The Takin – a unique animal closely associated with Bhutan’s religious history and mythology. The origins of this creature is seeped in myth as the creature itself. Lama Drukpa Kinley, the “Divine Madman” is one of Bhutan’s favorite saints, definitely one of the most eccentric. There are numerous stories and songs devoted to his outrageous antics.

A Takin grazing at the zoo in Thimphu

Anyway, getting back to the Takin, it is said that one day when the lama was visiting a village is devotees gathered around him and asked him to perform a miracle. The Lama however demanded that he be given a whole cow and goat to eat if he is to perform the miracle. Having devoured both, leaving only the bones, he stuck the goat’s head on the bones of the cow and commanded it to come alive. To everyone’s amazement the animal came to life and ran to the meadow and began grazing. The animal came to be known as the Dong Gyem Tsey (Takin) and can still be seen grazing in the mountain meadows of the himalayan kingdom.

You can catch an upclose view of these strange but gentle creatures at the Takin conservatory in the outskirts of Thimphu, Bhutan.