Don’t run away thinking it’s a joke or we are playing with you. It is actually true. There are no two ways about it that India gets unrealistic sometimes and weirder than anyone can expect but that’s what makes it unique and enthralling I guess. When you will just begin to think that there can be nothing more unusual or distinct about your nation that you don’t know, you will come across a news which will swipe the ground off your feet. The Karni Mata temple is the similar kind of oddity. Or elsewhere would you hear people worshipping rats, people dying to have a glimpse of them, a temple for rats. Isn’t it too much to gulp down the throat? Let us together dig the story and history behind this.
So, there is a temple in Rajasthan, around 30 km. from Bikaner in a small town of Deshnok which is dedicated to Goddess Karni, one who is regarded as the incarnation of Maa Durga. It is believed that Karni Mata became rat after she died, and all her family members were incarnated as rats as well. The present temple is from the 15th century and people of Deshnok consider those rats as their ancestors. The history is rather eccentric but is still intriguing for people like us who are unaware of it. The long-tailed rodents are worshipped in this temple with the utmost belief and respect. Pilgrims from all over the nation come to Deshnok to worship the rats.
Surprisingly, there are more than 20,000 rats in the temple which live there regularly. They are protected, fed and worshipped in the temple premises. Once you step in the temple, you will see numerous holes here and there and a carpet of rats busy in activities. WARNING: THIS TEMPLE IS NOT FOR WEAK-HEARTED PEOPLE OR THE ONES HAVING RAT PHOBIA. They are offered milk, sweets and grains in big metal utensils and are taken care from being a prey of other birds and animals. Another interesting detail about them is that they never leave the temple even though they are not bound in any way and are free to do so. Well, it is totally understood, who would want to leave when they are getting such a warm treatment.
STAY PREPARED FOR SOME TICKLING ON YOUR TOES.
It is considered auspicious if rats run off your toes and with thousands of them running here and there, you can be sure to get lucky. Also, it is said to be bad and disrespecting if a person steps on any of these rats. Thus, walk without lifting your feet as much as possible. Oh, I forgot to mention that you have to go barefoot in the temple. So, be ready for some rat poo, rat food, and grime under your feet. Do not forget to try to spot a white rat. It is considered absolutely lucky to spot a white rat in the lot which is extremely rare because as soon as a white rat is spotted, tourists start chasing it until it runs back to his hole.
It may sound creepy, but you won’t get this attraction anywhere in the world. The Karni Mata Temple is one of the most exclusive experiences one can have. The strong belief and honour of people towards the rats will leave you stunned for a while. You will stand in a corner trying to understand the practices and will definitely go back with a smile of amaze.
--- Published By Deepti Gupta
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