The Children of Banta Srei

Last Sunday, a dust filled hazy afternoon, a keen photographer friend Daniel and I took a tour out to 10th century Banteay Srei Temple. As well as marvelling at the pink sandstones intricate carvings, renovated by the french in the 1920’s, we particularly enjoyed hanging out with the local children in the glowing sunset light. Hiding from the temple guards they hopped and scrambled over the pink walls to earn a dollar for a  postcard.

The temple dedicated to Shiva has a cordoned off central shrine that is protected for heritage and conservation reasons but I was lucky enough to be able to go inside and burn a little incense for a friend.

The kids at Banteay Srei, citadel of the women, or citadel of beauty, do what they can to earn a few dollars by jumping over the walls (when the guards aren’t looking) to try and sell us postcards. Hawking photographers like us postcards can be a bit tricky but the little girl in the orange t-shirt fell and cried holding a bloody knee, with a hug and a handy anti bacterial wipe we got her smiling again for some photographs. I look forward to returning with some copies for the kids to keep.

As much as I am enjoying exploring the more unusual temples it is the people of the temples, the sacred mountains and the wild water villages that really captivate and inspire me.


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