Monkey Temple…

…Just a few kilometers east of the central walled city of Jaipur is the Galta Gorge. Although not as well publicized or known to tourists, it was one of the most interesting sights I have experienced in India. We had been told that we should visit the Monkey Temple by my host-father and showed up not knowing what to expect, except a lot of monkeys. However, we knew we were in the right place as soon as we got out of the car. The narrow valley is home to over 5,000 monkeys, hundreds of goats, and dozens of cattle. I found that clapping loudly and making scary noises kept the troublesome monkeys from attacking.

–A monkey looking out over Jaipur (you can see a couple of kites flying in the distance)–

We walked to the temple on top of the peak overlooking all of Jaipur. The views were amazing but we were all a bit underwhelmed. I had a hunch we were in the wrong place. I had noticed pictures of sacred tanks in my guidebook, so we enlisted the help of some eager locals to show us the way to them. After a kilometer of switchbacks through steep terrain, we found the spectacular set of temples and sacred baths that we were looking for.

I felt like I was living in a National Geographic Magazine. Here I was watching the pilgrims wash away their sins in curative holy water while monkeys ate bananas and picked flies off of one another in front of an 18th century mountain temple where worshipers prayed to an elephant deity named Ganesha.