Rats are always considered as pests, but in West India, they are 100% sacred. Thus, locals make sure that they are always fed, protected and worshiped. They even have a temple for these over 20,000 rats scurrying around and hiding in holes during nap time. And if you’re interested to be blessed (or just get crawled up) by these rats, head to Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan, India.
The Karni Mata Temple was built in 1900 by Maharaja Ganga Singh as a tribute to the rat goddess Karni Mata. Legend says Karni Mata was an incarnation of the god of victory and power, Durga; and at one point, one of her clansmen’s child died. She attempted to bring back the child’s life but Yoma, the god of death, told her the kid had already been incarnated. Then, the goddess made a deal to Yoma that her tribespeople will be reincarnated to rats so they won’t be placed in death’s hands ever again. Now, these rats living in the temple are treated like relatives by its devotees.
Even though thousands of rats roam freely around the temple, there is no history of plague in the area. Besides, the rats here aren’t comparable to the rats you see freaking out people in New York subways. In the temple, you can see them eating from huge bowls of milk, grains and sweets given daily by the devotees. And to tickle your imagination, devotees actually eat the rats’ leftovers to bring them good fortune.
If you’re visiting the temple and unfortunately stepped on one rat and accidentally killed it, you’re required to buy a rat made of silver and gold for the temple; so better watch your step. However, you might watch out for the white rats because seeing one is a sign of good luck.
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