Monkey guidelines and tips for your stay at Tushita:
- NEVER intentionally feed the monkeys.
- Keep doors and windows or screens closed and locked at all times. Monkeys love to get in and rip things apart looking for food (and sometimes just fun!).
- Do not keep food in your room or in a bag you keep with you.
- Be vigilant when eating outdoors. Even if you aren’t offering them anything, monkeys see any food as an open invitation. We try to have a member of staff patrol the outside eating areas at meal times and we have dogs to help chase the monkeys away – call on them for help if needed, but keep an eye out at all times anyway.
When you are near a monkey:
- DO NOT make eye contact. Also, try not to smile or otherwise bare your teeth. Monkeys find these to be extremely threatening gestures.
- If the monkey is calm, then you should also stay calm. You’ll see the locals walk past large groups of them with no concern whatsoever. The monkeys seem to sense your agitation and respond to that. Some people find it helpful to silently say the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” to themselves as they walk past monkeys. This helps the individual to stay calm, and to wish all happiness for the monkeys.
- If the monkey is approaching you from a distance and is clearly looking for food, make noise – a loud coughing/calling noise seems to work, and throw stones in its general direction. The purpose isn’t to hurt the monkey, but to show that you are not vulnerable, and to deter it.
- If the monkey is being aggressive near you, best is to wait until it passes by or if it is approaching you, to back off and try to get away from it. Call on our dogs or others for help.
In the unlikely event that you are scratched or bitten by a monkey:
- Wash the wound with warm water and a disinfectant soap immediately. You’ll find both in our dishwashing area. Wash it thoroughly for several minutes.
- Let a member of staff know about the incident.
- Treat the wound with a strong disinfectant, like iodine. We have some in our first aid kit in our reception office.
- Depending on the extent of the scratch or bite, it is likely to be advisable to have rabies innoculations. These are easily available at local hospitals, but can be expensive and very inconvenient, as you have to have a series of injections at regular intervals over the following months.
We don’t mean to alarm you, please don’t let our primate pals deter you from enjoying your time here! Most students find the monkeys – and the mindfulness they impose upon you – an integral part of the Tushita experience. By following these guidelines, we’re sure you’ll have no problems.