Rats of Gold
words by ABBY WILCOX
on APRIL 14, 2011
Are you ready for this? It’s a little off the beaten path of the usual LF travel stories, but we got a good laugh from it (thanks Bryce Gruber).
Holy rats? Really? Well, that is how they are treated at the temple of Karni Mata. The temple is famous for the approximately 20,000 black rats that live, and are revered in, the temple. These holy rats are called kabbas, and many people travel great distances to pay their respects. The temple draws visitors from across the country for blessings, as well as curious tourists from around the world.
At the temple, the rats are considered sacred – they are protected and even fed.
According to a local legend, Karni Mata, the 14th century mystic and incarnation of Hindu goddess Durga, implored Yama, the God of Death to restore to life the son of a storyteller. When he refused, she incarnated the dead son and all of the storytellers as rats under her protection.
People travel far and wide to pay homage to the sacred rats.