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Rat Temple in India - Essay Example

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Date Rat Temple in India Karni Mata Temple located in Deshnoke, 30 kilometers south of Bikaner in India houses tens of thousands of rats, which are supplied with food and live inside the temple, to allow devotees to come and venerate them…
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Rat Temple in India
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Download file to see previous pages Considering the norm with Hindu temples, one must remove their shoes when they enter this temple. In addition, one must be careful not to step on them as that would be considered unholy; and if a rat dies because of being stepped on, it is expected that whoever killed it should replace the rat with a gold or silver statue of the same weight as the rat, for atonement. There are chains and grills positioned all around the enclosure of the temple, to protect the rats from predators such as birds. Inside the temple also, there are caretakers and priests that reside with their families and clean away the excrements of the rats, whilst ensuring they are fed. Foodstuffs such as coconut shells are scattered around the temple for the rats to feed on and milk to drink served in pots (Kaushik). Karni Mata’s rats are treated as deities due to the Hindu’s belief in samsara which is the cycle of transmigration that one undergoes when they die and are reincarnated. The legend’s origins can be traced to the goddess of influence and victory, Durga who was reborn as Karni Mata that came to be a spiritual matriarch of the 14th century. In her life, one of members of her tribe lost their child and Karni Mata attempted to bring him back to life, only to be informed by Yama, the goddess of death, that he had by then been reincarnated. Following this, Karni Mata made an agreement with Yama whereby everyone from the tribe would be reincarnated as rats until the entire clan was reborn. This is in accordance with the Hindu belief that death signifies the end of one stage and start of another (Kaushik). Karni Mata temple completed at the beginning of the 20th century was designed in the late Mughal style, and Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner was responsible for its completion and in 1999, Kundanlal Verma undertook further renovation. Born in October 1387, Karni Mata was the seventh daughter of Mehoji Charan and Deval Devi and they resided in Rajasthan; considered an honorific name, Karni got it when she cured her aunt at the tender age of six years. Even though they did not live an ordinary matrimonial life, Karni Mata was married to Dipoji Charan. She had four sons who were reincarnated as white rats and are believed to bring luck if one spots them out of the other tens of thousands found within the temple this is because they are believed to be holy above all the rest (Karni Temple). The sophisticated, artistic sense of Indians can be noted with the intricate marble panels that line the entrance and floors of the Karti Mana Temple, and features silver and gold decorations all over. Linked to the royal family that ruled Bikaner, the nearby city, the Temple was established to provide greater power and protection to the family, as goddesses are believed to be directly involved in people’s personal lives. Thus, where a Hindu royal family seeking more power would establish a cult in favour of a goddess as is the case with Karni Mata and the worshipping of rats. Also deemed to be a blessing or sign of good luck, is sampling on food and water that has previously been nibbled on by the rats within the temple. In a bid to gain luck from sighting of the ‘special’ white rats, visitors of the temple offer Prasad, a sweet-tasting type of food. Proof of the holiness of these rats has been the fact that there has never been an outbreak of any ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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