Meet India’s Monkey King

Aug 11, 2014 at 7:08 AM ET

It started as a suicide attempt. Abandoned at a temple as a young child, Jyoti Raj was being abused by the man who had taken him in—and he felt as though he couldn’t go on. So one day he climbed up a steep rock with the intention of jumping to his death. But as he reached the top, he realized that a crowd had gathered, unaware of his intentions, and was actually cheering for him as he climbed. That’s when he decided to use his talent for climbing to make a name for himself. By watching monkeys and imitating their movements, he became one of the world’s best climbers, and soon people began calling him Monkey King. A local celebrity, he now easily draws crowds whenever he performs and has even started teaching young students who want to learn his climbing skills.