Temple animals


In India, cows are sacred. As most Indians are vegetarian Hindus, cows and bulls are not raised for slaughter. Rather, the cows supply milk for the human family that cares for them and the bulls supply labor such as pulling a plow or a cart. Family and temple cows also are decorated to participate in religious festivals such as Janmastami (Krishna’s birthday) and Diwali (Festival of Lights). Krishna was very fond of cows. His many names include Gopala (controller of the cows) and Govinda (protector of the cows). Among Krishna’s many pastimes, He would play games with the gopas (cowherds) and dance with the gopis (cowherd girls), who were among His greatest and purest devotees. An important dharma (duty) of conscious living spoken of in the Bhagavad-gita is protection or sanctuary of cows and bulls. For that reason we have a small-scale goshala (cow sanctuary) with our two cows Gauri and Gita, and one bull, Nandi, but we also just love having them here. The cow is extremely important regarding the destiny of the total human species in all the worlds and creation itself that her value is impossible to overestimate. The name for cow in the Vedas is known as aghyna which means invioable. Another name is ahi which means not to be killed and another is aditi which means never to be cut into pieces. The cow, according to the Vedas, provides four products for human use:

    1. Godugdha (cow milk): As per Ayurveda, cow milk has fat, carbohydrates, minerals and Vitamin B, and even a capacity for body resistance to radiation and for regenerating brain cells.
    2. Goghruta (ghee): The best ghee, it is, as per Ayurveda useful in many disorders. In yajna, it improves the air’s oxygen level.
    3. Gomutra (urine): Eight types of urine are used for medicinal purpose nowadays, among which cow urine is held to be the best. The Americans are busy patenting it. It has anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties.
    4. Gomaya (dung) is considered as valuable as Gomutra and used to purify the environment, as it has radium and checks radiation effects.


Click here for llama rental calendar.

Click here for full Picasa slideshow! Llamas are South American camelids native to the Andes mountains in Peru and Bolivia. Long-standing allies of the ancient Mayan cultures there, the gentle llama is bred as a pack animal and guardian to sheep herds, and sheared for its warm, luxuriant wool.

Here they are the stars both of our packing business Utah Valley Llamas, but also LlamaFest, an annual event honoring not only the llamas but also the gifts of the culture from which they come. One of our most popular festivals, it features South American music, dance and cuisine, while kids take the llamas through obstacle courses, races and rides.

Now, why does an Indian based spiritual organization have a herd of llamas?

Unlike the peacocks and the cows, llamas have nothing to do with Indian religion or culture. They originate from the high Andes of South America. Yet since 1985 the temple has financially benefitted from raising, selling, and leasing llamas. During summer months, Boys Scout troups and families take the llamas on packing trips to Yellowstone, Wind River, Idaho, as well as the local High Unitas. Since 1985, the public has enjoyed attending Llama Fest, hosted at the Krishna Temple. Llama Fest was origianlly conceived as a ‘tongue in cheek” spoof event which exploded in popularity.

Physical Facts

Life Span: About 15-25 years Height: 40-45″ at the shoulder, 5.5 to 6′ at the head Weight: 280-500 Pounds Average Gestation: 350 days Birth: A single baby (cria) is normally delivered without assistance from a standing mother during morning hours. In the High Plains of the Andes every night of the year, the temperature drops below freezing. Births in the morning hours allow the newborn to dry before nightfall. Babies: Birth weight is 25-35 pounds. Babies are normally nursing within 90 minutes. They are weaned at about 6 months. Reproduction: Females are first bred at 20-24 months of age. Llamas do not have a heat cycle, but are induced ovulators. Thus they can be bred at any time of the year. Color: Wool ranges from white to black, with shades of grey, beige, brown, red, and roan in between. It may be solid, spotted, or marked in a variety of patterns. Health: Because llamas and their ancestors are suited to the harsh environment of their Andean homeland, North American owners will find them remarkably hardy, healthy, easy to care for, and relatively disease free.

