In front of me are these little winding narrow cobbled pathways that I am walking on and all around me are forgotten stones and ruins frozen in time taken over by nature. I am inside nature… Inside a deep forest that seems to have always been there, exactly the same, forever unchanged.
I don’t exactly know how to describe the Sacred Monkey Forest, because it is so incredibly different from anything I have seen or experienced before. It is a place that is magical and filled with an atmosphere that is indeed, as it’s name suggests, very SACRED. As I sit here, in front of my MacBook, I close my eyes and take myself back there, and the impression it left in my heart is so strong, I am instantly transported back into that mystical haven. I close my eyes again and keep going.
As I walk I can see these deep roots stretching above the grounds from these tall trees that are larger than my eye can see stretching towards the sky. Above me, as I look up, there are some little openings the trees create between leaves that allow for small fragments of light to come through… with the dust in the air, it’s as if it is this sprinkling of golden sparkles falling down from the heavens. There are these wide leafs, on both sides, that are much bigger than the palm of my hand, and as I let my fingers go through them, I can tell that they possess a life of their own. I keep going down the pathway, all the way down these countless numbers of steps. I look to my left and there is a great big male monkey staring right into my eyes; he is not alone… surrounding him, scattered in the tree tops, in the branches and rolling around the floors are thousands of monkeys; some are babies, some are a smaller (females) and some look older and wiser, with their large grey hairs surrounding their tiny faces. I keep walking down, half hoping that none of the monkeys will jump onto me, as it just happened to the man in front of me, half completely in awe with these majestic surroundings. When I reach the bottom I cross this bridge, and reach the other side. Beneath the bridge, way down there, is a small river, and I can almost feel the freshness of those pure waters. I keep wondering through the forest, following the paths that follow the two sides of the mountains, united by these bridges that define perfect arches. As I walk I see that dragonflies are flying all around in every direction. There are ponds filled with water lilies blossoming in purple, there are red and black butterflies fluttering their wings across the air; there is a thousand shades of the deepest greens at every corner; there are sculptures of gigantic lizards crawling up from rocks that sit in the steep terrain all around me. And of course, there are a thousand monkeys… everywhere. There is a mother holding her baby in between her arms, there are junior monkeys playing in the branches of a smaller tree, and there are some monkeys that seem to be statues… just sleeping. I wonder through some of the temples that are scattered in a nearby area, just along some of the paths. They are beautiful… but they do not have the soul and the sacredness of that forest. I wonder back to my favourite place, where the river is, where the trees are taller and where it seems that I belong to nature. There… in between the trees, the animals, the colours and the light, there is no time at all. It’s as if the world has stood still from centuries ago, completely unaltered and forever unchanged. Here… there isn’t any trace of our world at all, and if we removed all of us, humans (tourists carrying new cameras and iPhones trying to capture this intangible beauty) everything would be exactly the same as it has always been. It is frozen in time… and so it’s soul runs deep, changing throughout the years and years, until reaching this kind of complete state of wholeness and harmony. Everything is beautifully perfect… And all I can do is understand that this place is indeed SACRED, special and that the only job for us humans here is to keep it that way… completely free and pure.
I open my eyes and read back what I have written… I decide to do some research about the place, trying to de-code when and why it got it’s SACRED aspect of it. I don’t find this explanation at all… but this is what I find: firstly that the Monkey Forest is a foundation that has a philosophical goal of creating peace and harmony for visitors from all over the world; and secondly that it has a mission of conservation according to the Hindu principle of Tri Hata Karana (which means ‘Three ways to reach spiritual and physical well-being’ which is a harmony between humans, between humans and nature and between humans and God), seeking to make people live harmoniously during their lives. I smile… I would never have described it in that way, but it is indeed true… isn’t that what all this wonder, awe, mysticism and beauty is for?
I imagine that the monkeys are there to protect the Soul of that place: that beautiful atmosphere and forest that is forever in the hearts of those who wander through it. The monkeys will protect it… and we will protect the monkeys…. and everything is right. I wish I could be there now, but I cannot… only in dreams, only in the photographs I took… only in these words I write. For now… that will have to be enough. It’s alright… there is a natural wonder, out there, trying to make the world a more harmonious place.