World of Animals - - Monkey Gods -

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

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