Karnataka toddler’s special bond with simians draws crowds

The monkeys are said to pay at least two visits each day to see the child, who shares his food with them

Allapur, Karnataka: Two-year-old Samarth Bangari from Allapur village in Dharwad district, in the northern part of Karnataka, is drawing crowds to see his natural talent: an affinity with monkeys.

Samarth’s parents, farmers Sunil and Nanda Bangari, noticed a few months ago that the young boy was very comfortable with monkeys when he was playing with nearly a dozen langurs around him in an open field outside his home.

“Initially, we were worried if the monkeys would hurt our boy. But we realised that even the monkeys were fond of him and they liked each others’ company,” Samarth’s maternal uncle, Mallikarjun Reddy, explained.

Each morning, the langurs, who live in fields nearby, flock to Samarth’s home in the village, which is located about 400km to the northwest of the state capital, Bengaluru.

“Nearly 20 monkeys land up at our house each morning by around 6am and wake Samarth up to play with him. They don’t come close to anyone else in the house but the boy,” Reddy said.

The simians are said to pay at least two visits to the child each day, in the morning and evening. And Samarth often shares his food with them.

Reddy said on some days, the child spends more time with the langurs than with his six-month-old brother.

And while these meets have been going on for months, Samarth has never been hurt by the langurs, said Reddy.

“The villagers are amazed at the friendship that Samarth has with the monkeys. They believe that he is blessed by Lord Hanuman [commonly known as the Monkey deity],” Reddy said.

With the word about this special friendship spreading, people from across the state have begun to visit the boy, he added.

“We have visitors from nearby villages, Hubballi (about 10km from here), Bengaluru and other districts coming all the way to our village to witness Samarth’s love for monkeys.”

Realising the boy’s affection for the animals, the family now makes food for the animals.

“We make around 100 rotis [flat bread] for Samarth to feed around 20 langurs that visit him each day,” Reddy said.

“My family is over the moon with the attention that this unusual friendship is bringing from across the districts,” Reddy said.


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