India—Benares—Monkey Temple


This photograph of a scene at a temple in India is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. In Carpenter’s New Geographical Reader: Asia (1923) Carpenter wrote: “There is one other strange worshiping place that we must visit before leaving Benares. This is a temple supposed to be the home of the monkey god, Hunuman (hun-oo-man), called the Monkey Temple. We do not wonder why as we enter its court, for the temple is surrounded by a wall over which hang mighty trees filled with chattering monkeys, while other monkeys play about in the court. There are peddlers at the entrance selling popcorn, some of which we buy and throw down on the floor. As it falls, the monkeys cry out; they leap down in droves, fighting over the corn. We feed them again and again, while the guards warn us to be careful, saying that the animals are vicious and often bite strangers.”

Last updated: September 29, 2014