Langurs – a photographer’s forever love

Nicholas Kristof, the famous American journalist, once said, The wilderness is healing, a therapy for the soul”. The energy and essence of these words give me goosebumps every time I read it.

There is an intrinsic link between our own health and wellbeing, and that of the world around us. 2020 made us genuinely acknowledge the value of some of the simplest things in life; even at this very moment, none of us would struggle to acknowledge the joy an outdoor walk can bring to us.

At the outset of the new year, I accompanied our first set of guests visiting the lodge. Stepping out of our respective city lives and spending time amidst wilderness, instantly connected us with the world around us, and filled our souls with renewed zeal and positivity – the very emotions which were eroded, in one way or the other over the course of the last so many months. Imagine waking up to the bird calls and not the alarm clock on your desk; not wanting to snooze any longer and heading out in the greens. Singing with the winds and walking by the riverside. The dream was indeed real!!!

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles” Mary Davis.

Every dawn is an invitation to unravel the boundless beauty of nature and at Singinawa, we humbly yet graciously offer to our guests, an unmatched natural trail extending over 100 acres of land. It’s a soul stirring experience when one sets out on a journey of discovery and exploration of the myriad forms of life that thrive in the lush buffer zone alongside river Tannaur or within the premises of the lodge. Our team of industry best naturalists elevate this eco experience by curating tailor-make walks to showcase rippling water bodies (don’t forget to listen to its garrulous gurgle as it meanders merrily beneath a canopy of lush green foliage), dense forests and grasslands – mother nature’s gift to us.

 So, on a bright sunny winter morning, we embarked upon a tete-e-tete with nature and right at the start, I knew it was going to be yet another journey of forging new friendships. With every step, we wanted to capture zillion avatars of mother nature and its inhabitants and take back visual memories. While we were busy clicking pictures of the flora and fauna around us, Sachin – the naturalist at the lodge, asked us to PAUSE – and boy, were we in for a visual treat or what! A tiny langur was busy chewing on a saja bark, probably expecting to discover some sweet treats!

A young langur, busy feeding on the exposed bark of a Saja tree. (Photo credit: Sachin Sharma)

We take pride in our Sal stretches, grasslands and waterholes, which serve as a rendezvous for the denizens of Kanha forest, including Northern Plains Langurs. In India, many Hindus revere them as a symbol of the monkey deity Hanuman, whose simian army helped rescue Sita, the god Rama’s wife, from a demon king, according to a Sanskrit epic. According to folklore, langurs’ black faces and extremities call to mind the burns that Hanuman suffered in the course of his heroism.

A group of langurs making themselves comfortable on the Nag-shrine, located within the campus of Singinawa Jungle Lodge. (Photo credit: Sachin Sharma)

Langurs may be the most common subjects in the wild, but they can give us the most touching moments – all one needs to do is take a pause, observe them and soak in the vibes. The guests at the Singinawa are welcomed almost everyday with a troop of langur who congregate around the water fountain outside the main lodge and indulge in playful banter. They can be seen spending time grooming each other – experts say it establishes social bonds between them.

A troop of langur, quenching their thirst in the fountain outside the Main Building of Singinawa Jungle Lodge. (Photo credit: Sachin Sharma)

As they possess a folivorous diet, they spend most of their time picking leaves. However, occasionally they eat fruits. Talking about fruits, I remember how, our erstwhile naturalist, David Raju had once spotted a langur who’d just gobbled down a bunch of sindoor fruits – his playful act was beautifully captured on camera! Here’s an interesting fact: humans and primates possess colour vision to be able to identify different fruits and to check if it is edible, ripe or poisonous!

This female seems to have smudged lipstick on her face after have gobbled down some Indoor fruits!

However, what continues to intrigue me the most is watching a baby langur with its mother. The young are born with thin dark fur that turns thick and grayish gold after a few months. I can sit for hours watching the little ones play, cuddle and embrace their mothers. I was fortunate enough to witness one such bonding moment this time around. My smile widened with every picture that I clicked – time stood still. Rumi once said, Listen to silence, it has so much to say. I realised it’s essence that very moment.

(Photo credit: Tulika Kedia)

As we soaked in the aura of our surroundings and started walking back to the main lodge, our naturalist told us that langurs often share babysitting duties within a close-knit group of females and their offspring. Parenting on point – we said in chorus!

(Photo credit: Sachin Sharma)

 The earth has music for those who listen. Join us on this journey, look deep into nature and allow your senses to be soothed and healed. We cannot wait to welcome you!!!

(Photo credit: Sachin Sharma)

Tulika Kedia
MD, Singinawa Jungle Lodge

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