Friday, December 17, 2004

Orissa villagers to build temple in memory of monkey

A monkey that carved a special niche foritself in a group of Orissa villages is to have a temple built in its memory after it died of an electric shock.

The residents of three villages in this coastal state bade an emotional farewell to the simian by taking out a grand procession after its death last Sunday.

They plan to build a temple to commemorate it and have formed a committee to gather funds for the purpose, a community leader said Wednesday.

The simian adopted Rajnagar village, 150 km from here, as its home three years ago.

The leader said the monkey had come to the village from the Bhitarkanika wild life sanctuary in Kendrapada district, where it had lived since birth.

Bhitarkanika, famous for its flora and fauna and known as the world's largest rookery of Olive Ridley turtles, is barely 20 km from where the monkey used to stay.

The monkey apparently preferred the village, inhabited mainly by fishermen and cultivators, over the lush environs of the wildlife sanctuary. It used to live on a banyan tree and amused children and adults alike, never harming anybody, the leader said.

The simian was a favourite not only with the 5,000-odd residents of Rajnagar but with people of nearby villages as well.

On Sunday, the monkey went to nearby Olura village, where it was chased by some dogs. He climbed an electric pole for safety but fell to the ground after touching a live wire.

The residents of the village took the injured monkey to the local vet and then to senior veterinary doctors in the state capital Bhubaneswar for further treatment. Despite their efforts, it died on Monday.

The residents of Olura brought the monkey's carcass to their village and organised a grand funeral, informing the people of neighbouring villages, the leader said.

Monkeys are considered to be the manifestation of the Hindu god Hanuman, who is seen as an embodiment of strength.

Story here.

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