Motithang Takin Preserve: The Largest Sanctuary for a Unique Mountain Creature

Motithang Takin Preserve was primarily a zoo that eventually transformed into the largest sanctuary for a rare mountain animal known as Takin. Takin, which has been declared the national animal of Bhutan, resembles a hybrid of a goat and a cow. The fourth king, who had reservations about keeping animals confined in a zoo, decided to establish a natural conservation area for this extraordinary creature.

Taking a stroll through the grassy region, while searching for the elusive and fascinating Takin, accompanied by the melodious chirping of the extraordinary Himalayan birds in the background, can truly be an exceptional experience that is guaranteed at Motithang Takin Preserve. The preserve also provides shelter and protection for the sambar deer and barking deer.

Motithang Takin Preserve Weather

Situated in the lush lands not far from the BBS tower viewpoint in Thimphu, Motithang Takin Preserve is undoubtedly a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers who seek to witness something truly unique during their stay in Bhutan. Adult Takin showcase a brownish and golden yellow fur coat, while the calves initially have a black shade. The distinct features of this animal include its elongated nose, broad head, and bulky torso, setting it apart from other creatures. According to legend, this animal has its roots in a mythical tale linked to a religious background. It is believed that the renowned Buddhist yogi, Drukpa Kunley, brought this animal to life by combining the body of a cow with the head of a goat.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Takin is its migratory behavior. During the summer, these creatures ascend to higher pastures reaching altitudes of up to 4000 meters. However, during the winter, they descend to lower altitudes below 2000 meters. They migrate twice a year in herds of tens. The alpine meadows provide abundant grazing opportunities for the Takin.

Motithang Takin

Motithang Takin Preserve: Climate Conditions

In Thimphu, the dry season is cool and generally clear, while the wet season is pleasant and often cloudy. Throughout the year, the temperature in this area typically fluctuates between -2°C and 21°C, rarely dropping below -5°C or rising above 23°C. The warm season lasts from May to September, with an average daily high temperature above 19°C. The cold season extends from December to February, with an average daily high temperature below 12°C.

Motithang Takin Preserve: Ideal Time to Explore

Hiking In Motithang

Tourists can explore the Motithang Takin Preserve throughout the year. However, according to travel industry records, the optimal time to visit Thimphu for warm-climate adventures is from late May to late June. Furthermore, the most ideal time to visit Motithang Takin Preserve is stated to be in the morning hours as the chances of spotting takin are highest during that period.

Motithang Takin Preserve: Activities

There are numerous activities to engage in at this location. However, selecting just one can be a challenge! That’s why we have compiled a list of some of the finest things to do in Motithang Takin Preserve. Take a look below!

1. Trekking In Motithang Takin Preserve

Visit Tashichho Dzong

If you have leisure hours in Thimphu and wondering where to go for a nature hike, Motithang Takin Preserve is highly recommended. The park offers a delightful trail alongside the pine trees. The trek in this area is invigorating. In case you become tired from hiking, you can take a break at the gazebo and benches located along the tracks.

You will truly enjoy a hiking excursion in this Bhutanese wildlife sanctuary to observe a unique animal.

Commence your day by trekking to the northern edge of the city towards the main destination – Motithang Takin Preserve. Wander through the dense forest and revel in the breathtaking panoramic view of the park. Additionally, take pleasure in leisurely exploring the shelter for a herd of Bhutan’s National Animal – takin and other wildlife. Capture some photographs of this extraordinary creature to cherish forever.

In addition, you will encounter other animals such as barking deer, tragopan, marmot, mountain goat, and musk deer. You will also be captivated by the sight of the Himalayan monal, which is a stunning high-altitude bird mainly spotted above 3500m. Remember that feeding any of these animals is strictly prohibited. Apart from the wildlife, this natural reserve is also a habitat for various rare species of plants and animals.

Takin animals draw the interest of numerous trekkers each year in Bhutan. It is valuable and awe-inspiring to spend your time here observing these peculiar creatures. You can also purchase local handicraft products available at the reception counter.

2. Explore Tashichho Dzong

The fortress is located beside the banks of Wangchhu River, that is surrounded by a beautiful garden. You can explore this fortress to discover its stunning and historical architecture. Visit this place in the evening for a remarkable view.

Tashichho Dzong which means the stronghold of auspicious religious belief was the summer capital of the nation and regularly served as the seat of the religious body. The site is close to the Motithang Takin Preserve, so you can also visit it during your journey here.

The establishment of Thimphu dzong was first laid in 1216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. The dzong currently houses the royal office, secretariat, and other government services located nearby. It is also the headquarters for Bhutan’s central monastic body, which welcomes visitors after 5:30 pm.

Unlike other fortresses in Bhutan, Tashichho has two main entrances. One leads to the south of the administrative division and the other one leads to the north to the monastic division.

Don’t forget to also admire the parliament building of Bhutan, which is very visible from this place.

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