Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 1, 2012


Situated in the Western Forest Complex, and about 25 miles from the town of Kanchanaburi, the Tiger Temple is a part of the Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery. The forest is the largest protected area in Asia, which stretches along the Thailand-Burma border. It is reputed to be home to the largest surviving population of the region.

Starting with an injured jungle fowl, gradually the monastery, which had been established in 1994, acquired reputation as a sanctuary for injured and unwanted animals. Jungle fowls were followed by peacocks, and peacocks were followed by wild boars, deer, buffaloes, cows, and wild goats. The first tiger cub arrived in 1999. Since then the number of tigers here has grown.

Somewhat commercialized, the Tiger Temple offers opportunities for tourists to interact with tigers in a variety of ways, for the price of admission. Our guide had bought our tickets for the Morning Program, which cost about $200 per person.

The Morning Program starts around 7:30 a.m., with accepting by the monastery monks of alms from the ticket holders. The alms, purchased for us by our guide, consisted of packaged goods like juice, crackers, cookies, and chips.

Then it was time to feed, hold and play with tiger cubs.

It was followed by lunch with the monks. Everyone was invited to join.
Some people fed their leftovers to some of the tigers.

Next it was time to take the cubs out for a walk to a large enclosure.

In the enclosure, with waving of colorful objects and polythene sacks partially filled with air and tied to long poles, adult tigers were motivated to jump around and play.

Finally, after a brief period of rest, people took turns to hold a few adult tigers with a chain
around their necks, and take them out for a long walk in the woods.

After this walk, it was time to say good bye to the tigers, and go to the Wangpho Elephant Camp.

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