We went up to the Nandi Hills hill station yesterday. There are temples up there, beautiful scenery and history. That is all for another post. Most importantly, there are MONKEYS!!!
There are about 2000 monkeys on the mountaintop. Two things help the population. They are safe at temples, they can beg food at temples and they can beg food at tourist places. Oh and they can steal food in such places! Since Nandi is a temple complex and tourist trap at the same time, the monkeys thrive. My introduction to the monkeys was seeing one steal a bag of chips from a kiosk vendor, then tearing open the bag and eating it in a tree.
Later on, while we were having lunch at a mountaintop restaurant, we heard a shriek from the table next to us. We turned to see the people in the table in shock with a monkey in the middle of the table. He used to moment of surprise to gather up all the parotta bread from everyone’s plates. His smash and grab complete, he leapt from the table and retreated to a distant treetop to enjoy his prize. We had been given blessed figs at a shrine of Shiva. I distributed them among monkeys later. Afterwards, Daniela asked if we had violated any rules by giving the holy figs to the monkeys. I said, “why not? Monkeys are Brahmans, right?”, but to be honest, I’m not sure. Besides, our driver insists that monkeys are Anglo Indians.
Last, but not least, a monkey demonstrated why you should always have lockable saddle bags! Perhaps he is a Shiva fig eater?