Travel Pics Theme: Z for Zoology

Monkey mothers and babies at Temple in Bali

Monkey mothers and babies at Temple in Bali

This week, our letter theme is Z, for Zoology.

For Thursday, lets head to Pura Luhur Uluwatu, or Uluwatu Temple in Bali.

This is a ‘sea temple’, built on a clifftop, and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Bali.

The temple started life sometime in the first millennium CE, but the current structure was expanded in the 11th century.

The name Pura Luhur Uluwatu is significant. Pura means Temple, and Uluwatu is the place-name .. but Luhur means either ‘Imposing and Majestic’, or ‘Noble and Honorable’.

It got the name because a sage is reputed to have gained ‘moksha’, or breaking out of the cycle of birth-rebirth, after designing and building the shrines at the temple.

The other things the temple are famous for are the Kecac dancers who perform in a plaza beside the path to the temple, and the monkeys which inhabit the temple in their thousands.

Everywhere you look around the temple, and in the surrounding Monkey Forest, there are monkeys.

But rather than being  either wild animals, or domesticated ones, these monkeys are somewhere in between.

They will steal sunglasses or anything else which is not securely attached .. and in some cases, their unofficial handlers will demand a ransom for their return (ostensibly for the ‘trouble’ they go to in retrieving the purloined possessions.)

Other monkeys will scratch and even bite – and they are known to carry primate herpes, although local authorities claim they don’t have rabies.

I’m not sure I’d believe them.

So go to Uluwatu, by all means – and get pictures like these mums and their bubs.

But treat them as potentially troublesome animals – and if you decide to feed them with the fruit you can buy at the temple entrance, put the food on the ground, to stop the monkeys from scrambling all over you.

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