MONKEYS HAVE SACRED STATUS IN INDIA
Monkeys have featured in Indian lore for thousands of years. Hanuman the monkey is one of the most popular deities in the Hindu religion, admired for his strength, loyalty and bravery.
According to some stories, Hanuman is an incarnation of Shiva, one of the principal Hindu gods. As a devoted servant of Rama, Hanuman’s legendary exploits are said to have included spying on enemies, fighting demons, leading a monkey army and outsmarting an evil sorcerer.
It’s believed that the goddess Kali appointed him as her doorkeeper, so many temples in India have stone monkeys watching over the doorways.
Because of his courage and determination, Hindus turn to Hanuman and chant his many names when they need strength to face challenges in their lives. His birth is celebrated across India every year during the festival Hanuman Jayanti. Devotees bring offerings to temples and worship, asking the monkey deity for his blessing and protection.
Monkeys – especially Hanuman langurs – are considered sacred by Hindus because of their connection to Hanuman. As a result, they’ve become a big problem in some cities, with rapidly growing populations, bold temperaments and a fondness for stealing, but they cannot be harmed or killed.
The temple of Galtaji outside Jaipur is popular with visitors to India thanks to the sheer number of langurs and macaques climbing the walls and playing in the holy pools. Tourists choosing to buy the bags of nuts and fruit for sale at the ‘Monkey Temple’ can expect to be mobbed almost instantly, because the monkeys are completely unafraid of people.
right While respected as representatives of Hanuman, macaques can be troublesome for locals and tourists alike, with bites, scratches and stealing common occurrences