Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the "Tiger Temple", in western Thailand is a growing tourist hot spot. You see... it is one of only few places in the world where the average man or woman can actually touch and play with adult tigers. The people behind this seemingly remarkable opportunity are the temple monks of the monastery which was founded in 1994.
Buddhist temples, and indeed the religion itself, have a well-deserved reputation for respecting the sanctity of all living things and their right to that life. Most temples of this sort do wind up caring for large numbers of cats and dogs... tigers, however, are new.
The temple is located in the Saiyok district of Thailand's Kanchanaburi province (which lies west of the capital city of Bangkok) and the monks received their first tiger cub in 1999, when local villagers rescued an orphaned cub.
The monks had initially hoped to build a natural preserve for the endangered species at their temple. However, over the last decade, such has been the force de majeure, in some respects, of time that now the temple itself has grown to represent a sanctuary and in the process devolved as a leading tourist destination.