing either a dwarf or a gnome in ST, I think, and I got booted by a boss, down the hole that is covered by the grate… and I swear the boss yelled something along the lines of “He shoots… he scores!”
    Am I just crazy?


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