Monkey Business in Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest Sanctuary is home to around 200 macaque monkeys and three Hindu temples that were built in the middle of the 14th Century. The monkeys roam freely which can be both fascinating and frightening. I am generally fascinated and have stood, mesmerized at the zoo, watching these distant relatives do things people do. But today a precocious teenage monkey decided I probably had something he wanted in my purse. I know better than to carry food into Monkey Forest so I had nothing. But he jumped on to my shoulder and in a split second, he had himself draped around me, grappling with the zipper on my bag and then my camera case. I had just witnessed two monkeys fighting and I saw the vicious teeth those little creatures have so I didn’t want to upset him in any way. As he readjusted his grip around my neck I slowly lowered myself as close to the ground as I could get hoping he’d hop off. No such luck. The next thing I knew he swung around my arm, a Tarzan-like move, and was on my head. I know their penchant for grooming and I didn’t want to go there! I saw a cement pillar near by with a flat top. I moved close and tilted my head. Junior finally got the message and left in a bit of a huff. I gave the monkeys a wide berth for the remainder of my visit today, and I wasn’t approached again.

They’re just so cute when they’re little!

Then they become teenagers…

And then, ah well, it happens to all of us.

The lush green jungle is a feast for the eyes. If you notice about half way down on the right side of this photo, two mossy green alligators perch on the edge of a cliff.

The sidewalks are spotlessly clean and are kept that way by women with pink dustbins and bamboo brooms. I watched a tourist intentionally drop a plastic bag on the ground. Another person in the group said, “There are recycle containers for that.” His reply, “Oh, the monkeys will take care of it.” Within moments a green uniformed Forest Attendant picked up the bag and took it to the recycle bin.

Monkey Forest Sanctuary is also a cemetery used by the village of Padangtegal for their cremations and burial grounds.

Directly across from the headstones is the cremation area. There had recently been a cremation and smoke was still rising.

The temples are awe-inspiring with their statuary and intricately carved edifices.

I wonder what the ceremonies looked like that were held here in the 14th Century. Probably not much different from what they are today.

No trip into Monkey Forest would be complete for me without seeing the incredible dragon bridge. Shrouded in the dripping tendrils of the banyan trees that surround it, the bridge spans the rushing creek in the chasm below.

Magnificent! And so was the day. My trail home took me past Atman and I had to stop. Just look at these bananas, fried in butter with two sauces on the side, one is coconut cream and the other is carmelized raw cane sugar. Go ahead and drool. It was beyond delicious!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jessa walters
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 15:00:20

    your experience with junior had me rolling…and also a bit terrified for you! i’m so glad you survived monkey forest! such great stories!! ohh, and those fried bananas…divine! oh, i’ve been meaning to ask: is uma inder teaching at the yoga barn?

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  2. Diane Struble
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 02:36:31

    I appreciate your reluctance to get too close to the monkeys. What a beautiful zoo. I am amazed at all of the statuary.

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