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Rats In The Temple of Karni Mata
While many don’t like rats, there are those who think otherwise. India is full of culture and traditions, and where religion is an integral part of it. Every religion has its own practice of appeasing its gods, where nature is constantly a fundamental element of worship.
Legends Surrounding This Revered Rats
In Deshnoke, the Karni Mata Temple has two major legends that revolve around the strange reverence of rats. One legend says that an army of 20,000 men fled a skirmish and ran towards the Karni Mata Temple. While Karni Mata spared their lives, she exiled the army to live in the temple in the form of rats because of their cowardice. Still, the army were grateful to Karni Mata for sparing their lives that they pledged to serve the Hindu goddess forever.
On the other hand, according to the other legend, the stepson of Karni Mata had drowned as he was attempting to drink water in the lake. Karni Mata sent, the Hindu god of death, Yama, to resuscitate him. He then gave Karni Mata a special gift wherein it allowed her to reincarnate all her male offspring as rats.
More than 20,000 rats in the Karni Mata Temple are worshipped. Any visitor are forbidden to harm them. It is said that if you accidentally stepped on and killed a rat, you will have to replace the rat with a Kaba made of silver or gold. Great measures have been made to ensure the safety of these rats such as putting up grills and netting. It is also believed that eating food that was chewed on by these rats is regarded to be of great honor.