The Indian Temple Where Rats Are Worshipped

Andrei Tapalaga

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Rats in the Temple of Karni Mata Temple in DeshnokeHistory of Yesterday

People worship a lot of things, but rats are not something you would expect. For many big cities around the world, rats are seen as a parasite that is almost impossible to get rid of. However, a sacred religious temple in India believes that rats are a sacred entity.

If there is a heaven for rats, there must be one for people as well. However, we too must be born into this place, exactly like the sacred rats, known as "kabbas" ("small children") at the Karni Mata temple in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the only site in the world where rats are revered. Rats are merely rats now and are no longer revered only a few meters from the shrine.

However, within the temple, 20,000 rats rule, while 550 Depavats families, Karni Mata's ancestors, and other worshippers feed them and clean up their waste and food scraps. Some families reside there permanently, however, the majority of believers labor in shifts according by the moon cycle. Rats frequent the whole temple's interior, including the main temple, the kitchen, the areas next to the large iron pots where halwa is made, the different side chambers, and the roof. In each chamber, different cuisine is waiting for them.

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Karni Mata Temple of Deshnoke, the Rats' ParadiseHistory of Yesterday

The South Asian Charan caste, which has its origins in the Pakistani regions of Sindh and Balochistan as well as the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, comprises the Karni Mata devotees. The Charan is a caste of storytellers who believe that when they die, they are reborn as rats, and when they die as rats, they are reborn as Charan, the storytellers who once roamed as bards, poets, historians, farmers, and cattle breeders as well as administrators, jagirdars, and warriors, and some even as traders.

According to the Western symbolic interpretation of the spiritual association between storytellers and sacred rats in paradise, storytellers are like rats in that they disseminate their tales across the world.

The food brought to the temple and delivered to the god is referred to as "prasadam." Rats consume all the food in Karni Mata, and if that weren't enough, there are huge metal arches full of milk, grains, and coconut shells all over the place. Several booths outside the temple offer milk and prasadam for a reasonable price.

Drink the milk and water of the rats or eat their leftovers if you want good luck and a purifying experience since whatever a rat accomplishes is sacred and will help you spiritually. And if you do need to throw up, keep in mind that ayahuasca causes this as well and that bad energy is expelled throughout the process. But according to temple law, if you happen to stomp on a rat accidentally and kill it, you can legally revive it by giving it a replacement made of real silver or gold.

Drink the milk and water of the rats or eat their leftovers if you want good luck and a purifying experience since whatever a rat accomplishes is sacred and will help you spiritually. And if you do need to throw up, keep in mind that ayahuasca causes this as well and that bad energy is expelled throughout the process. But according to temple law, if you happen to stomp on a rat accidentally and kill it, you can legally revive it by giving it a replacement made of real silver or gold.

National Geographic has done a short documentary about the rat temple and how people who visit the temple treat the rats.

It is quite strange how this culture works as it is quite the opposite of what we are used to, but it is a very interesting perspective. Maybe this will change your views on rats.

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