From an article in the Provo Daily Herald, 2004


Not only at Llama Fest, but throughout the year, guests are attracted to visit the temple property because of the animals, as explained in this article by Laurel Brady from the Daily Herald. “Utah County may not have its own zoo, but unusual animal experiences can still be had, and at an unusually low cost. About 40 llamas live on 15 land-scaped acres adjoining the Krishna Temple one mile south of Spanish Fork. Caretaker Vai Warden says the llamas are extremely calm, gentle and non-aggressive. They don’t bite, kick, or spit. She says visitors are welcome for a donation of $2.00 per child, which includes a guided tour, animal handling, races, groomig and feeding.

In addition to seeing the llamas, tours can also include the temple and a visit with peacocks, five parrots, and cows, also on the premises. Vai is proud of the animals, explaining that llamas take care of themselves. They don’t need humans, but they are accommodating enough to allow themselves to be haltered and worked. She says the animals are available for rental as pack animals for family or group camping trips or for parties and special events. They can carry up to 60 lbs apiece for short journeys, are easy to control and uncomplicated. Most renters can pick up everything they need to know about llamas in a half-hour orientation session. Since they eat whatever is available, she says food for the llamas does not usually have to be packed in. Llamas have a life expectancy of 20-25 years.

Warden characterizes her animals in two groups, pasture poodles which are pretty, woolly darling things, and the macho type, huge, efficient, lanky with short wool. The animals are sheared annually, and their wool is utilized by local hand weavers. Llamas are increasing in popularity locally as pets.


Vigilantly watching over nearly everything that happens here is our assembled flock of parrots and cockatoos.

Each came here in a different way, in some cases taking sanctuary from a difficult or abusive situation.

When you visit, you may feed the parrots but do not stick your fingers in the cages.  The birds may seem cute and delicate but their beaks are designed to crack hard objects like nuts.  They are very strong.

If one of us is here giving a tour of the animals, sometimes you can hold them too.

Jai is a verbose African Grey Congo who dances.  He sings Hare Krishna.  He can emulate every sound in the kitchen, every human whistle possible and speaks Bird Human fluently.  His specialty is kissing noises but no one is sure where he learned them.

Peaches & Cream (Peaches) is a cockatoo.  She is very affection and creative as a ‘parrot sound artist,’ able to imitate almost anything including she hears including entire sentences.  Her specialty is emulating the sound of background Peaches does a great Jekyll and Hyde impression when not included in the conversation, screeching at high volume, but her specialty is Sanskrit words and greeting everyone entering the animal park from her outdoor cage.

Pedro is a blue and gold parrot whose nickname is Pedro The Entertainer.  His favorite stunt used to be to hang by one foot upside down in his cage and talk, but now he prefers to have Caru hold him by the ankles and whirl him around in big circles.  He unleashes a stream of sounds that is one part terror and three parts delight – Pedro that is.

George and Gracie are rare Eclectus Parrots.  Unlike other parrots, in this species the male and female are different colors – George is green and Gracie is red.  George is friendly and Gracie tries to be but gets upset very easily.


Symbolic of love and friendship, Koi look like huge ornamental goldfish.  Cruising Shiva’s Koi Pond in shades of gold, cream, red and black, koi are a type of fish originally from Japan, their name nishikigoi meaning “brocaded carp.”  Here, they come to the edge of the pond when you clap your hands, expecting to be fed.  Watch them snap up the fish food we provide (please don’t feed them anything else) then serenely swim their way back into the green pond water.  The koi spend their days under the watchful eye of Lord Shiva on one end of the pond, looking down from atop a rocky fascimile of Mount Kailas from which gushes the mighty Ganges river (our version is slightly smaller).  Krishna sits at the other end.

There’s a story here.  Years ago, three koi were introduced into the pond and from them the current school of over 100 koi has grown.  However the original three were known to be all males.  Mystery.  Anyone who thinks they might know the answer should email Vai at kusumsarovar108@yahoo.com.  To them the mystery will be revealed.

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