Drukpa Kinley, the Devine Madman, arrived in Wandi Phodrang. The Bhutanese devotees and mistresses greeted the Divine Madman in Samtengang. They served him a goat’s head and a carcass of beef.

Once he was done with devour, he took the goat’s head and attached it to the headless skeleton of the cow.

‘You have no flesh on your bones.’ The Lama said to the assembled bones. ‘Go up to the mountain and graze!’ He snapped his fingers and to astonishment of all gathered, the assembled bones began to breath. Then the beast rose and ran up the valley and grazed.


This species of animal with a goat’s head and cow’s body can still be seen in that valley today. It is called takin and found in eastern Himalayas.

In 1905, a British political officer photographed a baby takin in Bhutan, in its natural habitat.  In doing so, John Claude White (1853-1918) became the first European to obtain documentary evidence of the ungulate animal.  Until then, the West considered the takin as a mythological animal and believed it was the 8th century Greek mythological animal, the gold-hair winged ram.

J C White, (seated crossed legged)

There are four species of takin and the Budorcas taxicolor whitei is indigenous to Bhutan, and the national animal of our country.  Because it was first spotted by Mr. White, it has been named in his honor. 

 Rare and associated with religious history and mythology, strange takin is the national animal of Bhutan. It lives in groups and is found above 4000 meters and feed on a variety of leaves and grasses, as well as bamboo shoots and flowers.

Motithang (Thimphu) Takin Preserve

They migrate from the upper pasture to lower, more forested areas in winter and favor sunny spots upon sunrise. When disturbed, individuals give a ‘cough’ alarm call and the herd retreats into thick bamboo thickets and lies on the ground for camouflage.

Today, takin has become a major tourist attraction.

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