Hanuman

Uttarakhand is heavily forested, and forests in this region have monkeys. One of the largest is the species of the hanuman langur called the Nepal gray langur (Semnopithecus schistaceus). I saw the individual in the featured photo during a walk at an altitude of about 2400 meters, inside the Binsar National Park. The seven species of hanuman, genus Semnopithecus, which are found in India separate into distinct geographical ranges, with little overlap. At this altitude, and this far north, the Nepal gray langur is the only one that is found. As I concentrated on taking photos of this troupe of leaf eaters, I missed a photo op which will probably never recur: two yellow throated martens (Martes flavigula) pulled themselves up the cliff next to the road I was on, sat on the edge and stared at me for a long time. They were gone by the time I mentally kicked myself into swinging my camera round to photograph them. They are shy and swift, and because of that are hard to photograph, in spite of being fairly common in these forests. The longer you live the more regrets you have.

Watching the troupe I was reminded of the graffiti I’d seen in Haridwar a couple of days earlier, when I visited the abandoned ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I found a photo on my phone (above). It is a lovely piece of art, but it does not show the Nepal gray langur. This species holds its tail above, and parallel to, their bodies when they walk. The tail is long, and the tip can project forward ahead of the head. The drooping tail that the artwork shows belongs to the southern plains gray langur (Semnopithecus johnii) whose range is far to the south.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

15 comments

  1. Interesting observation about the tail positions. We saw many langurs in Hampi, don’t remember the tail position, must be downward pointing as you mentioned.
    Just thinking why did someone paint a southern plains gray langur in Rishikesh. By the great resemblance the artist would have known about the same difference and intentionally drawn!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the gray langur. I noticed the swooping tail as in the artwork when we were in Bhubaneswar near Konark. I didn’t realize that not all langurs carried their tale like this, I thought I just hadn’t noticed it before.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess you’re right about the longer we live the more regrets we have. Me too, but at the same time I realize (now) that the road in front of us passes through time and there’s no turning around to try other options.

    Liked by 1 person

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