a warm morning walking down the rocky slope of the Mountain Arunachala. Butterflies flit from from flower to flower, trees and plants sway in the breeze, and bird calls dance on the wind. More than halfway down the Mountain I notice the tops of the trees bending a bit and see a blurred figure fly through the air. Ah, here are the langur monkeys making sport in the trees next to the path, the flying Tarzans who can leap horizontally 12 – 15 feet and 35 – 40 feet on a descent. One langur sits in a tree two feet away munching on red berries.
This group of silver-coated black-faced (mostly) herbivores living on this part of the Mountain are used to humans. Normally shy, langurs are gentle peaceful creatures (unless the head male is under threat by a young contender or one group of langurs is fending off another). Unlike the smaller brown monkeys who are curious, mischievous, snatch human parcels and run off with the goods, langurs appear content to munch on leaves, fruits, grass and what they can find in the forest rather than biscuits and endless bananas.
Sitting unmoving on a tree branch with their long tails hanging down into the air, silver-grey coats sparkling in the sun, they bring to mind the Hindu monkey-god called Hanuman, a name they are sometimes called. There is a majesty about them, a silence and a most welcome sight.