Langoors to drive away monkeys from Sri Jagannath Temple

Bhubaneswar, Feb 6 (PTI) Expecting a turnout of some50 lakh devotees to Puri during Lord Jagannath''s"Navakalebara" festival in 2015, the Orissa government hasdecided to deploy two langoors to drive away monkeys from thetemple complex.

"The state government has decided to bring at leasttwo langoors to keep monkeys away from the temple premisesmuch before the fesival in 2015," said P K Mohapatra, ChiefAdministrator of Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri.

Stating that monkey menace had turned out be a majorproblem for the administration, Mohapatra admitted thatseveral attempts to drive away monkeys from the premises ofthe 12th century temple had failed to yield any result.

The monkey menace had, in fact, taken a serious turnin the temple as most of the pilgrims have a tough time. It isestimated that more than 1000 monkeys have made JagannathTemple and its surroundings their home.

The monkey population mostly depend on ''prasad"being sold in the temple premises. They sit atop smalltemples and pillars waiting for a devotee who is not alert.

They often snatch purses and bags consideringthem as food packets, said a security man at the temple.

A section of devotees however, offer food, mostlyfruits, considering them as a symbol of Lord Hanuman.

Though the administration had earlier caught them andset them free at a distant place, monkeys return to the templepremises after some days, pointed out Bhaskar Mishra, anotherofficer at the temple.

A 12-member monkey catcher team of Mankadias andPahadias, primitive tribes from Mayurbhanj district, wererecently pressed to drive them away. But the situationdid not improve much.

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