Leopards And Humans Peacefully Cohabitating In India

An elderly priest descending to Perwa village from a temple devoted to Lord Shiva on Perwa Hill where he lives, one of the many holy slopes in the region that is also home to leopards. Credit Richard Mosse

An elderly priest descending to Perwa village from a temple devoted to Lord Shiva on Perwa Hill where he lives, one of the many holy slopes in the region that is also home to leopards. Credit Richard Mosse

If you are coming to visit one of Raxa Collective’s properties in south India, and want a recommendation for a visit to another part of India, this may be on our to do list (we need to go check it out first, and will let you know):

Life Among the Leopards

Up at the top, an elderly priest begins to move around the sanctuary, a bearded figure wrapped in a shawl against the morning cold. I watch through binoculars as he begins the long, slow descent of the steps, perhaps two hundred of them, steadying himself with a stick. According to local legend, as a young man the priest committed a murder and sought sanctuary here, whereupon he was filled with the wild glory of God. Seeing his devotion, his pursuers relented, and he has spent his life in this remote place, serving Lord Shiva. On an outcrop directly above the steps, about halfway down the steep hillside, the oldest of the cubs has reappeared and is watching the frail old man pass below. Almost full-grown, it is a formidable creature, with muscular forelegs and a powerful jaw. It looks poised to pounce. Yet as the priest picks his way down, it makes no move, and he reaches the bottom safely, puttering off to run his morning errands in the village.

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