What’s a Hindu Temple doing in Prague zoo?

By Jessica Varia

During our Journalism Internship in Prague, we had the opportunity to travel and explore Prague for ourselves. This of course led us young journalists visiting the famous Prague Zoo.

Yesterday (Sunday, August 26), we all woke up excited to go and visit some animals, feeling like we were nine years old instead of 19. I was personally looking forward to seeing my favourite animal, the elephants which Prague Zoo had to offer. So, in the early hours of the afternoon, we packed our rucksacks, grabbed our phones and off we went to catch the tram to the hills of Prague where the zoo is situated.

After queuing up to receive our tickets, which were only 150CZK (£6!), we began our trip around the zoo. First, we came across the sea lions, then witnessed a penguin feeding and not to forget the different species of birds we saw. However, not to be biased but we then came to the best enclosure in the zoo, the Elephant Valley. I was amazed. The Valley ranged from baby elephants as well as the adult ones. It was truly exciting to see.

So as I made my way around the Elephant Valley, I came across something that was unexpected. I saw a Hindu Temple in the middle of the Valley. It was clearly there for symbolism and it looked breathtaking. The temple was devoted to Ganesh, the Hindu god also known to have the elephant head. I liked the idea of having the temple in the Elephant enclosure, it showed the connection as well as having boards explaining the purpose for it to the tourists. However, for me it was a proud moment, as being a Hindu girl in Prague, it was the last thing I expected to see in a European country with a Christian majority, never-mind in the capital’s zoo.

Overall, it was a beautiful sight to see and I was taken aback for the rest of the day.

As the day went on, some of the other highlights were: riding the cable car up and down the hills of the zoo, seeing a spectacular view and then ending the trip by seeing giraffes. We actually hiked up the hill all over again in a rush to make it in the last 15 minutes before the zoo closed, and guess what? We made it!

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