Previously, I mentioned my failed attempts at taking pictures of monkeys. Primate photography isn’t easy. The monkeys of Jodhpur are quick and crafty, and when you spot them on the move, they’re gone within seconds. For instance, in the old city last week, I looked up to see a whole troop of monkeys bounding from one rooftop to another. One of them even hopped back and forth a few times, taunting me. But they all leapt out of view before I could snap a photo.
Well, I recently got the better of those sly simians. Rather than rambling around on the streets, I found a strategic vantage point above the city, leaving the roof-dwellers nowhere to hide.
I can’t say my success was intentional. At the time, I was more interested in flora than fauna, wandering through a historical garden known as Chokelao Bagh. The garden, which lies in the shadow of Mehrangahr Fort, was designed more than two hundred years ago by a Maharaja, and its lush terraces hold plants like banana palm, jessamine, and desert apple. The atmosphere is calm and contemplative.
I climbed onto a wall to get a good look at the city below. It was early evening, so the cool air had drawn people outside, and the view from Chokelao Bagh was like one of the illustrations in a Where’s Waldo book, with so many stories unfolding at once that it would have taken hours to keep track of them all. Boys swam in a reservoir; men conversed under the shade of a tree; women in saris sat on rooftops; a white cow tried to climb a set of stairs. And suddenly a bunch of monkeys wandered directly into photo range. I ecstatically grabbed my camera and pointed it towards them. This was way more exciting than finding a man in a red-striped shirt.
I took plenty of pictures. You can never take enough pictures of monkeys, especially when you’ve been trying and failing for almost a week. Here are some highlights: