skills is Jyoti Raju, aka the ‘Monkey King’. Jyoti is a former labourer who drifted into the Chitradurga District, Karnataka, India, some years ago (Jyoti himself has given various accounts, so nobody’s exactly sure when). On arriving, he soon discovered an affinity with the Chitradurga Fort, and in particular the troops of monkeys who roam the grounds more or less freely, and frequently scale the fort’s many towers and high walls.
Jyoti claims he devised his technique for climbing without the need for ropes by spending days on end watching the monkeys. He studied their movements, and began to experiment with how they could be adapted for his own climbing. Soon he was practically rocketing up the walls, as captured in this astonishing video.
Prior to becoming something of an internet sensation over the past few years, he regularly drew crowds of astounded locals and tourists. In case you were wondering, by the way, that upside down move isn’t a misstep or a near miss. It’s actually Jyoti’s signature move, which he calls ‘the backflip’. It’s the kind of showmanship which has become second nature for him. He can be found performing similar feats all across the Chitradurga Fort from 6am to 6pm most days.
Jyoti has ambitions to set up a programme to teach young people his skills, and also hopes to compete for his country at international climbing competitions. But, for the time being, he’s happy enough just to keep entertaining the crowds at the historic Chitradurga Fort.