Property:Cultural use details

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Budorcas taxicolor +Bhutan selected the takin as the national animal based on both its uniqueness and its strong association with the country's religious history and mythology. According to legend, when Lama Drukpa Kunley (called "the divine madman") visited Bhutan in the 15th century, a large congregation of devotees gathered around the country to witness his magical powers. The people urged the lama to perform a miracle. However, the saint, in his usual unorthodox and outrageous way, demanded that he first be served a whole cow and a goat for lunch. He devoured these with relish and left only bones. After letting out a large and satisfied burp, he took the goat's head and stuck it onto the bones of the cow. And then with a snap of his fingers, he commanded the strange beast to rise up and graze on the mountainside. To the astonishment of the people the animal arose and ran up to the meadows to graze. This animal came to be known as the dong gyem tsey (takin) and to this day, these animals can be seen grazing in alpine meadows of the high eastern Himalaya. Legend also claims that the Takin exists only in Bhutan.  +


Elephas maximus +Elephants have been considered sacred in Indian culture. The head of Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom, is that of an elephant. As the mythological story goes, Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva was alone at home and wanted to have a bath. To guard the entrance, Parvati created a human child - Ganesha - out of the earth and asked him to guard the entrance while she took a bath. While Parvati was bathing, Lord Shiva came to the scene and wanted to enter the house. However Ganesha blocked him from entering saying that it was his mother's orders not to allow anyone inside. Enraged, Lord Shiva cut off Ganesha's head and entered the house. Parvati, upon learning this, was overcome with grief. Upon learning that Ganesha was his own son, Lord Shiva felt sad too. Parvati then asked Lord Shiva to go down the Himalayas (their abode), cut off the head of the first animal he sees and splice it onto the headless body of Ganesha. The first animal Lord Shiva found was an elephant and that is how Lord Ganesha came to have the elephant's head and thus, infinite wisdom. The elephant plays an important part in the culture of the subcontinent and beyond, featuring prominently in Jataka tales and the Panchatantra. Elephants have also been used traditionally as vehicles for royalty - kings, emperors and monarchs. They were used in battles by almost all armies in India, since pre-historic times. Elephants are used in cultural festivals such as temple processions in Kerala.  +


Platanista gangetica +The Gangetic River Dolphin is considered the vehicle of Goddess Ganga  +