Aping Hindu rituals to a T, a monkey appeared at an Orissa temple, prayed for an hour folding its hands in the traditional sign of respect, took prasad, put vermilion on its forehead - and then fled.
Looking at it as a miracle are residents of Junia village in Balasore district, who responded by worshipping it in turn and garlanding the simian before it ran away.
It all happened earlier this week Monday when the simian, who had never been seen in the area earlier, appeared at about 10 a.m. near a Shiva temple and offered flowers at the shrine.
It was the day that devotees were formally inaugurating the stone symbol that is seen to represent Lord Shiva.
Said Aniruddha Behera, a village resident: "The monkey folded his hands, observed silence, put vermilion on his forehead and also took the prasad from the devotees."
"When we saw the monkey joining us we were surprised. We did not try to drive it out and it continued praying for nearly an hour amid hundreds of devotees," Behera told IANS.
It stayed around till evening when it ran into the nearby forests.
"We have not seen any monkey around for the last two years. This is a miracle for us," Behera said.