The shrine is pyramid-like structure consisting of four thick platforms stacked on top of one another and a staircase on each side leading up to the upper levels. The shrine features two entrances on the top level on the front and back, with the door openings in the shape of a serpent's head. Inside the shrine is an abandoned subterranean world, dubbed the Lost World, which consist of a labyrinth of passages, large water streams, secret inflamed traps, mystical machines like the Lit Panel, switches that determine the water level of rooms, moving snake-shaped panels, darken rooms with bottomless pits, and a system of light reflection-based puzzles.
At the height of the Knuckles Clan's civilization, the shrine had sculptures with murals of serpents along its staircases and red outlines adorning the outside. In the present day, the shrine is seemingly smaller (possibly having sunk partially into the ground), duller in color, and some of the serpent-mural statues have been replaced by echidna statues. One of the entrances to the shrine could also only be opened by switches incorporating the Gold and Silver Statues.
The shrine was present at the pinnacle of the Knuckles Clan's civilization where the clan engaged in territorial wars to expand their empire under the leadership of Chief Pachacamac. Parentally a place of worship among the Knuckles Clan, Tikal, the daughter of Pachacamac, could often be found near the shrine, contemplating the prayer of the seven chaos given to her by her grandmother. When the Knuckles Clan civilization was nearly wiped out by Perfect Chaos, the shrine was one of the few structures that survived the rampage and got remodeled in remembrance of the incident, though it was abandoned as the Knuckles Clan entered terminal decline on Angel Island.
In the anime series Sonic X, the shrine has a much less detailed and more blocky design, with a giant tree growing on top of it. It originally resided on Sonic's world until its landmass got transported to Earth due to a large-scale Chaos Control. When Dr. Eggman let Chaos loose, Tikal took Sonic to the shrine to reveal more about Chaos' past and the threat he posed.
When Lost World is open, the statue on the left of the main entrance will transform into an echidna when approached. The statue on the right however appears to be broken.
Inside the Shrine of Knuckles's race, there is a triangle-shaped object that can be seen in the game files or by hacking, right when seeing Tikal in the past.
Map of the Mystic Ruins with the Shrine of Knuckles' race 4,000 years ago.
A present-day map of the Mystic Ruins with the Shrine of Knuckles' race, now named "Ancient ruins".
↑Stratton, Bryan (17 June 2003). "Miles "Tails" Prower's Adventure Fields and Action Stages". Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. p. 62. ISBN 978-0761542865.