Hanuman is a Hindu deity with the face of a monkey and the body of a man. Believed to be a representative of Lord Rama, Hanuman possesses super-human strength. Hanuman was the resourceful general of an army of monkeys serving Lord Rama in rescuing his wife Sita from imprisonment in Sri Lanka. It is said that in one giant leap Hanuman was able to reach Sri Lanka from the mainland of India. Once in Sri Lanka he lit a huge fire distracting the guards and allowing Sita to be rescued. However, the fire was so big that Hanuman burnt his face, which turned black in the process.
The commonly seen monkey here at JAWAI owes its name to the monkey-warrior himself: the Hanuman Langur. The black faces of the monkeys provide the proof that these Langurs are the living descendants of the monkey god. For this reason they are revered throughout India with locals building temples in their honour and putting food out to keep them happy.
One of my favourite things to do here on game drive is to wait for the sun to warm up the granite rocks and then watch the Hanuman Langurs come out to play. After spending the cold nights huddled together in rocky crevices they are desperate to stretch their legs, flick their tails and sun their bellies.
The temple nearest to us, at JAWAI Leopard Camp, must consist of close on 70 individuals. They provide endless entertainment and you can sit transfixed for ages marveling at the confidence by which they scale up and down the rocky cliffs and overhangs.
Just yesterday I decided to take my camera out and try to photograph some of these monkeys. This is a small sample of what I was able to capture…
Written, filmed and photographed by Adam Bannister